The goal of this work is to evaluate stabilization of foams by a combination of nanoparticles and surfactants. Hydrophilic silica nanoparticles (NP) and anionic surfactants were used in this study. Static foams were generated using surfactants and surfactant-NP mixtures with and without the presence of a crude oil. The decay of the foam height with time was studied and half-lives were determined. The foam drainage behavior and thickness of the foam lamella were studied by fluorescence microscopy. Aqueous foams were created in-situ by co-injecting the surfactant or surfactant-NP mixtures with nitrogen gas through a Berea sandstone core at a fixed quality. Pressure drop across the core was measured to estimate the achieved mobility reduction factor (MRF). Oil displacement experiments were conducted in Berea cores using surfactant and surfactant-nanoparticle mixture as foaming agents. Static foam tests indicate stabilization effect of nanoparticles on surfactant-nanoparticle foam stability in the absence of crude oil. Lighter crude oils were more destabilizing to foams than heavier oils. Adding nanoparticles even in low concentrations (0.3 wt %) can significantly improve the foam stability and mobility reduction factor in the absence of oil. As the concentration of nanoparticles increased, mobility reduction factor (MRF) of surfactant-nanoparticle foam in a Berea core increased significantly. Fluorescence microscopy elucidated that nanoparticles are trapped in the plateau border as well as lamellas which retard liquid drainage and bubble coalescence. The core floods with a crude oil revealed that the incremental oil recovery by surfactant-NP blend over water flood was about 10% OOIP with an immiscible foam.

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