Waterflooding has been used for decades as a secondary oil recovery mode to support oil reservoir pressure and drive oil into producing wells. Recently, extensive experimental work has indicated that optimizing the salinity of the injected water is an enhanced oil recovery technique that improves oil recovery in sandstone and carbonate reservoirs. Ion interactions between formation water, crude oil, injection water, and rock surface are quite complex. The question is how the surface charge of the minerals of sandstone formation affects the waterflooding performance. In this study the zeta potential measurements are conducted for rock/brine interfaces using the Phase Analysis Light Scattering (PALS) technique.

This work demonstrates the results of zeta potential experiments to evaluate the effect of electrical surface charge and double layer expansion for common sandstone minerals. Four sandstone rock types (Buff Berea, Grey Berea, Parker, and Bandera) with different clay contents are studied. In addition, several minerals such as quartz, carbonate (calcite and dolomite), clays (kaolinite, chlorite, and montmorillonite), micas (muscovite, biotite, and illite), feldspars (microcline and anorthoclase), and ilmenite are selected to perform this work. Various brines are tested including seawater, 20% diluted-seawater, 0.5 wt% NaCl, 0.5 wt% MgCl2, and 0.5 wt% CaCl2.

Based on the results of 100 experiments we found that the monovalent cations are more efficient in increasing the absolute values of the zeta potential than the divalent cations at 25°C. Zeta potential becomes more negative while the salinity of the brine decreased. Changing the pH of the solution causes a significant alteration in charge of Buff Berea and Bandera sandstone particles and subsequently, the zeta potential values. The zeta potential of Bandera is more negative than that of Buff Berea at any condition of pH in the range of 5 and 10. It is observed from the results that most of the minerals tends to be more stable for 0.5 wt% NaCl solutions compared to 0.5 wt% CaCl2 and 0.5 wt% MgCl2 solutions. Feldspars surfaces charge are significantly influenced using 0.5 wt% NaCl, followed by micas and clays. The resulting zeta potentials for the dolomite and calcite minerals showed different trend from the other sandstone minerals for low-salinity brine. For dolomite, all the samples show positive zeta potentials at original pH. At low pH, dolomite shows small negative zeta potentials in 0.5 wt% NaCl.

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