Sandia maintains fundamental science, experimentation, modeling-simulation, and up-scaling capabilities in addition to a range of capabilities involving materials design, robotics, and downhole technology. Explore Sandia’s energy geoscience and engineering capabilities below. We partner to provide subsurface research and innovation for safety, efficiency, and national security.

Characterization, Sensing, & Imaging

It is necessary to understand pore distribution, shale structure, the chemical reactivity of shale with fluids, and the physics of how fluids like water, oil, and gas flow through fractures and nanoscale pores. Understanding fluid flow and being able to effectively monitor fluid flow increases the security and resiliency of US hydrocarbon production and storage. A comprehensive understanding and effective monitoring can increase production and storage efficiency through better reservoir design, optimized production and storage plans, and reduced time to market. Research and monitoring enables more effective prediction and mitigation when the raw material of oil or natural gas migrates during production and storage.

Modeling & Simulation

By developing models, simulations, and numerical methods, Sandia enables more efficient and safe hydrocarbon exploration, production, storage, and transportation decision-making. With the information that models, simulations, and numerical methods provide, decision makers can quickly react to new and rapidly evolving trends in technology (such as ultra deepwater and unconventionals) as well as geopolitical or physical events. This is accomplished through research in optimization, uncertainty quantification, decision analysis, risk analysis, sparse data point interpolation, multi-scaling, realistic discretization and visualization techniques, and high-performance computing.

Drilling Technology

Sandia’s drilling program has traditionally focused on geothermal drilling, which is challenging because the formations are hot, hard, abrasive, corrosive, and often fractured. Most of Sandia’s geothermal technology also applies to oil and gas drilling. As a national laboratory, Sandia’s drilling research plays a vital role in support of various defense programs vital to our national security. The major goals for this program are to reduce the cost of drilling and well construction by improving conventional drilling technology and developing new and advanced drilling methods.

Materials Design

Sandia’s focus on scientifically tailored materials capitalizes on our expertise in solid-state sciences, advanced atomic-level diagnostics, and materials synthesis and processing science. Our research uses Sandia’s experimental, theoretical, and computational capabilities to establish the state of the art in materials science and technology suited for difficult operating environments.


Sandia has the capabilities, expertise, and experience to develop advanced automation solutions for a variety of complex and high-consequence energy exploration, production, and storage applications. Sandia has expertise in advanced controls and manipulation, unique mobility, perception and decision tools, and cybernetics.