Abstract

This experimental investigation studied the use of additives to enhance foam properties and improve the in-situ generation of foams for improving gas flooding sweep efficiency. Some of the parameters affecting foam performance were polymer concentration, different surfactants and their concentration, aqueous phase salinity and pH, and effect of flow rate (or shear rate).

Performance of polymer enhanced foams (PEF) was much better when compared to conventional foams. Polyacrylamide polymers were used as an additive. Higher foam resistance and longer foam persistence were achieved by using relatively low concentrations of polymers. The studies also showed that the foam performance was significantly improved over a broad range of polymer concentrations.

A number of other investigators have shown that foams are severely affected in the presence of oil. This is especially true of lighter or less viscous oils, and the destabilizing effect is magnified with a higher salinity aqueous phase. PEF with a low salinity aqueous phase showed improvement in foam stability. The effective viscosities of PEF were higher than those of conventional foams with a high salinity aqueous phase and the presence of lighter oils. Further, PEF reduced the negative impact of oils on foam mobility. Of the surfactants studied, alpha olefin sulfonates were tolerant to high salinity brines as well as being compatible with polymer additives. Other surfactants, including amine oxide surfactants, were also studied and showed unusually high foam resistance and stability.

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