Nanomaterials for scaling prevention in alkaline–surfactant–polymer flooding: A review

Nur Batrisyia Bt Razman Shah, Rozana Azrina Bt Sazali*, Kenneth Stuart Sorbie, Khalil Munawar Khalil, Azlinda Azizi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Alkaline–surfactant–polymer (ASP) flooding in oil-producing formations is associated with the deposition of scales. This hazard will affect the production flow assurance, which lowers the production flow, resulting in a reduced amount of product produced. One of the approaches to managing this scale is applying a scale inhibitor (SI) downhole to production wells via a continuous injection line. However, this process involved a high dose of chemical (250–500 ppm), and research has shown that none of the SIs deployed can inhibit this scale from occurring. One of the primary reasons is the poor adsorption of scale inhibitors onto rock formation, resulting in a short squeeze treatment lifetime. Therefore, it is vital to enhance the squeeze treatment program by “modifying” scale inhibitors with nanoparticles (NPs) that will help to prolong the squeeze lifetime with a much lower minimum inhibitor concentration (MIC) of inhibitor deployed. Oilfield scale management has recently emerged as a popular research topic in nanotechnology. The rationale behind employing nanoparticles and scale inhibitors is that nanoparticle is small-sized particles, with robust surface potential, yet the surface properties and morphologies can still be altered accordingly. With this nanotechnology approach, these nano-scaled particles are manoeuvrable for their size and can reach everywhere possible. Hence, making it more straightforward to be adsorbed onto the rock surfaces. This paper reviews the formation of scales in the reservoir and various nanomaterials previous researchers have used. The nanotechnologies studied in this paper are metal/ metal oxide nanomaterials, metal phosphonate, carbon-based nanoparticles, nanoemulsions, cross-link nanoparticles, and polymeric nanoparticles; when compared to traditional squeeze treatments, many nanoproducts created for squeeze treatments have shown increased squeeze lifespan. Nevertheless, several challenges still exist in applying nanotechnology downhole and further investigation should be carried out.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3945–3974
Number of pages30
JournalApplied Nanoscience
Issue number6
Early online date17 Oct 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023


  • Adsorption
  • Nanoparticles
  • Nanotechnology-assisted squeeze treatment (NAST)
  • Scale inhibitor
  • Squeeze treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Materials Science (miscellaneous)
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Cell Biology
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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