Effect of Spontaneous Formation of Nanoparticle Stabilized Emulsion on the Stability of a Displacement
- Behdad Aminzadeh-goharrizi | David A. DiCarlo (U. of Texas at Austin) | Doo Hyun Chung | Matthew Roberts (The University of Texas at Austin) | Steven Lawrence Bryant (U Of Texas At Austin) | Chun Huh (U. of Texas at Austin)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE Improved Oil Recovery Symposium, 14-18 April, Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA
- Publication Date
- Document Type
- Conference Paper
- 2012. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 2.5.2 Fracturing Materials (Fluids, Proppant), 6.5.7 Climate Change, 5.6.5 Tracers, 5.5.2 Core Analysis, 1.6.9 Coring, Fishing, 5.3.2 Multiphase Flow, 1.11 Drilling Fluids and Materials, 5.10.1 CO2 Capture and Sequestration, 4.3.4 Scale
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Injecting nanoparticles into the subsurface can have a potential impact on altering both oil recovery and/or CO2 sequestration. In this work we conduct core floods in which a CO2-analogue fluid (n-octane) displaces brine with and without dispersed nanoparticles. We find that the floods with nanoparticles cause
a greater pressure drop, and a change in flow pattern compared to the floods without. Emulsion formation is inferred by measuring the saturation distribution and pressure drop along the core. The results suggest that nanoparticle stabilized emulsion is formed during a drainage process (at low shear rate condition) which acts to reduce the mobility of the injected fluid.
We also perform imbibition experiments, where the nanoparticle dispersion in brine displaces noctane. Here we observe little difference in the flow pattern and pressure drop as a function of nanoparticle concentration. There is an observed accumulation of nanoparticles at the imbibition front,
which suggests that nanoparticles may be used as a tracer of the displacement front.
There has been great recent interest in the potential use of nanoparticles in the subsurface. In drilling fluids, nanoparticles have been shown to be very effective in lowering the permeability of shales, helping to block water invasion and weakening of the shale walls (Ali, et al., 2004; Temple, et al., 2005). Additionaly, if the surface charge of the nanoparticles is altered so that there is an electrostatic repulsion between nanoparticles, the particles will stay in aqueous suspension do to Brownian motion (Brant, et al., 2007). When a suspension of these treated nanoparticles is passed through a permeable media with micron sized pores, there is no effective straining of the nanoparticles (Zhang, et al., 2010; Espinosa, et al., 2010). This is unlike colloidal particles, as nanoparticles are roughly 2 orders of magnitude smaller than colloidal particles. The ability to transport unhindered through porous media has opened up possibilities of remotely sensing the position of the ferromagnetic nanoparticles (Yu, et al., 2010).
In addition to the transport properties, nanoparticles have been shown to stabilize emulsions and foams as a Pickering emulsion. This is depicted in Fig. 1 for CO2 and water phases. If the surface coating is such that the nanoparticle has an acute contact angle, the sum total of many nanoparticles will cause the
interface to curve towards the CO2, and thus stabilize a CO2-in-water emulsion (Zhang, et al., 2009). If the contact angle is obtuse, the sum total of many nanoparticles will stabilize a water-in-CO2 emulsion. Appropriate surface coating also reduces the aggregation and retention of the nanoparticle in the porous media (Rodriguez, et al., 2009; Caldelas, et al., 2011).
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