Potential of Low-Salinity Waterflood To Improve Oil Recovery in Carbonates: Demonstrating the Effect by Qualitative Coreflood
- Ramez A. Nasralla (Shell Global Solutions International B.V.) | Ekaterina Sergienko (Shell Global Solutions International B.V.) | Shehadeh K. Masalmeh (Shell Abu Dhabi) | Hilbert A. van der Linde (Shell Global Solutions International B.V.) | Niels J. Brussee (Shell Global Solutions International B.V.) | Hassan Mahani (Shell Global Solutions International B.V.) | Bart M. J. M. Suijkerbuijk (Shell Global Solutions International B.V.) | Ibrahim S. M. Al-Qarshubi (Shell Global Solutions International B.V.)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE Journal
- Publication Date
- October 2016
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 1,643 - 1,654
- 2016.Society of Petroleum Engineers
- calcite dissolution, carbonate, improved oil recovery , coreflood protocol, low salinity water
- 8 in the last 30 days
- 479 since 2007
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Low-salinity waterflood (LSF) is a promising improved-oil-recovery (IOR) technology. Although, it was demonstrated that LSF is an efficient IOR method for many sandstone reservoirs, the potential of LSF in carbonate reservoirs is still not well-established because only a limited number of successful coreflood experiments are available in the literature. Therefore, the aim of this study was to examine the oil-recovery improvement by LSF in carbonate reservoirs by performing coreflood experiments.
This paper proposes an experimental approach to qualitatively evaluate the potential of LSF to improve oil recovery and alter the rock wettability during coreflood experiments. The corefloods were conducted on core plugs from two Middle Eastern carbonate reservoirs with a wide variation of rock properties and reservoir conditions. Seawater (SW) and several dilutions of formation brine and SW were flooded in the tertiary mode to evaluate their impacts on oil recovery compared with formation-brine injection. In addition, a geochemical study was performed with PHREEQC software (Parkhurst and Appelo 1999) to assess the potential of calcite dissolution by LSF.
The experimental results confirmed that lowering the water salinity can alter the rock wettability toward more water-wet, causing improvement of oil recovery in tertiary waterflood in plugs from the two reservoirs. Furthermore, SW is more-favorable for improved oil recovery than formation brine because injection of SW after formation brine resulted in extra oil production. This demonstrates that the brine composition plays an important role during waterflooding in carbonate reservoirs, and not only the brine salinity. It was also observed that oil recovery can be improved by injection of brines that cannot dissolve calcite on the basis of the geochemical modeling study. This implies that calcite dissolution is not the dominant mechanism of IOR by LSF.
To conclude, this paper demonstrates that LSF has a good potential as an IOR technology in carbonate reservoirs. In addition, the proposed experimental approach ensures the verification of LSF effect, either it is positive or negative. However, further research is required to explore the optimum salinity and composition and the most-influential parameters affecting LSF response.
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