Investigating Low Salinity Waterflooding Recovery Mechanisms in Carbonate Reservoirs


Manipulating the injected brine composition can favorably alter the reservoir wetting state; this hypothesis has been validated in sandstone reservoirs by several scientists. A total of 214 coreflooding experiments were conducted to evaluate low salinity waterflooding (LSWF) secondary recovery and 188 experiments were conducted to evaluate tertiary recovery, for sandstone reservoirs. Although the incremental recovery potential in carbonate reservoirs is greater than in sandstones, only a few imbibition and coreflooding experiments have been conducted. The simulator and recovery mechanisms presented by Aladasani et al. (2012) are used and their suitability and validity to low salinity waterflooding in carbonate reservoirs has been confirmed. This has been achieved by comparing simulated LSWF secondary and tertiary recoveries with published coreflooding experiments. Furthermore, the prediction profiler in JMP was used to examine incremental recovery for the following variables: (a) acid number and interfacial tension (IFT) sensitivities, and (b) 2 nd stage injected brine and 3 rd stage injected brine anion contents. In weak water-wet conditions, the incremental recovery is driven by low capillary pressures, and the underlining recovery mechanism is the increase in oil relative permeability. Therefore, wettability modification is ideal when achieved by shifting the wetting state from oil-wet or water-wet to a maintained intermediate wetting condition irrespective of the injected brine salinity dilution. If the wettability is shifted to a strong water-wet system, then it would be more favorable to use brine with anions to shift the wettability back to an intermediate wetting state. IFT has a bigger impact on LSWF in carbonate reservoirs; however, contact angle is more significant to the final oil recovery. Future work should consider studying the impact of cationic and anionic ions on coreflooding recovery separately and using cores with different initial wetting states, preferably strong oil-wet cores.

Meeting Name

SPE EOR Conference at Oil and Gas West Asia - EOR: Building Towards Sustainable Growth (2012: Apr. 16-18, Muscat, Orman)


Geosciences and Geological and Petroleum Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Acid Numbers; Carbonate Reservoir; Low Salinity; Oil Recoveries; Oil Relative Permeability; Recovery Mechanisms; Sandstone Reservoirs; Water-Wet Systems; Wetting Conditions; Contact Angle; Experiments; Negative Ions; Oil Well Flooding; Petroleum Reservoir Evaluation; Petroleum Reservoirs; Salinity Measurement; Secondary Recovery; Sustainable Development; Water Injection; Well Flooding

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Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

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© 2012 Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Apr 2012