Imbibition of surfactant solution into the oil-wet matrix in fractured reservoirs is a compl icated process which involves gravity, capillary, viscous, and diffusive forces. The standard experiments for testing imbibition of surfactant solution involve an imbibition cell, where the core is placed in the surfactant solution and the recovery is measured versus time. Although these experiments prove the effectiveness of surfactants, little insight into the physics of the problem is achieved.
In this study, we performed water and surfactant flooding into oil-wet fractured cores and monitored the imbibition of the surfactant solution using CT scanning. From the CT images, the surfactant imbibition dynamics as a function of height along the core was obtained. While the water flood only displaced oil from the fracture, the surfactant solution imbibed into the matrix; the imbibition is frontal with the greatest imbibition rate at the bottom of the core, and the imbibition decreasing roughly linearly with height. Experiments with cores of different sizes showed that increase in either the height or the diameter of the core causes decrease in imbibition and fractional oil recovery rate. We also perform numerical simulations to model the observed imbibition.
Based on the experimental measurements and numerical simulation results, we propose a new scaling group that includes both the diameter and the height of the core. We show that the new scaling groups scale the recovery curves better than the traditional scaling group.