As applications for nanotechnology become more common in the oil and gas industry, greater emphasis must be placed upon the occupational and environmental implications of the nanotechnologies being developed and deployed. This paper provides an overview of information regarding several major categories:

  • Opportunities for nano-enabled products and advances for oil exploration and production;

  • Best practices employed in other industries for handling nanotechnologies and how they might be adapted to the oil and gas industry;

  • Current methods and instrumentation for assessing occupational exposures to nanomaterials as well as workplace controls to reduce exposures; and

  • Current challenges to assessing the environmental and biological implications of nanotechnology.

Additionally, as much is still being discovered about the promise of nanotechnology, there is tremendous opportunity for nanotechnology to mitigate the overall environmental risks across the oil and gas industry if a life cycle approach is considered and if nano-enabled products are designed with occupational and environmental safety in mind.

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