The ability of a water-soluble (oil-insoluble), detergent alkylate sulfonate to recover tertiary oil from flooded-out Berea sands is traced to the presence, in it, of minor but as yet chemically unidentified components. The immiscible displacement process with dilute aqueous solutions of the sulfonate is found to be independent of conventional mobility control, and to depend only on the amount of sulfonate (not concentration) in the displacing phase.

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