Effects of EOR chemicals and superficial gas velocity on bubble size and gas holdup of a bubble column
Department of Technologies for Water Treatment and Reuse, PETROBRAS Research Center, 21941-915 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
2 Federal University of Itajubá, Institute of Mechanical Engineering, Compact Separators Center, 37500-903 Itajubá, Brazil
3 Department of Chemical Engineering, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, School of Chemistry, 21941-909 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
* Corresponding author: firstname.lastname@example.org
Accepted: 11 October 2019
Chemical Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) can boost oil extraction in offshore operations, however one of the main concerns regarding its application is how the efficiency of flotation units for treating produced water is affected. The present work thus focuses on investigating the impact of EOR chemicals on the physical properties of EOR effluents and how this can affect flotation performance parameters such as bubble size and gas holdup. Design of experiments has been used to assess the influence of polymer, surfactant and sodium chloride concentrations on bubble size and gas holdup of a laboratorial bubble column. The influence of superficial gas velocity has also been assessed together with chemicals concentrations, yet at low levels in order to avoid clusters, swarms and foam. The characterization of the synthetic effluent containing polymer, surfactant and sodium chloride has indicated that the fluid behaves as a non-Newtonian fluid, what makes separation processes in flotation cells challenging. Results showed that polymer concentration of 2000 mg/L can lead to significant increases in fluid viscosity, promote a growth of more than 40% in bubble size and only increases gas holdup when surfactant is present at high concentration. Therefore, polymers are expected to be detrimental to produced water treatment. Surfactants decrease both fluid surface tension and bubble size, increasing gas holdup. For the range studied, superficial gas velocity favors gas holdup and sodium chloride concentration seems to weakly influence bubble size and gas holdup. This work highlights the fact that changes in physical properties of produced water do modify bubble size distribution and gas holdup and this must therefore be taken into account when flotation-like systems are designed to deal with EOR effluents.
© A.E. Orlando Jr et al., published by IFP Energies nouvelles, 2019
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.