BP to invest EUR 2 million in fundamental research by the department of Physics of Complex Fluids of the University of Twente research institute MESA+

Research should result in knowledge to extract more oil from existing fields

Enschede, Netherlands, 23-10-2014 — /EuropaWire/ — In the next five years, BP will invest two million euros in fundamental research by the department of Physics of Complex Fluids of  the UT research institute MESA+. The purpose of the research is to obtain a better understanding of how oil is attached to the porous bedrock of an oil field at the molecular level. Application of this knowledge ought to make it possible to extract increased quantities of oil from existing fields.

At present, a large quantity of oil cannot be removed from the reservoir because it ‘sticks’ to the porous bedrock: on average, approximately two thirds of the oil cannot be extracted. Sea water is generally pumped into the oil well to flush out as much oil as possible, but it is now well known that by reducing the total dissolved solids of this water more oil can be released. BP is currently deploying its reduced salinity water injection technology called LoSal® EOR for the first time on an oil platform in the North Sea.

To further complement this Scientists at the University of Twente are investigating which components of the crude oil stick to the rock and how this occurs. The hope is that a better understanding at a fundamental level will make it possible to extract even more oil.


In the next five years BP will invest two million euros in research performed by the department of Physics of Complex Fluids. This constitutes a continuation of an existing collaboration project with the department. Prof Dr Frieder Mugele, head of the department, considers it very positive that the company does not opt for short-term sub-projects, but rather invests in a long-term collaboration. “BP really wants to know what is going on at the fundamental level. The long-term nature and scope of the project means that you can make a real contribution as a researcher. The ultimate goal is to enable BP engineers to understand every oil field it operates and use this knowledge to ensure that as much oil as possible can be brought to the surface.”

LoSal is a registered trade mark of BP plc

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