Experimental study of combined low salinity and surfactant flooding effect on oil recovery
Sabanci University, 34956 Istanbul, Turkey
2 Baku Higher Oil School, AZ1025 Baku, Azerbaijan
* Corresponding author: firstname.lastname@example.org
Accepted: 29 October 2020
A new generation improved oil recovery methods comes from combining techniques to make the overall process of oil recovery more efficient. One of the most promising methods is combined Low Salinity Surfactant (LSS) flooding. Low salinity brine injection has proven by numerous laboratory core flood experiments to give a moderate increase in oil recovery. Current research shows that this method may be further enhanced by introduction of surfactants optimized for lowsal environment by reducing the interfacial tension. Researchers have suggested different mechanisms in the literature such as pH variation, fines migration, multi-component ionic exchange, interfacial tension reduction and wettability alteration for improved oil recovery during lowsal injection.
In this study, surfactant solubility in lowsal brine was examined by bottle test experiments. A series of core displacement experiments was conducted on nine crude oil aged Berea core plugs that were designed to determine the impact of brine composition, wettability alteration, Low Salinity Water (LSW) and LSS flooding on Enhancing Oil Recovery (EOR). Laboratory core flooding experiments were conducted on the samples in a heating cabinet at 60 °C using five different brine compositions with different concentrations of NaCl, CaCl2 and MgCl2. The samples were first reached to initial water saturation, Swi, by injecting connate water (high salinity water). LSW injection followed by LSS flooding performed on the samples to obtain the irreducible oil saturation.
The results showed a significant potential of oil recovery with maximum additional recovery of 7% Original Oil in Place (OOIP) by injection of LS water (10% LS brine and 90% distilled water) into water-wet cores compared to high salinity waterflooding. It is also concluded that oil recovery increases as wettability changes from water-wet to neutral-wet regardless of the salinity compositions. A reduction in residual oil saturation, Sor, by 1.1–4.8% occurred for various brine compositions after LSS flooding in tertiary recovery mode. The absence of clay swelling and fine migration has been confirmed by the stable differential pressure recorded for both LSW and LSS flooding. Aging the samples at high temperature prevented the problem of fines production. Combined LSS flooding resulted in an additional oil recovery of 9.2% OOIP when applied after LSW flooding.
Surfactants improved the oil recovery by reducing the oil-water interfacial tension. In addition, lowsal environment decreased the surfactant retention, thus led to successful LSS flooding. The results showed that combined LSS flooding may be one of the most promising methods in EOR. This hybrid improved oil recovery method is economically more attractive and feasible compared to separate low salinity waterflooding or surfactant flooding.
© A. Araz & F. Kamyabi, published by IFP Energies nouvelles, 2020
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