Modeling and Simulation of Nanoparticle Transport in a Two-Phase Flow in Porous Media
- Mohamed Fathy El-amin (KAUST) | Amgad Salama (King Abdullah University of Sc) | Shuyu Sun (King Abdullah U of Science & Tech)
- 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
- 5.5 Reservoir Simulation, 5.3.1 Flow in Porous Media, 5.4 Enhanced Recovery, 4.3.4 Scale, 5.4.2 Gas Injection Methods, 5.6.5 Tracers, 6.5.2 Water use, produced water discharge and disposal, 1.8 Formation Damage
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In the current paper, a mathematical model to describe the nanoparticles transport carried by a two-phase flow in a porous medium is presented. Both capillary forces as well as Brownian diffusion are considered in the model. A numerical example of countercurrent water-oil imbibition is considered. We monitor the changing of the fluid and solid properties due to the addition of the nanoparticles using numerical experiments. Variation of water saturation, nanoparticles concentration and porosity ratio are investigated.
In the recent years, the applications of nanometer particles (nanoparticles) have been reported in many disciplines. These nanoparticles can modify the rheology, mobility, wettability, and other properties of the fluids and therefore need comprehensive investigations. Using the nanoparticles in oil and gas exploration and production is also a promising field of research. For example, certain types of nanoparticles can be used as tracers for oil and gas exploration. These nanoparticles are designed such that they do not stick to the rock surface or hydrocarbon phases and move faster than the traditional chemical tracers. Moreover, nanoparticles can be used in the oilfields to enhance water injection by virtue of changing the wettability of reservoir rock through their adsorption on porous walls.
The nanometer unit and nanoparticles are often associated with the field of nanotechnology. The nanometer (nm) unit is equal to one billionth of a meter (nm=10-9 m). On the other hand, particles are classified based on size in terms of diameter. Coarse particles are sized between 10,000 and 2,500 nm. Fine particles have the range between 2,500 and 100 nm. Nanoparticles (ultrafine particles) cover a range between 100 and 1 nm. Nanoclusters have at least one dimension between 10 and 1 nm and a narrow size distribution. Nanopowders are agglomerates of ultrafine particles, nanoparticles, or nanoclusters. One kind of polysilicon nanopowder has the range between 500 and 10 nm was used in oilfields to enhance water injection by changing wettability of porous media. A few work papers address the issues related to mathematical and numerical modeling aspects of the nanoparticles transport phenomena in oilfields. Ju et al.  reported that when the suspension of the polysilicon nanoparticles (PN) of one nanosize is injected into an oil reservoir, it could change the wettability of porous surfaces of sandstone and consequently have effects on water and oil flows. Recently, Ju and Dai  have used two types of PN in oil fields to improve oil recovery and enhance water injection. They introduced experimental investigations to study both physical properties of the nanoparticles, and pore characteristics of sandstone. Also, they have presented a 1D mathematical model to describe the nanoparticles transport carried by two-phase flow in a porous medium. Ju et al.  and Ju and Dai  have founded their mathematical model of nanoparticles transport in two-phase flow in porous media based on the formulation of fine particles transport in two-phase flow in porous media provided in Refs. [3-5]. Sbai and Azaroual  developed a mathematical model couples the incompressible two-phase fluid flow reservoir equations at the macroscopic level to equations of nanoparticles transport at a smaller, but still macroscopic, secondary scale. Improvements in the recovered volumes by injecting hydrophobic nanoparticles which enhance or reverse the initial reservoir wettability favoring an increase in the relative permeability of the oil phase and the capillary pressure drop between phase pressures .
In the present work, we develop a model to represent nanoparticles transport and two-phase flow in porous media including capillarity and Brownian diffusion. We provide a numerical example of countercurrent imbibition and variation of water saturation, nanoparticles concentration and porosity ratio are studied.
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