Approved FOM programme
|Title||Rock-on-a-Chip: Salt-controlled wettability alteration in oil-water-solid systems for applications in enhanced oil recovery (ROAC)|
|Executive organisational unit||BUW|
Prof.dr. F. Mugele
|Cost estimate||M€ 3,2|
|Partner(s)||NWO-CW, BP, TKI-NCI|
The purpose of the present programme is to obtain a fundamental understanding of salt-mediated wetting alteration in sandstone-based oil reservoirs by performing experiments with well-defined model systems, starting from idealized solid and fluid compositions and gradually evolving towards more complex systems.
Background, relevance and implementation
Oil recovery is a complex process involving physical and chemical phenomena at multiple length scales ranging from molecular dimensions to the macroscopic extensions of an oil field. State-of-the-art water flooding technology using sea water is able to recover only 30-50 percent of the oil that is originally present in the reservoir. A substantial fraction of the residual oil remains trapped in microscopic pores due to the strong adhesion and wettability of crude oil on the reservoir rock. Empirical research, including laboratory tests and field trials, in the past 10-15 years has demonstrated that the efficiency of the oil recovery in sandstone reservoirs can be potentially increased by several percentage points by reducing the salinity of the water that is injected into the reservoir. While the potential economic impact of this Low Salinity Water Flooding (LSWF) technology is large, the fundamental understanding of the underlying microscopic processes is poor. According to wide spread models, wettability alteration caused by salt-mediated adsorption and desorption of polar components from the crude oil onto the (heterogeneous) rock surface plays an important role. However, a detailed understanding of these complex phenomena has been hampered by a) the complexity of the crude oil-rock system and b) by the absence of systematic investigations using complementary microscopic probes of the relevant molecular interactions and their relation to macroscopic wettability. Key feature of our effort is to combine a series of complementary high resolution experimental techniques along with numerical modeling of molecular scale processes. In this manner, we aim at identifying the dominant molecular mechanisms controlling wettability alteration for a variety of typical components of both the aqueous and the oil phase.
A programme committee consisting of the programme leader, and the PI's of the other academic groups, as well as one or two representatives from BP will monitor the progress of the individual projects, advise and adjust the scientific direction if necessary. Meetings of the programme committee will take place at each of the six-monthly progress meetings. Proposals for changes in the programme content and/or budget have to be granted by the steering committee. The chair of the programme committee acts as the programme leader. The final evaluation of this programme will consist of a self evaluation initiated by the programme leader and is foreseen in 2019.