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Technical Brief

Experimental Investigation of Nano-Biomaterial Applications for Heavy Oil Recovery in Shaly Porous Models: A Pore-Level Study

[+] Author and Article Information
Mahdi Mohebbifar

Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering,
Sharif University of Technology,
Tehran 11365-11155, Iran
e-mail: mehdi.mohebbifar@gmail.com

Mohammadi Hossein Ghazanfari, Manouchehr Vossoughi

Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering,
Sharif University of Technology,
Tehran 11365-11155, Iran

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Petroleum Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF ENERGY RESOURCES TECHNOLOGY. Manuscript received September 1, 2013; final manuscript received August 8, 2014; published online September 24, 2014. Assoc. Editor: Arash Dahi Taleghani.

J. Energy Resour. Technol 137(1), 014501 (Sep 24, 2014) (8 pages) Paper No: JERT-13-1254; doi: 10.1115/1.4028270 History: Received September 01, 2013; Revised August 08, 2014

Application of nano or biomaterials for enhanced oil recovery (EOR) has been recently much attended by petroleum engineering researchers. However, how would be the displacement mechanisms and how would change the recovery efficiency while nano and biomaterials are used simultaneously is still an open question. To this end, a series of injection tests performed on micromodel containing shale strikes. Three types of biomaterials including biosurfactant, bioemulsifier, and biopolymer beside two types of nanoparticles including SiO2 and TiO2 at different concentrations were used as injection fluids. The microscopic as well as macroscopic efficiency of displacements were observed from analysis of images recorded during the tests. Microscopic observations revealed different mechanisms responsible for oil recovery including: wettability alteration, thinning oil film, interfacial tension (IFT) reduction, and water in oil emulsion formation. Contact angle experiments showed changes in the surface wetness from an oil-wet to neutral-wet/water-wet conditions when a layer of nano-biomaterial covered thin sections of a shaly sandstone. Also the results showed that the presence of shales causes early breakthrough and ultimate oil recovery reduction. Shales act as flow barriers and enhance injection fluid viscous fingering. Displacement efficiency in shaly systems is sharply related to the shale distribution. Oil recovery after breakthrough in shaly systems is progressive and considerable volume of oil in place is recovered after breakthrough. The highest efficiency, 78%, observed while injecting one pore volume of biopolymer and SiO2 nanoparticles. This work illustrates for the first time the mechanisms involved in nano-biomaterial-crude oil displacements.

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Figures

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Fig. 1

Schematic of micromodel patterns

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Fig. 2

Close-up views of the displacements in pores: (a) oil distribution in a shaly system, (b) oil wetness during water flooding, (c) water wetness during nano-biosurfactant flooding, (d) emulsion formation during nano-bio-emulsifier flooding, and (e) decreasing residual oil saturation due to capillary number enhancement during nano-biopolymer flooding

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Fig. 3

Close up views of the displacements in pores during nano-biopolymer flooding

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Fig. 4

Contact angle of thin section aged by oil

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Fig. 5

Contact angle of thin sections aged by nano-biomaterials: (a) TiO2-bioemulsifier, (b) SiO2-biosurfactant, (c) SiO2-biopolymer, (d) TiO2-biopolymer, and (e) TiO2-biosurfactant

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Fig. 6

Effect of shale on oil recovery in waterflooding

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Fig. 7

Effect of shale on breakthrough time

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Fig. 8

Effect of nano-biosurfactant concentration on heavy oil recovery

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Fig. 9

Effect of shale orientation on heavy oil recovery

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Fig. 10

Effect of shale orientation on breakthrough time

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Fig. 11

Effect of shale distance from injection and production wells

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Fig. 12

Viscous fingering during test no. 9

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Fig. 13

Effect of shale length on heavy oil recovery

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Fig. 14

Effect of shale length on breakthrough time

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Fig. 15

Effect of nano-biomaterial type on heavy oil recovery

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Fig. 16

Different stages of oil recovery during test no. 12

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Fig. 17

Effect of nano-biomaterial type on oil recovery

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Fig. 18

Effect nano-biomaterial type on breakthrough time

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Fig. 19

Injection pressure versus time

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