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Wettability Alteration and Foam Mobility Control in a Layered, 2D Heterogeneous Sandpack
- Robert F. Li (Rice University) | George Hirasaki (Rice University) | Clarence A. Miller (Rice University) | Shehadeh K. Masalmeh (Shell Technology Oman)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE Journal
- Publication Date
- December 2012
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 1,207 - 1,220
- 2012. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 5.4 Enhanced Recovery, 5.4.7 Chemical Flooding Methods (e.g., Polymer, Solvent, Nitrogen, Immiscible CO2, Surfactant, Vapex), 5.4.1 Waterflooding, 2.5.2 Fracturing Materials (Fluids, Proppant)
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In a layered, 2D heterogeneous sandpack with a 19:1 permeability contrast that was preferentially oil-wet, the recovery by waterflood was only 49.1% of original oil in place (OOIP) because of injected water flowing through the high-permeability zone, leaving the low-permeability zone unswept. To enhance oil recovery, an anionic surfactant blend (NI) was injected that altered the wettability and lowered the interfacial tension (IFT). Once IFT was reduced to ultralow values, the adverse effect of capillarity retaining oil was eliminated. Gravity-driven vertical countercurrent flow then exchanged fluids between high- and low-permeability zones during a 42-day system shut-in. Cumulative recovery after a subsequent foam flood was 94.6% OOIP, even though foam strength was weak. Recovery with chemical flood (incremental recovered oil/waterflood remaining oil) was 89.4%. An alternative method is to apply foam mobility control as a robust viscous-force-dominant process with no initial surfactant injection and shut-in. The light crude oil studied in this paper was extremely detrimental to foam generation. However, the addition of lauryl betaine to NI (NIB) at a weight ratio of 1:2 (NI:lauryl betaine) made the new blend a good foaming agent with and without the presence of the crude oil. NIB by itself as an IFT-reducing and foaming agent is shown to be effective in various secondary and tertiary alkaline/surfactant/foam (ASF) processes in water-wet 1D homogeneous sandpacks and in an oil-wet heterogeneous layered system with a 34:1 permeability ratio.
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