Visualization and Analysis of Surfactant Imbibition Into Oil-Wet Fractured Cores
- Mohammad Mirzaei (University of Texas at Austin) | David A. DiCarlo (University of Texas at Austin) | Gary A. Pope (University of Texas at Austin)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE Journal
- Publication Date
- February 2016
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 101 - 111
- 2016.Society of Petroleum Engineers
- surfactant, wettability, fracture, CT scan, oil-wet
- 11 in the last 30 days
- 556 since 2007
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Imbibition of surfactant solution into the oil-wet matrix in fractured reservoirs is a complicated process that involves gravity, capillary, viscous, and diffusive forces. The standard experiment for testing imbibition of surfactant solution involves an imbibition cell, in which the core is placed in the surfactant solution and the recovery is measured vs. time. Although these experiments prove the effectiveness of surfactants, little insight into the physics of the problem is achieved.
In this study, we performed water and surfactant flooding into oil-wet fractured cores and monitored the imbibition of the surfactant solution by use of computed-tomography (CT) scanning. From the CT images, the surfactant-imbibition dynamics as a function of height along the core was obtained. Although the waterflood only displaced oil from the fracture, the surfactant solution imbibed into the matrix; the imbibition is frontal, with the greatest imbibition rate at the bottom of the core, and the imbibition decreases roughly linearly with height. Experiments with cores of different sizes showed that increase in either the height or the diameter of the core causes decrease in imbibition and fractional oil-recovery rate. We also perform numerical simulations to model the observed imbibition.
On the basis of the experimental measurements and numerical-simulation results, we propose a new scaling group that includes both the diameter and the height of the core. We show that the new scaling groups scale the recovery curves better than the traditional scaling group.
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