Several researchers have demonstrated in laboratory experiments and field applications that reducing the concentration of salts and the content of multivalent cations in the injection water may increase oil recovery. This study evaluates the performance of low salinity water injection (LSWI) in oil recovery using a crude oil and synthetic formation water of a sandstone reservoir in northeast Brazil. Two Botucatu sandstone core samples of 6 in of length and 2 in of diameter were used for the coreflooding experiments. The fluids used included a light crude oil sample, and synthetic formation water (SFW) produced from the four main salts of the original formation water (NaCl, KCl, CaCl2, and MgCl2). In Core 1, two injections were carried out at an average reservoir temperature of 60 °C, one using SFW with 200,000 mg/l as secondary recovery mode, and one using SFW diluted 40 times (40xd_SFW) resulting in a low salinity water of 5,000 mg/l as tertiary recovery mode. In Core 2, 40xd_SFW was injected at the same temperature to compare the high and low salinity water effects in the secondary mode. Moreover, zeta (ζ) potential measurements on Botucatu sandstone powder were performed in 6 dilutions of the SFW and deionized water. The experimental results demonstrated an increase in oil recovery and pH when 40xd_SFW was injected in secondary and tertiary modes. The effluent ionic concentration from Core 1 showed the reduction of Ca2+ during HSWI, indicating its adsorption on the rock surface. Most remarkably, Ca2+ concentration increases and the Na+ concentration decreases in the effluent samples in the first LSWI pore volume injected, which suggested ionic exchange of calcium for sodium on the rock surface. Furthermore, Fe2+/Fe3+ and traces of Al3+ were observed in the effluent demonstrating the occurrence of fine migration in SFW and 40xd_SFW. The magnitude of negative ζ potential on Botucatu sandstone increases as the salinity of the brine solutions decreases. Based on that experimental study, it is noticed that a set of LSWI mechanisms occurr simultaneously in Botucatu sandstone, and oil and brine samples from Recôncavo Basin, indicating a potential of application for LSWI in similar Brazilian oil reservoirs.

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