The non-linear effect of oil polarity on the efficiency of low salinity waterflooding: A pore-level investigation

Golmohammadi, M ; Sharif University of Technology | 2021

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  1. Type of Document: Article
  2. DOI: 10.1016/j.molliq.2021.117069
  3. Publisher: Elsevier B. V , 2021
  4. Abstract:
  5. Oil polarity is an important property impacting the efficiency of low salinity waterflooding (LSWF). It directly affects fluid/fluid and rock/fluid interactions, controlling the interfacial properties and forces. However, the current findings in the literature on the effect of concentration of polar components on oil recovery by LSWF are contradictory. Therefore, the main objective of this paper is to investigate how the type of non-polar fractions and the concentration of acidic polar oil constituents change the trapped oil saturation at the pore-scale during LSWF. In this regard, we conducted a series of microfluidics LSWF experiments in both secondary and tertiary modes, using clay-free glass micromodels of representative elementary volume (REV) size. Both model oils and crude oil were tested. The polarity of model oils was manipulated by introducing different amounts of oleic acid into the samples. In addition, the contact angle under dynamic salinity alteration (CA-DSA), interfacial tension (IFT), and oil/brine zeta-potential were measured as a function of oil polarity for a detailed understanding of the pore-scale results. Based on the results, polar acidic fraction increases both the oil-wetting tendency under high salinity (HS) condition and the degree of wettability alteration under low salinity (LS) condition. Increasing the concentration of the polar components in the model oils resulted in reducing oil/brine IFT by 7–9 mN/m in HS and 8–12 mN/m in LS. As the IFT was reduced, the sweep efficiency of both HS and LS flooding was improved, which can be ascribed to the reduction of capillary trapping. However, the change of IFT by change of salinity was minor; thus, it cannot be considered a primary mechanism of LSWF. The ultimate oil recovery from HS and LS injection steps was highest when crude oil was used than using the most polar model oil. In the absence of polar components, no incremental oil recovery during LSWF was observed regardless of the molecular weight of the model oil. The efficiency of LSWF with all the polar oils was higher in the secondary injection than in the tertiary mode, as also reported in core-scale studies. The main novel insight from the study is that the oil recovery factor by LSWF is logarithmically correlated with the oil polarity. The measured zeta-potential at the oil/brine interface also confirms a logarithmic correlation between the oil/brine interface potential and the concentration of polar components in the oil samples. This highlights that the bulk concentration of polar groups and their respective concentration at the oil/brine interface are not linearly related. Therefore, the acid number alone cannot predict the concentration of polar components at the interface and is not recommended to be used for screening potent oils. © 2021 Elsevier B.V
  6. Keywords:
  7. Contact angle ; Crude oil ; Efficiency ; Enhanced recovery ; Floods ; Glass ; Oil well flooding ; Clay-free glass micromodel ; High salinity ; Low salinity ; Low salinity waterflooding ; Oil polarity ; Oil recoveries ; Oil-brine interface ; Polar components ; Pore-scale physic ; Wettability alteration ; Wetting
  8. Source: Journal of Molecular Liquids ; January , 2021 ; 01677322 (ISSN)
  9. URL: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167732221017931?via%3Dihub