Foams Stabilized by In-Situ Surface-Activated Nanoparticles in Bulk and Porous Media
- Robin Singh (University of Texas at Austin) | Kishore K. Mohanty (University of Texas at Austin)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE Journal
- Publication Date
- February 2016
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 121 - 130
- 2016.Society of Petroleum Engineers
- foam, enhanced oil recovery, mobility reduction factor, nanoparticle
- 4 in the last 30 days
- 945 since 2007
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Foams for subsurface applications are traditionally stabilized by surfactants. The goal of this work is to study foam stabilization by nanoparticles—in particular, by in-situ surface hydrophobization of hydrophilic nanoparticles. The interfacial properties of the nanoparticles were modulated by the attachment of short-chain surface modifiers (alkyl gallates) that render them partially hydrophobic, but still fully dispersible in water. First, static foams were generated with nanoparticles with varying concentrations of surface modifiers. The decay of foam height with time was measured, and half-lives were determined. Optical micrographs of foam stabilized by surface-modified nanoparticles (SMNPs) and surfactant were recorded. Second, aqueous foams were created in-situ by coinjecting the SMNP solutions with nitrogen gas through a Berea sandstone core at a fixed quality. Pressure drop across the core was measured to estimate the achieved resistance factor. These pressure-drop results were then compared with those of a typical surfactant (alpha olefin sulfonate, alkyl polyglucoside) under similar conditions. Finally, oil-displacement experiments were conducted in Berea cores with surfactant and SMNP solutions as foaming agents (coinjection with nitrogen gas). A Bartsch shake test revealed the strong foaming tendency of SMNPs even with a very low initial surface-modifier concentration (0.05 wt%), whereas hydrophilic nanoparticles alone could not stabilize foam. The bubble texture of foam stabilized by SMNPs was finer than that with surfactants, indicating a stronger foam. As the degree of surface coating increased, the resistance factor of SMNP foam in a Berea core increased significantly. The corefloods in the sandstone cores with a reservoir crude oil showed that immiscible foams with SMNP solution can recover a significant amount of oil (20.6% of original oil in place) over waterfloods.
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