A typical assumption for promoting the use of surfactants is that traditional surfactants will work appropriately across a large gamut of fields, but our laboratory tests show that inappropriate application leads to much lower efficiency of the oil recovery and thereby diminished production. Operators must understand how surfactants extract the oil and then select surfactants cautiously in order to maximize recovery and minimize risk.

This paper presents a study on surfactant chemicals and their most relevant parameters. In particular, the key characteristic of surfactant additives in unconventional oil and gas formations was found to be the emulsion tendency. It was found that a weakly emulsifying surfactant was more capable of solubilizing and mobilizing additional oil globules via self association. In stark constrast to a conventional non-emulsifying surfactant, the correct application of a weakly emulsifying surfactant led to better well cleanup and a higher ultimate oil recovery.

You can access this article if you purchase or spend a download.