Abstract

Nanoparticle stabilized CO2 in water foam can overcome the low stability challenges facing surfactant foams in reservoir conditions. Foams are effective in mobility control against viscous fingering during gas injection in enhanced oil recovery. This study presents a microfluidic approach to image and quantify the stability of foam at pore scale and the dynamics of the oil recovery process during water flooding, CO2 gas flooding, and nanoparticle foam flooding. In addition to chip scale flooding visualization, micro-scale imaging reveals the mechanisms of the viscous fingering in gas flooding and the high sweep efficiency of foam; micro-emulsion size and distribution in gas and foam flooding. Coated silica nanoparticle CO2 foam is significantly more stable than sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) foam at both pore scale and bulk foam. Nanoparticle foam can improve oil recovery an additional 17% IOIP after water flooding, this is 10% IOIP more efficient than CO2 gas flooding as a result of high sweep efficiency and increase in effective viscosity.

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