Carbon dioxide (CO2) enhanced oil recovery is the most economical technique for carbon capture, usage, and storage. In depleted reservoirs, full or near-miscibility of injected CO2 with oil is difficult to achieve, and immiscible CO2 injection leaves a large volume of oil behind and limits available pore volume (PV) for storing CO2. In this paper, we present an experimental study to delineate the effect of ethanol-treated CO2 injection on oil recovery, net CO2 stored, and amount of ethanol left in the reservoir.

We inject CO2 and ethanol-treated CO2 into Bentheimer Sandstone cores representing reservoirs. The oil phase consists of a mixture of 0.65 hexane and 0.35 decane (C6-C10 mixture) by molar fraction in one set of experimental runs, and pure decane (C10) in the other set of experimental runs. All experimental runs are conducted at constant temperature 70°C and various pressures to exhibit immiscibility (9.0 MPa for the C6-C10 mixture and 9.6 MPa for pure C10) or near-miscibility (11.7 MPa for the C6-C10 mixture and 12.1 MPa for pure C10). Pressure differences across the core, oil recovery, and compositions and rates of the produced fluids are recorded during the experimental runs. Ultimate oil recovery under immiscibility is found to be 9 to 15% greater using ethanol-treated CO2 injection than that using pure CO2 injection. Net CO2 stored for pure C10 under immiscibility is found to be 0.134 PV greater during ethanol-treated CO2 injection than during pure CO2 injection. For the C6-C10 mixture under immiscibility, both ethanol-treated CO2 injection and CO2 injection yield the same net CO2 stored. However, for the C6-C10 mixture under near-miscibility,ethanol-treated CO2 injection is found to yield 0.161 PV less net CO2 stored than does pure CO2 injection. These results suggest potential improvement in oil recovery and net CO2 stored using ethanol-treated CO2 injection instead of pure CO2 injection. If economically viable, ethanol-treated CO2 injection could be used as a carbon capture, usage, and storage method in low-pressure reservoirs, for which pure CO2 injection would be infeasible.

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