Novel Large-Hydrophobe Alkoxy Carboxylate Surfactants for Enhanced Oil Recovery
- Jun Lu (Ultimate EOR Services) | Christopher Britton (Ultimate EOR Services) | Sriram Solairaj (ConocoPhillips) | Pathma J. Liyanage (The University of Texas at Austin) | Do Hoon Kim (Chevron) | Stephanie Adkins (Ultimate EOR Services) | Gayani W. P. Pinnawala Arachchilage (The University of Texas at Austin) | Upali Weerasooriya (The University of Texas at Austin) | Gary A. Pope (The University of Texas at Austin)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE Journal
- Publication Date
- December 2014
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 1,024 - 1,034
- 2014.Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 2.5.2 Fracturing Materials (Fluids, Proppant), 5.4.7 Chemical Flooding Methods (e.g., Polymer, Solvent, Nitrogen, Immiscible CO2, Surfactant, Vapex)
- surfactant/polymer flood, carboxylate surfactant, chemical EOR
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A new class of surfactants has been developed and tested for chemical enhanced oil recovery (EOR) that shows excellent performance under harsh reservoir conditions. These novel Guerbet alkoxy carboxylate (GAC) surfactants fulfill this need by providing large, branched hydrophobes; flexibility in the number of alkoxylate groups; and stability in both alkaline and nonalkaline environments at temperatures up to at least 120°C. The new carboxylate surfactants were recently manufactured at a cost comparable to other commercial EOR surfactants by use of commercially available feedstocks. A formulation containing the combination of a carboxylate surfactant and a sulfonate cosurfactant resulted in a synergistic interaction that has the potential to reduce the total chemical cost further. One can obtain both ultralow interfacial tension (IFT) with the oils and a clear aqueous solution (even under harsh conditions such as high salinity, high hardness, and high temperature with or without alkali) with these new large-hydrophobe alkoxy carboxylate surfactants. Both sandstone and carbonate corefloods were conducted with excellent results. Formulations have been developed for both active oils (contains naturally occurring carboxylic acids) and inactive oils (oils that do not produce sufficient amounts of soap/carboxylic acid), with excellent results.
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