A laboratory study of principal immiscible gas flooding schemes is reported. Very well-controlled experiments on continuous gas injection, water-alternating-gas (WAG) and alkaline–surfactant–foam (ASF) flooding were conducted. The merits of WAG and ASF compared to continuous gas injection were examined. The impact of ultra-low oil–water (o/w) interfacial tension (IFT), an essential feature of the ASF scheme along with foaming, on oil mobilisation and displacement of residual oil to waterflood was also assessed. Incremental oil recoveries and related displacement mechanisms by ASF and WAG compared to continuous gas injection were investigated by conducting CT-scanned core-flood experiments using n-hexadecane and Bentheimer sandstone cores. Ultimate oil recoveries for WAG and ASF at under-optimum salinity (o/w IFT of 10−1 mN/m) were found to be similar [60 ± 5% of the oil initially in place (OIIP)]. However, ultimate oil recovery for ASF at (near-)optimum salinity (o/w IFT of 10−2 mN/m) reached 74 ± 8% of the OIIP. Results support the idea that WAG increases oil recovery over continuous gas injection by drastically increasing the trapped gas saturation at the end of the first few WAG cycles. ASF flooding was able to enhance oil recovery over WAG by effectively lowering o/w IFT (< 10−1 mN/m) for oil mobilisation. ASF at (near-)optimum salinity increased clean oil fraction in the production stream over under-optimum salinity ASF.
- Enhanced oil recovery
- Immiscible gas injection