E3S Web Conf.
Volume 89, 2019The 2018 International Symposium of the Society of Core Analysts (SCA 2018)
|Number of page(s)||8|
|Published online||29 March 2019|
Toward a mechanistic understanding of wettability alteration in reservoir rocks using silica nanoparticles
Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John’s, Canada
* corresponding author: firstname.lastname@example.org
Traditional concepts of simple liquid spreading may not apply to nanoparticle-fluids. Most investigations pertaining to the wettability alteration of solid surfaces due to the presence of nanoparticles in the fluid are oversimplified, i.e. nanoparticles dispersed in DI-water and smooth, homogeneous, and clean surfaces have been used. From a practical enhanced oil recovery (EOR) point of view, the nanoparticles must be dispersed in either seawater or high salinity formation water containing diverse types and concentrations of ions. These ions interact with the electrostatic properties of the nanoparticles. Likewise, the oil phase may contain many surface active components like asphaltene and naphthenic acids which can interact with nanoparticles at oil-water and oil-rock interface. In reality, the rock sample is a heterogeneous, non-smooth, mixed-wet substrate with a diverse mineralogical composition. The electrical charge of minerals can vary when contacted with an ionic fluid. This can alter the electrostatic repulsion between substrate and nanoparticles and consequently the substrate can either attract or repel charged particles, including nanoparticles. Hence, the role of nanoparticles must be evaluated considering multicomponent complex fluids and real formation rock. Despite numerous reports regarding the wettability alteration of reservoir rock from oil-wet to water-wet by nanoparticles, some inherent limitations in the wettability alteration experiments prevent conclusions about the performance of nanoparticles in practical complex conditions. For instance, the wettability alteration by nanoparticles is often determined by contact angle measurements. In this method, the substrates are either aged with (immersed in) nanoparticle-fluids before conducting the experiments or contacted with nanoparticle-fluids before attachment of the oil droplet on the rock surface. Hence, in both cases, before initiating the contact angle measurements, the nanoparticles would already exist at the oil-rock interface possibly giving inaccurate measurements. The objective of this work is to investigate the mechanism of wettability alteration by silica nanoparticles pre-existing on the rock interface (conventional contact angle measurements) and using a new displacement contact angle method to better mimic the scenario of injecting a nanoparticle fluid into the reservoir already containing formation brine. The impact of pre-existing nanoparticles at the oil-rock interface (in the conventional contact angle measurements) on the contact angle measurements are examined for simple (n-decane, NaCl brine, and pure substrates) and complex (crude oil, seawater, and reservoir rock) systems on various wetting conditions of substrates (water-wet and oil-wet). The nanoparticles are dispersed in seawater using our H+ protected method . Then, the effect of surface and nanoparticle charge on the contact angle is evaluated by adjusting the aqueous phase salinity. We also differentiate between the disjoining pressure mechanism and diffusion of silica nanoparticles through the oil phase by testing the attachment of nanoparticles on the rock surface.
© The Authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2019
This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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