Low salinity water and polymer flooding in sandstone reservoirs: Upscaling from nano-to macro-scale using the maximum energy barrier

Prashant Jadhawar*, Motaz Saeed

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


In this work, the flooding processes of low salinity waterflooding and low salinity polymer flooding (LSWF and LSP) in sandstone reservoirs were mechanistically modelled at nano-and macro-scales. Triple-layer surface complexation models were utilised to simulate interactions at the oil-brine and sandstone-brine interfaces. The Derjaguin-Landau-Verwey-Overbeek (DLVO) theory was applied to describe the stability of interfacial films in crude oil-brine-sandstone rock systems. The novel application of the maximum energy barrier (MEB), calculated from the interaction potential of the DLVO theory, as an upscaling and interpolant parameter to adjust relative permeability curves as a function of reservoir properties is proposed in this work. Numerical simulations using the commercial simulator CMG-STARS were used in tandem with the surface complexation models and film analysis to evaluate the performance of LSWF and LSP in sandstone reservoirs.

Results of the numerical simulations showed that the LSP gave significantly higher oil recovery compared to standard polymer flooding because of its utilisation of wettability alteration due to LSWF and the improved mobility control due to LSP. A comparison between studied injection processes i.e. low and high salinity waterflooding, and low and high salinity polymer flooding, revealed that oil recovery as a result of wettability alteration is significantly higher than that of mobility control. Further analysis indicated that temperature affects the wettability alteration favourably, and the polymer slug viscosity unfavourably. However, the temperature effect on the wettability was found to be more pronounced. The workflow presented in this study provides valuable guidelines in screening the appropriate sandstone reservoirs for LSWF and LSP applications using the numerical simulation techniques through the upscaling from nano-to-macro-to-field scale.
Original languageEnglish
Article number111247
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Petroleum Science and Engineering
Issue numberPartA
Early online date15 Nov 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023


  • low salinity waterflooding
  • low salinity polymer flooding
  • Surface complexation modelling
  • Numerical modelling
  • Model upscaling


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