Adsorption/Retention of Petroleum Sulfonates in Berea Cores
- J.H. Bae (Gulf Research and Development Co.) | C.B. Petrick (Gulf Research and Development Co.)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Society of Petroleum Engineers Journal
- Publication Date
- October 1977
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 353 - 357
- 1977. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 4.1.2 Separation and Treating, 4.1.5 Processing Equipment, 2.5.2 Fracturing Materials (Fluids, Proppant), 1.6.9 Coring, Fishing, 5.3.2 Multiphase Flow, 5.4.7 Chemical Flooding Methods (e.g., Polymer, Solvent, Nitrogen, Immiscible CO2, Surfactant, Vapex)
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A series of petroleum sulfonate adsorption experiments was conducted in 2-in.-diameter, 2-ft-long Berea cores initially saturated with 1-percent NaCl brine. The sulfonates used had an average equivalent weight of 430 with a broad equivalent-weight distribution. The concentration ranged from 0.01 to 8 per cent. The flow rates investigated ranged from 2 to 36 ft/D. Adsorption was determined either from analysis of the effluent concentrations or by extraction of sulfonates from the core. The physical properties of the solutions were also measured. In several tests, Na2CO3 was used as a sacrificial chemical, either in a preflood or added to the sulfonate solution.
It was found that at certain concentrations, apparent adsorption is dependent on the flow rate. The sulfonate adsorption isotherm was found to pass through a maximum. The value of the pass through a maximum. The value of the adsorption maximum and the concentration at which it occurs are also dependent on the flow rate. The time required for adsorption equilibrium was found to increase with increasing sulfonate concentration. A sacrificial chemical reduced the sulfonate adsorption. However, sulfonate adsorption increased gradually with time. Adsorption tests should be conducted at realistic flow rates.
One of the major problems in surfactant flooding is the adsorption of surfactants on the reservoir rock. If adsorption is excessive, surfactants are depleted rapidly from the slug as it moves through the reservoir; consequently, it loses the ability to lower the oil-water interfacial tension. Thus, the magnitude of adsorption is an important technical as well as economic parameter.
It has been reported that the adsorption of petroleum sulfonates is selective. The high-equivalent-weight sulfonates are adsorbed preferentially whole low-equivalent-weight preferentially whole low-equivalent-weight sulfonates show almost no adsorption. Most of the adsorbed sulfonates had an equivalent weight of 500 or more. This type of fractionation was considered to be the main cause for poor oil recovery in a field pilot test.
The literature data on the adsorption of petroleum sulfonates from aqueous solutions indicate petroleum sulfonates from aqueous solutions indicate that there is a maximum in the adsorption isotherm. Furthermore, the adsorption of sulfonate is reduced significantly when sacrificial chemicals are used. The experimental methods used in these measurements differ from one another and, on occasion, the adsorbed sulfonates are defined to be the amount extracted by a solvent after a brine flush.
The term "adsorption" is used here rather loosely. Some people prefer the term retention to adsorption since there may be physical retention in a core. The physical retention may or may not exist in a given experiment and detection of it may be very difficult.
The objective of this work is to investigate the adsorption phenomenon in dynamic core tests. Several questions are examined: How is the adsorption isotherm related to the general properties of the solution? Do the dynamic test conditions affect the adsorption measurement? Are sacrificial chemicals useful in reducing sulfonate adsorption?
The petroleum sulfonate used was a blend of sulfonates, TRS 18 and TRS 40 obtained from Witco Chemical Co., and has an average equivalent weight of 430. The equivalent weight ranged from 250 to 650, with about 80 percent ranging from 350 to 550, almost evenly distributed. Isopropyl alcohol was used as a cosolvent at 1/10 of the sulfonate concentration. A 1-percent NaCl brine was used as the aqueous medium. Weight percentage is used throughout this paper.
All adsorption tests were conducted at room temperature of 72 degrees F in 2-in.-diameter, 2-ft-long Berea cores saturated with brine. The permeability to brine in all tests was 450 + 25 md. The sulfonate solution was injected continuously into the cores using a positive-displacement pump. The produced fluids were collected in a fraction collector. In most cases, at the end of sulfonate injection, the sulfonate in the core was extracted immediately with a methanol-chloroform mixture.
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