Nanotechnology has been successfully applied to a variety of products including electronic circuitry, material composites, medical and even consumer goods. It is only natural that the utility of nanotechnology from these fields is transferred to the oilfield. Noted efforts by universities and consortiums into such areas as nanosensors, nanomarkers or the more esoteric nanobots to provide valuable data regarding the reservoir, are of great focus due to their large potential return on investment, but have yet to yield substantive products. By contrast, efforts into drilling applications of nanotechnology, such as drilling fluids, are less known, even though numerous companies have invested a considerable amount of time and money, and are now beginning to realize both positive results and commercial products.

Research and development projects for these companies have continued in standard areas of shale inhibition, rheology modification, wellbore strengthening and high-temperature, high-pressure (HTHP) drilling fluids, and additionally, how nanotechnology can potentially contribute to solutions in these areas. This paper will review recent works on the application of nanotechnology in shale stabilization, high-temperature tolerance and viscosity modification, among others. This paper will also discuss results from projects which utilize graphene (and graphene derivatives), carbon nanotubes (CNT), nanosilica, and other nanochemistries to achieve and enhance the performance of drilling fluids in the applications mentioned above. Further discussion will address some of the concerns (real or not) of sourcing and using commercial "nano" products, as well as review the current HS&E perspective on this new area of chemistry for the oilfield.

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