Role of the injected water salinity and ion concentrations on the oil recovery in carbonate reservoirs

Third Author's Department

Petroleum & Energy Engineering Department

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Research Article

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Petroleum Research

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Low salinity water flooding (LSWF) was initially considered using water with a low concentration of dissolved salts and was later extended to include modifying the ionic content of injected brines. This work investigates the effects of changing water salinity and composition along with the concentration of sulfate and iodide ions on oil recovery in carbonate reservoirs during the tertiary recovery stage. An experimental study was carried out using crude oil of 29°API, 8 core samples extracted from the Eocene carbonate reservoir (Egypt), and 6 different water salinities. The results showed additional oil recovery up to 5% of the original oil in place (OOIP) in the tertiary recovery stage with changing water salinity and water composition. Injection of high salinity (HS) and low salinity (LS) brines with high sulfate concentrations increased the incremental oil recovery by a value ranging from 1.7 to 3.8% of the OOIP. On the contrary, injection of HS and LS brines with low sulfate concentrations showed insignificant incremental oil recovery (less than 1% of the OOIP). Furthermore, injection of water with potassium iodide (KI) after injection of water with high sulfate brines showed additional oil recovery of about 1.7% of the OOIP. On the other hand, injection of water with KI after injection of water with low sulfate concentration showed insignificant incremental oil recovery (less than 0.4% of the OOIP). The concentration of sulfate in the injected water appeared to be key parameter to achieve effective waterflooding (WF) projects in carbonate reservoirs. Moreover, the results revealed that the multi-component ion exchange (MIE) mechanism seems to be the primary recovery mechanism for LSWF in carbonate reservoirs. The results and conclusions of this study can be used to develop guidelines for designing waterflooding projects in carbonate reservoirs with optimum salinity.

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