471995 Studies of Low Salinity Waterflooding Via Glass Micromodels with Triangular Pore-Throat Architectures

Wednesday, November 16, 2016: 5:00 PM
Union Square 23 & 24 (Hilton San Francisco Union Square)
Yafei Liu1, Erica Block2, Jeff Squier3, Vladimir Alvarado1 and John Oakey1, (1)Chemical & Petroleum Engineering, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY, (2)Department of Physics, Colorado School of Mines, Golden, CO, (3)Department of Physics, Colorado School Of Mines, Golden, CO

Glass micromodels have been extensively used to simulate and investigate crude oil, brine, and surface interactions due to their wetting properties, rigidity, and ability to precisely emulate a reservoir’s pore topology. However, most micromodels are fabricated with two dimensional patterning, implying that feature depths are constant with varying width, which sub-optimally describes a porous structure. We have successfully fabricated micromodels with arbitrary triangular cross sections via femtosecond pulsed laser cutting. As such, we have achieved arbitrary geometric control over the device fabrication and thus a much more accurate recapitulation of a geological porous media. With this fabrication technique, we are now able to study pore-level depth-dependent multiphase flow phenomena. Additionally, a newly developed thermal glass bonding technique enables quick and effortless fabrication of glass micromodels at the bench scale. This platform was employed to study the low salinity effect by simulating waterflooding processes over a range of salinities for both connate water and injected brine. Real-time monitoring of the crude oil behavior during aging, combined with a comparison of the brine chemistry before and after waterflooding provides an insight into realistic interactions occurring among crude oil, brine, and rock. Consequently, a comprehensive mechanistic explanation of low salinity effects can be pursued in a hypothesis-directed manner.

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