The Role of Sandstone Mineralogy and Rock Quality in the Performance of Low-Salinity Waterflooding
- Ahmed M. Shehata (Texas A&M University) | Hisham A. Nasr-El-Din (Texas A&M University)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE Reservoir Evaluation & Engineering
- Publication Date
- February 2017
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 87 - 106
- 2017.Society of Petroleum Engineers
- zeta potential, waterflood, sandstone, clays, low salinity
- 18 in the last 30 days
- 486 since 2007
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Recent field applications and laboratory studies have recognized that low-salinity waterflooding (LSW) is a potentially effective technique to achieve sufficient recovery in sandstone reservoirs. Researchers have noted that the impacts of clay content, rock permeability, and pore-throat radius are still unclear on the performance of LSW. This paper reports the results of coreflood, zeta-potential, X-ray-powder-diffraction (XRD), X-ray-fluorescence (XRF), scanning-electron-microscope (SEM), nuclear-magnetic resonance (NMR), and high-pressure-mercury-injection experimental investigations on these parameters.
The main objectives of this work are to examine the performance of LSW by use of four sandstone rocks during secondary- and tertiary-recovery modes; to investigate the role of clay content, rock permeability, and average pore-throat radius on the performance of LSW; and to evaluate the effects of mineral type, brine salinity, cation type, and pH on the zeta-potential measurements. Zeta-potential measurements were conducted for rock/brine interfaces to determine the suitable injection brine for the used sandstone rocks. Various brines were used, including seawater (SW), 20% diluted SW, 0.5 wt% NaCl, 0.5 wt% MgCl2, and 0.5 wt% CaCl2. Then, a set of comprehensive coreflood tests were conducted with Bandera, Parker, Gray Berea, and Buff Berea outcrop sandstone cores. The coreflood experiments were conducted with 6- and 20-in.-length and 1.5-in.-diameter outcrop cores at 185°F. Oil recovery, pressure drop, and pH were observed and analyzed after each coreflood experiment.
On the basis of the results attained, the Parker, Bandera, Gray Berea, and Buff Berea sandstone cores showed additional oil recoveries of 4.3, 9.2, 13.3, and 17.1% of original oil in place (OOIP), respectively, through the injection of low-salinity brine (5,000 ppm NaCl) as the secondary recovery mode. The average pore-throat radius (rock quality) has a higher effect in the performance of LSW than in high-salinity waterflooding (HSW) on the secondary recovery mode. The incremental oil recovery (microscopic) for the LSW increased from 4.3 to 17% when the average pore-throat radius (R35) of the core increased from 1.4 to 8.5 μm.
The total clay content and the clay composition are not the main factors that influence the LSW performance. The distribution of the clays seems to be playing a significant role. The measured zeta potentials of kaolinite and montmorillonite particles in 5,000 ppm NaCl brine at 77°F and pH 7 were 26.5 and 29.4 mV, respectively. The zeta-potential values indicated a stronger negative charge on muscovite and albite minerals of 33.8 and 31.5 mV, respectively. Zeta-potential values indicated a less-negative charge on the chlorite and illite particles than the other minerals. It seems that chlorite and illite contribute to a smaller electrical-double-layer expansion than those of kaolinite, feldspars, montmorillonite, and muscovite. On the other hand, the zeta-potential values of calcite and dolomite particles are 1.0 and 4.5 mV, respectively. The presence of dolomite and calcite would decrease the effect of the low-salinity brine to improve oil recovery.
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