By increasing worldwide energy demand and reducing reserves, enhanced oil recovery (EOR) from current fields has become more and more important. Moving from polymer to surfactant flooding, Chemical EOR has been considered an expensive method, and field applications have been decreased during the past two decades. Currently with the advent of nanotechnology, nanomaterials has been created and proposed to be used for EOR. Different nano materials with different sizes have been proposed. Among the various nano-material used for EOR applications, nano-silica with different sizes has been suggested.

In this paper, a ball milling attritor has been used to produce nano silica from white sand. By operating the attritor for a different time, different sized formed. Four different sizes have been created after 5, 10, 15, and 25 hours milling. The size and shape of the powder particles were examined using x-ray diffraction (XRD) and field emission-scanning electron microscope (FE-SEM) while their microanalysis was performed by energy dispersive system (EDS). The prepared nano particles were found 140, 122, 100, and 87 nm after 5, 10, 15, and 25 hours of milling respectively.

Several flooding scenarios have been tried to identify potential applications that will benefit upstream sector and oil recovery. A base run with water flooding (WF) was performed. The ultimate recovery factor by WF was found 67%. The ultimate recovery factors have been measured for these four nano materials and they are ranging from 65% to 77 %. To combine chemical EOR and nano materials, a mixture of nano material (87-nm) and polymer (xanthan gum) has been used as well, and its recovery factor is found 80%. The mechanisms of this development in the recovery has been explained.

This paper summarizes new findings from several different experimental runs which shows the effectiveness of the nano silica particles for improving oil recovery over the traditional methods. Ultimately, the knowledge gained from this work can be used to improve and narrow the range of nano-size applications for improving the recovery factors and proposed a roadmap for ongoing and future research.

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