Low salinity effects on oil recovery performance: underlying physical mechanisms and practical assessment
IFP Energies nouvelles, 1 et 4 avenue de Bois-Préau, 92852 Rueil-Malmaison Cedex, France
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Accepted: 20 April 2020
This paper is a tentative synthesis of the main knowledge and experience gained from recent studies and application of Low Salinity Water Injection (LSWI) in carbonate and clayey silico-clastic rocks. A physical model based on ionic force is presented to explain the so-called Dual Layer Expansion (DLE) mechanism often invoked to account for the Low Salinity Effects (LSE) on rock wettability and oil recovery. The role played by the Multi Ion Exchange (MIE) mechanism is clarified, at least for clayey rocks. Eventually, the proposed physical analysis shows the complementary roles that injected brine concentration and composition can play on waterflood recovery efficiency depending on the Crude Oil Brine Rock (COBR) system under consideration. To account for the diversity of COBR systems, a straightforward modelling methodology is then proposed to simulate laboratory LSWI tests on a case-by-case basis and infer the actual evolution of residual oil saturation with brine concentration and/or composition. The simulation involves a wettability driver that may be either the global salinity or the square root of ionic force. The analysis of published results actually shows that the latter predicts low salinity effects on residual oil saturation better than the former. Hopefully, this paper contributes to the understanding of the DLE and MIE mechanisms induced by a smart water injection and provides a simple and robust methodology to simulate the reference coreflood experiments that remain necessary to assess and optimize LSWI.
© B. Bourbiaux, published by IFP Energies nouvelles, 2020
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.