Laboratory Screening Tests to Further Characterize Low-Salinity Waterflooding in Low-Permeability Sandstone Reservoir


The latest oil price decline simply increases the demand for enhanced oil recovery (EOR) and pushes research developers to keep improvements in oil recovery. The goal is always to recover as much oil as possible at the lowest possible cost. Low-salinity water flooding (LSWF) is an EOR method that operates at a lower cost than other EOR methods, which makes it a preferred area of interest for oil industry economists, who continue to call for EOR costs to come down. The objective of this study was to test the ability of low-salinity waterflooding to improve oil recovery from low permeability sandstone reservoirs. Four types of tests were conducted: imbibition, interfacial, core flooding, and zeta potential tests. Three key factors were studied: salinity of the injected water, type of salt, and aging time. Their influence on the amount of oil recovery, stabilized injection pressure, pH, and permeability reduction was determined. Berea sandstone was used in all experiments. Sodium chloride (NaCl) and calcium chloride (CaCl2) were used to prepare the brine. The imbibition test and core flooding results showed that the oil recovery increased as brine concentration decreased for both sodium chloride and calcium chloride. Sodium chloride resulted in higher oil recovery than calcium chloride at a certain salinity in both imbibition and core flooding tests. The oil recovery factor results during the second water flooding cycle (after aging for 24 hrs.) showed more oil recovered during low salinity waterflooding. The stabilized inaction pressure was higher for CaCl2 than NaCl injection at certain flow rate and brine concentrations. Effluent pH values became more basic during low salinity water flooding for both sodium and calcium chloride. The zeta potential results showed that decreasing the salinity of injected water resulted in a decrease of the zeta potential value for both injection cycles, before and after aging for 24 hours. Results also imply Low-salinity water flooding redistributes the flowing paths by releasing sand particles and some fine minerals causing the flow path to narrow. Thus, low salinity water flooding can create a new streamline (fluid flow diversion) and improve both displacement and sweep efficiency.

Meeting Name

SPE Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Annual Technical Symposium and Exhibition 2018, SATS 2018 (2018: Apr. 23-26, Dammam, Saudi Arabia)


Geosciences and Geological and Petroleum Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Calcium chloride; Effluents; Enhanced recovery; Floods; Flow of fluids; Low permeability reservoirs; Petroleum reservoir engineering; Sandstone; Sodium chloride; Water injection; Zeta potential, Brine concentration; Core flooding test; Enhanced oil recovery; Improve oil recovery; Injection pressures; Low-permeability sandstone reservoirs; Permeability reduction; Sodium chloride (NaCl), Oil well flooding

International Standard Book Number (ISBN)


Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

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© 2018 Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Apr 2018

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