Zeta potential in oil-water-carbonate systems and its impact on oil recovery during controlled salinity water-flooding

Matthew D. Jackson, Dawoud Al Mahrouqi, Jan Vinogradov

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Abstract

Laboratory experiments and field trials have shown that oil recovery from carbonate reservoirs can be increased by modifying the brine composition injected during recovery in a process termed controlled salinity water-flooding (CSW). However, CSW remains poorly understood and there is no method to predict the optimum CSW composition. This work demonstrates for the first time that improved oil recovery (IOR) during CSW is strongly correlated to changes in zeta potential at both the mineral-water and oil-water interfaces. We report experiments in which IOR during CSW occurs only when the change in brine composition induces a repulsive electrostatic force between the oil-brine and mineral-brine interfaces. The polarity of the zeta potential at both interfaces must be determined when designing the optimum CSW composition. A new experimental method is presented that allows this. Results also show for the first time that the zeta potential at the oil-water interface may be positive at conditions relevant to carbonate reservoirs. A key challenge for any model of CSW is to explain why IOR is not always observed. Here we suggest that failures using the conventional (dilution) approach to CSW may have been caused by a positively charged oil-water interface that had not been identified.
Original languageEnglish
Article number37363
JournalScientific Reports
Volume6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 23 Nov 2016

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carbonate system
flooding
oil
brine
water
carbonate
water salinity
dilution
mineral

Keywords

  • crude oil
  • porous materials

Cite this

Zeta potential in oil-water-carbonate systems and its impact on oil recovery during controlled salinity water-flooding. / Jackson, Matthew D.; Al Mahrouqi, Dawoud; Vinogradov, Jan.

In: Scientific Reports, Vol. 6, 37363 , 23.11.2016.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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abstract = "Laboratory experiments and field trials have shown that oil recovery from carbonate reservoirs can be increased by modifying the brine composition injected during recovery in a process termed controlled salinity water-flooding (CSW). However, CSW remains poorly understood and there is no method to predict the optimum CSW composition. This work demonstrates for the first time that improved oil recovery (IOR) during CSW is strongly correlated to changes in zeta potential at both the mineral-water and oil-water interfaces. We report experiments in which IOR during CSW occurs only when the change in brine composition induces a repulsive electrostatic force between the oil-brine and mineral-brine interfaces. The polarity of the zeta potential at both interfaces must be determined when designing the optimum CSW composition. A new experimental method is presented that allows this. Results also show for the first time that the zeta potential at the oil-water interface may be positive at conditions relevant to carbonate reservoirs. A key challenge for any model of CSW is to explain why IOR is not always observed. Here we suggest that failures using the conventional (dilution) approach to CSW may have been caused by a positively charged oil-water interface that had not been identified.",
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