The Effect of Surface and Interfacial Tensions on the Recovery of Oil by Water Flooding
- Harvey T. Kennedy (A&M College of Texas) | Erasmo T. Guerrero (A&M College of Texas)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- May 1954
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 41 - 48
- 1954. Original copyright American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers, Inc. Copyright has expired.
- 1.6.9 Coring, Fishing, 5.4.1 Waterflooding, 5.1 Reservoir Characterisation, 4.3.4 Scale, 2.4.3 Sand/Solids Control
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In this investigation, the effects of the surface tension of brine and the interfacial. tension between oil and brine on the recovery of oil by water flooding of Woodbine sand were studied. Variation of the surface forces was. obtained by the addition of small amounts of commercially available chemicals, which did not appreciably change the surface tension of the oil.
Fourteen surface-active agents, which were found to be effective in lowering the surface and interfacial tensions, were further investigated to determine the extent of their adsorption by the Woodbine Sand cores. It was found that adsorption was sufficient in all cases to prevent any substantial concentration of chemical at the flood front. The flow system was, therefore, brought to equilibrium with definite concentrations in the flood water by circulation before each test. The data thus have no relation to the results obtainable by using the chemicals in full-scale water floods, but should be helpful in predicting the performance of surface-active chemicals which are not lost by adsorption, if such can be found.
Flow tests were made on various concentrations of six chemicals selected from the 14 investigated for surface activity and adsorption, with and without the presence of gas in the core. It was found that lowering the interfacial tension had a tendency toward reducing the recovery of oil and that the reduction of the surface tension of the brine had little or no effect. A substantial beneficial effect, however, resulted from the presence of gas in the cores.
The movement and distribution of crude oil in a porous medium are governed by such factors as surface and interfacial tensions, viscosity of the oil, pore size configuration, and wetting characteristics of the medium. The knowledge of the part played by each of these factors is limited.
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