Application of Nanofluid Technology to Improve Recovery in Oil and Gas Wells
- Paul M. Mcelfresh (Frac Tech Services LLC) | David Lee Holcomb (Frac Tech Services LLC) | Daniel Ector (FTS International LLC)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE International Oilfield Nanotechnology Conference and Exhibition, 12-14 June, Noordwijk, The Netherlands
- Publication Date
- Document Type
- Conference Paper
- 2012. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 4.1.5 Processing Equipment, 4.3.3 Aspaltenes, 5.4.1 Waterflooding, 3.2.4 Acidising, 2.5.2 Fracturing Materials (Fluids, Proppant), 5.8.5 Oil Sand, Oil Shale, Bitumen, 4.1.2 Separation and Treating, 1.8 Formation Damage, 4.3.4 Scale, 1.6.9 Coring, Fishing, 3.2.3 Hydraulic Fracturing Design, Implementation and Optimisation, 3 Production and Well Operations
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The use of aqueous stabilized nanoparticle dispersions (NPDs) with 4-20 nm silicon dioxide particles has been demonstrated in both experimental laboratory evaluations and field trials to provide production improvements in wellbore remediation and increased injectivity over conventional treatments. To date over 50 successful beta test applications have been performed. Additional work is under way to develop improved NPD formulations that will enable applications in areas like hydraulic fracturing, acidizing, production chemicals, water flooding, tar sands, and heavy oil.
Nanofluids are stable colloidal dispersions or micellar dispersions that accelerate recovery of hydrocarbon from oil and gas reservoirs by the use of the unique enabling mechanism of disjoining pressure. The nanoparticles in NPD utilize this mechanism to form a self-assembled wedge-shaped film on contact with a discontinuous phase. This wedge film acts to separate formation fluids (oil, paraffin, water, and/or gas) from the formation's surface, thereby recovering more fluids than previously possible with conventional additives or fluids.
This paper will present a description of the disjoining pressure mechanism and present Research laboratory and actual field treatment beta testing to illustrate that higher fluid recoveries and injection rates can be achieved, by enabling conventional intervention fluids to function more efficiently.
Nanoparticle dispersions provide a unique enabling mechanism to improve the efficiency of fluids and additives in the performance of their intended actions during a number of reservoir intervention applications. A wide range of applications for nanotechnology utilizing the mechanism of disjoining pressure have been investigated. Custom designed nanoparticle fluid systems enable solutions that range from typical work-over squeeze treatments for mitigation of paraffin and asphaltene blockage, to recovery of residual oil from depleted fields in water flood applications. The mechanism improves the removal of discontinuous phases such as oil, gas, damaging material like paraffin, polymer, biofilm, or scale from the rock substrate. Fluid systems can be specifically designed for each of these applications by selecting various particles, with or without surface modifications, or with alterations to the ionic nature of the carrier fluid.
Research is focused on enhancements to typical remedial treatments. In these systems, nanofluids enhance established methods of dissolution and provide complete removal of foreign matter from both reservoir and tubular surfaces rather than established practices of dissolution alone that can displace damage from the near wellbore region further into the reservoir. The complete removal of the damage from the well results in a treatment that gives longer lasting results, providing for a higher ROI as well as a lowered chemical footprint. For use in water flooding applications, nanofluids have been studied in conjunction with conventional surfactants. The addition of nanoparticles to the surfactant systems improves the detergency of the flood, leading to higher recoveries of residual oil.
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