Although the low salinity effect (LSE) in enhanced oil recovery (EOR) is widely accepted, its underlying mechanisms have not conclusively determined largely due to the complex interactions at oil/brine/rock interfaces and their relation with the dynamic flow behaviors in porous media. Given the vast diversity of brine composition in different reservoirs, the current studies are not yet sufficient to map the complicate interfacial behaviors. Therefore, the attention of this work was placed on the events that occurred on oil/brine/rock interfaces through direct measurements of oil water IFTs, interfacial dilational rheology, zeta potential and oil water relative permeability in sandstone porous media. The effect of brine composition including ion types, salinity and valency on LSWF was examined for the intent of re-defining the potential-determining-ions (PDIs) for LSE. The results showed that the oil water interfacial behaviors closely depended on the brine composition. The wettability alteration of the sandstone surface was found to be associated with the divalent ions and the double layer expansion (DLE) failed to interpreted the observed wettability in our work. The injection of MgSO4 brine produced the highest oil recovery factor compared to other three brine. On the basis of the previous observations, we concluded that the LSE was strongly dependent on the events occurred on the oil-brine-solid interfaces. The most significant LSE was observed at a salinity of 2000ppm in our work and the ions of Mg2+ and SO42− appeared to be critical for LSWF.

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