alexa Assessment of CO2-Soluble Surfactants for Mobility Reduction using Mobility Measurements and CT Imaging
Environmental Sciences

Environmental Sciences

Journal of Petroleum & Environmental Biotechnology

Author(s): William James Mclendon, Peter Koronaios, Samuel McNulty

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The addition of CO2-soluble, brine-soluble, surfactants to the high pressure CO2 may facilitate the in-situ generation of CO2- in-brine foams for conformance and/or mobility control. Most of these non-ionic surfactants dissolve in CO2 to concentrations of roughly 0.05 - 0.10wt% at CO2 EOR conditions and stabilize CO2-in-brine foams in high pressure windowed cells. Huntsman SURFONIC® N series surfactants, branched nonylphenol ethoxylates, containing an average of 12 (N-120) or 15 (N-150) ethylene oxide repeat units were selected for mobility and CT studies detailed in this paper. Transient mobility measurements were conducted using a water-wet Berea core (104 mD), a water-wet Bentheimer sandstone core (~1500 mD), and several mixed wettability SACROC carbonate cores (3.6 and 8.9 mD). The CO2 was injected into a brine-saturated core at a superficial velocity of 10 ft/day, and the surfactant was either not used, dissolved only in the brine at 0.06wt%, dissolved only in the CO2 at 0.06wt%, or dissolved in both the brine and the CO2 at 0.06wt. Regardless of what phase the surfactant was dissolved in, in-situ foam generation in the relatively high permeability sandstone was evidenced by total pressure drop values that were 2 - 3 times greater than the test with no surfactant. The mobility reduction was more modest (20 - 50% increases in pressure drop) in the lower permeability SACROC cores (3.6 and 8.9 mD) when the surfactant was dissolved in the CO2. When the surfactant was dissolved in the brine, the pressure drops increased by a factor of 1.5 - 3 for the 8.9 mD core. CT scanning of in-situ foam generation was then conducted by injecting high pressure CO2 into a 5wt% KI brinesaturated water-wet Berea sandstone (3 - 8 mD). Tests were done with no surfactant or with the surfactant dissolved either in the brine at 0.03wt% or in the CO2 at 0.06wt%. At a low and high superficial velocity values of 0.47 ft/day and 4.7 ft/day, insitu foam generation occurred when surfactant was dissolved in the brine or the CO2, but the core was swept more effectively by the foam generated with the surfactant present in the brine.

This article was published in Society of Petroleum Engineers and referenced in Journal of Petroleum & Environmental Biotechnology

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