Comprehensive investigation of low salinity waterflooding in carbonate reservoirs

Author's Department

Petroleum & Energy Engineering Department

Find in your Library

All Authors

M. Fouad Snosy, Mahmoud Abu El Ela, Ahmed El-Banbi, Helmy Sayyouh

Document Type

Research Article

Publication Title

Journal of Petroleum Exploration and Production Technology

Publication Date





Waterflooding has been practiced as a secondary recovery mechanism for many years with no regard to the composition of the injected brine. However, in the last decade, there has been an interest to understand the impact of the injected water composition and the low salinity waterflooding (LSWF) in oil recovery. LSWF has been investigated through various laboratory tests as a promising method for improving oil recovery in carbonate reservoirs. These experiments showed diverse mechanisms and results. In this study, a comprehensive review and analysis for results of more than 300 carbonate core flood experiments from published work were performed to investigate the effects of several parameters (injected water, oil, and rock properties along with the temperature) on oil recovery from carbonate rock. The analysis of the results showed that the water composition is the key parameter for successful waterflooding (WF) projects in the carbonate rocks. However, the salinity value of the injected water seems to have a negligible effect on oil recovery in both secondary and tertiary recovery stages. The study indicated that waterflooding with optimum water composition can improve oil recovery up to 30% of the original oil in place. In addition, the investigation showed that changing water salinity from LSWF to high salinity waterflooding can lead to an incremental oil recovery of up to 18% in the tertiary recovery stage. It was evident that applying the optimum composition in the secondary recovery stage is more effective than applying it in the tertiary recovery stage. Furthermore, the key parameters of the injected water and rock properties in secondary and tertiary recovery stages were studied using Fractional Factorial Design. The results revealed that the concentrations of Mg2+, Na+, K+, and Cl− in the injected water are the greatest influence parameters in the secondary recovery stage. However, the most dominant parameters in the tertiary recovery stage are the rock minerals and the concentration of K+, HCO3−, and SO42− in the injected water. In addition, it appears that the anhydrite percentage in the carbonate reservoirs may be an effective parameter in the tertiary WF. Also, there are no clear relations between the incremental oil recovery and the oil properties (total acid number or total base number) in both secondary and tertiary recovery stages. In addition, the results of the analysis showed an incremental oil recovery in all ranges of the studied flooding temperatures. The findings of this study can help to establish guidelines for screening and designing optimum salinity and composition for WF projects in carbonate reservoirs.

First Page


Last Page


This document is currently not available here.