Characterization of Surfactant Stabilized Nanoemulsion and Its Use in Enhanced Oil Recovery
- Ajay Mandal (Indian School of Mines) | Achinta Bera (Indian School Of Mines) | Keka Ojha (Indian School Of Mines) | Tarkeshwar Kumar (NIT Durgapur)
- 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
- 2.5.2 Fracturing Materials (Fluids, Proppant), 2.4.5 Gravel pack design & evaluation, 5.2.1 Phase Behavior and PVT Measurements, 5.3.2 Multiphase Flow, 4.3.4 Scale, 5.7.2 Recovery Factors, 5.4.1 Waterflooding, 4.1.5 Processing Equipment, 7.4.3 Market analysis /supply and demand forecasting/pricing, 2.4.3 Sand/Solids Control, 5.5.2 Core Analysis, 4.1.2 Separation and Treating
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Nanoemulsions are a class of emulsions with a droplet size in the range of 50-500 nm and have attracted a great deal of attention in recent years because of its unique characteristics. The physicochemical properties of nanoemulsion suggests that it can be successfully used to recover the residual oil which is trapped in the fine pore of reservoir rock by capillary forces after primary and secondary recovery. Oil-in-water nanoemulsion which can be formed by high-energy emulsification techniques using specific surfactants can reduce oil-water interfacial tension (IFT) by 3-4 orders of magnitude. The present work is aimed on characterization of oil-in-water nanoemulsion in terms of its phase behavior, morphological studies; interfacial energy; ability to reduce the interfacial tension and understanding the mechanisms of mobilization and displacement of entrapped oil blobs by lowering interfacial tension both at the macroscopic and microscopic level.
In order to investigate the efficiency of oil-water nanoemulsion in enhanced oil recovery (EOR), experiments were performed to characterize the emulsion in terms of their physicochemical properties and size distribution of the dispersed oil droplet in water phase. Synthetic mineral oil and a series of nonionic ethoxylated surfactants were used to prepare oil-in-water emulsions. Characterization of emulsion shows that it follows pseudo-plastic behaviour and drop size of dispersed oil phase follows lognormal distribution. Flooding experiments were also carried out in a sandpack system to evaluate the effectiveness of the nanoemulsion as displacing fluid for enhanced oil recovery. Substantial additional recoveries (more than 30% of original oil in place) over conventional water flooding were obtained in the present investigation.
The conventional method of exploration and production of oil might not be able to keep up the increasing energy demands of the growing population. Therefore, the oil and gas industry is facing difficult challenges and it needs technological innovations to successfully meet the energy demands. Nanotechnology can offer some unique solutions to mitigate these challenges. Nanotechnology has the potential to transform EOR mechanism and processes. It represents the development and application of materials, methods, and devices, in which critical length scale is on the order of 1-100 nm. Proven a game changer for exploiting fossil-based fuels and, over the next 30 years, nanotechnology will be a critical component in developing fossil-based energy technologies (Krishnamoorti, 2006). Nanotechnology has an immense importance in almost every industry, from consumer electronics to pharmaceuticals and telecommunication, but till now it has not been used in oil and gas exploration and production technology enormously.
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