Coupling microfluidics data with core flooding experiments to understand sulfonated/polymer water injection
The injection of sulfonated-modified water could be an attractive application as it results in the formation of a mechanically rigid oil-water interface, and hence, possible higher oil recovery in combination with polymer. Therefore, detailed experimental investigation and fluid-flow analysis into porous media are required to understand the possible recovery mechanisms taking place. This paper evaluates the potential influence of low-salt/sulfate-modified water injection in oil recovery using a cross-analyzed approach of coupled microfluidics data and core flooding experiments. Fluid characterization was achieved by detailed rheological characterization focusing on steady shear and in-situ viscosity. Moreover, single and two-phase micromodels and core floods experiments helped to define the behavior of different fluids. Overall, coupling microfluidics, with core flooding experiments, confirmed that fluid-fluid interfacial interaction and wettability alteration are both the key recovery mechanisms for modified-water/low-salt. Finally, a combination of sulfate-modified/low-salinity water, with polymer flood can lead to ~6% extra oil, compared to the combination of polymer flood with synthetic seawater (SSW). The results present an excellent way to make use of micromodels and core experiments as a supporting tool for EOR processes evaluations, assessing fluid-fluid and rock-fluid interactions.