Thickened CO2 nanofluids are a mean to improve volumetric sweep efficiency and gas production in CO2 EOR projects in contrast CO2 flooding. Alternating injection of plain CO2 with thickened CO2 nanofluid is proposed as an economical alternative using the findings of CO2 viscosity enhancement through nanoparticles in current studies. This was achieved by using CMG GEM simulator and contrasting findings with other WAG and CO2 flooding simulations. The simulation was done on a light oil (40 °API) from a Neuquén Basin reservoir. A sensitivity analysis was done to contrast different type of injection schemes.
As CO2 nanofluids can be tailor made in order to adjust their viscosity (and other properties like asphaltene deposition control) diverse results were observed. Nanofluids improve the volumetric sweet efficiency, and even low viscosity increment increase the overall gas utilization and conformance compared to CO2 flooding. Since there is no face change, the use of CO2 based nanofluids can be a mean to control CO2 EOR projects avoiding injectivity loss problems. It was observed that injection of mere nanofluid (without alternating CO2) is not technically nor economically convenient as it decreases production rates and has an overall lower economic performance than both WAG and CO2 flooding. Nevertheless, alternating nanofluid with plain CO2 enables higher sweep efficiency while lowering the operational costs due to lower volumes of nanofluid utilized. Adding nanofluid to a WAG scheme also shows improvements in EOR performance.