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The novel enhanced oil recovery (EOR) technique combining the reduction of oil/water (o/w) interfacial tensions (IFT) to ultralow values and generation of a foam drive for mobility control is known as foam-assisted chemical flooding (FACF). We present a well-controlled laboratory study on the feasibility of FACF at reservoir conditions. Two specially selected chemical surfactants were screened on their stability in sea water at 90 °C. The ability of both surfactants to generate stable foam in bulk was studied in the presence and absence of crude oil. It led to the composition of the foam drive formulation for drive mobility control. Phase behavior scan studies, for the two crude oil/surfactant/brine systems, yielded the design of the chemical slug capable of mobilizing residual oil by drastically lowering the o/w IFT. Core-flood experiments were performed in Bentheimer sandstones previously brought to a residual oil to waterflood of 0.33 ± 0.02. A surfactant slug at under-optimum (o/w IFT of 10-2 mN/m) or optimum (o/w IFT of 10-3 mN/m) salinity was injected for mobilizing residual oil. It resulted in the formation of an unstable oil bank because of dominant gravitational forces at both salinities. Next, a foam drive was generated either in situ, by co-injecting nitrogen gas and surfactant solution, or pregenerated ex situ and then injected to displace the oil bank. We found that (i) the presence of the crude oil used in this work has a detrimental effect on foam stability in bulk and foam strength in Bentheimer sandstones, (ii) optimum salinity FACF was able to increase the ultimate oil recovery with 5% of the oil in place (OIP) after water flooding compared with under-optimum FACF, and (iii) injection of pregenerated drive foam increased its ultimate oil recovery by 13% of the OIP after water flooding compared to in situ drive foam generation at optimum salinity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4951-4963
Number of pages13
JournalEnergy and Fuels
Volume33
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jun 2019

ID: 55375233