Abstract

The heavy oil belt of North Cambay Basin comprising of Santhal, Lanwa and Balol oil fields poses great problems in floatation of these heavy oils due to high viscosity (10,000–16,000 cps) of the emulsion. Oil-in-water emulsions provide a cost effective alternative to the heated pipelines or diluents for their transportation. Emulsions in different phase ratios and application doses of 2000–5000 ppm of non-ionic surfactants have been found to be effective in phase reversal of emulsions with drastic reduction in viscosities which are in 100–400 cps range at pipeline operating conditions. Non-ionic surfactants have the advantage of relative insensitivity to the salt content of the aqeous phase. The non-ionic family of surfactants has been used successfully for the formation of stable emulsions that resist inversion to a wide operating temperature range. Resulting reverse emulsions are heat sensitive and resolve themselves at elevated temperatures without addition of dehydration chemicals. Suggested surfactant treatment has the potential to successfully transport heavy/viscous emulsions of Lanwa oilfield resulting in tremendous savings in transportation costs.

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