--> Utilization Of Nanoparticles To Enhance Hydrocarbon Recovery

AAPG Asia Pacific Region GTW, Back to the Future – The Past and Future of Oil and Gas Production in the Asia Pacific Region

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Utilization Of Nanoparticles To Enhance Hydrocarbon Recovery


There is a strong petroleum industry demand for more efficient enhanced oil recovery methods, especially during low oil prices. Even the slightest increase in recovery can significantly generate revenues for oil and gas companies, and encourages industry to look for ways to improve recovery from petroleum reservoirs. Current techniques of surfactant flooding which are typically used to improve sweep efficiency in tight areas can be supplemented with nanoparticles. A mechanism by which nanoparticles can improve sweep efficiency is through assemblage and formation of a wedge at the fringes between the oil and rock contact. The disjoining pressure exerted by the wedge-like compact nanoparticles reduces the capillary pressure needed to sweep the oil from the pore throats of the reservoir. A benefit of using nanotechnology in flooding is their convenient particle sizes. This size allows them to create conglomerates of large surface areas, which allows the fluids containing them to sweep oil more efficiently. Recent measures show that nano-fluid injection have not only reduced the required capillary pressure, but also significantly reduce residual oil saturation, making the process more profitable. Hence, examining the potential of nanoparticles to increase the sweep efficiency of surfactant flooding is research worthy. The aim of this laboratory investigation was to examine the potential of nanoparticles in increasing the sweep efficiency of conventional surfactants in enhancing oil recovery. A dozen nanoparticle-surfactant mixtures were tested. The experiments consisted of two phase. In the first phase, changes in the oil-rock contact angle before and after immersion in the nanoparticle/surfactant mixtures were determined. Due to the mixture instability and highly porous rock samples, phase 1 trials were also conducted with ultrasonication for mixing and addition of pH into the mixtures. The Silica and Ethanol mixture shows the most promise in reducing oil wettability. Rock samples immersed in Copper Oxide and brine and Silica and Diesel demonstrated almost no reduction at all. In the second phase, core flooding analysis was conducted with the best performing nanoparticle-surfactant mixtures from phase 1. As mentioned above, this laboratory investigation was carried out in two phases: Phase 1: Nanoparticle-Surfactant Mixture Screening through Contact Angle Measurement and Phase 2: Permeability Analysis through Nanoparticle-Surfactant Core Flooding. This poster and paper will present the summary of the results obtained.