Analytical and numerical validation of a model for flooding by saline carbonated water

A. C. Alvarez, T. Blom, W. J. Lambert, J. Bruining*, D. Marchesin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


It has been shown experimentally in the literature that for clayey formations, oil with polar components and an aqueous phase with divalent ions, a secondary waterflood with low salinity water composition improves oil recovery by some 5–20%. Our focus is on a less well known mechanism, i.e. low salinity enhanced solvent (e.g. carbonated water) recovery, as low salinity enhances the aqueous solubility of carbon dioxide. Indeed, after injection the latter is transferred from the aqueous to oleic phase thus decreasing the oil concentration in the oleic phase and diluting the residual oil. To study this mechanism we formulate the conservation equations of total hydrogen, oxygen, chloride and decane. Therefore, we solve analytically and numerically these equations in 1−D in order to elucidate the effects of the injection of low salinity carbonated water into a reservoir containing oil equilibrated with high salinity carbonated water. We use PHREEQC (acronym of pH-REdox-Equilibrium C-program) to obtain the accurate equilibrium partition of neutral species that are soluble both in the oleic and the aqueous phase by application of the Krichevsky-Ilinskaya extension of Henry's law for solubility of gases in liquids. Using Gibbs phase rule it can be shown that the phase behavior only depends on the pH and the chloride concentration. The above mentioned equilibrium relations use Pitzer's activity coefficients to extend the validity up to 6M. We obtain the saturation, composition and the total Darcy velocity profiles. The significant new insight obtained is that by changing only the salinity in carbonated waterflooding the oil recovery can be enhanced.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)900-917
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Petroleum Science and Engineering
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2018


  • Enhance oil recovery
  • Riemann problem
  • Waterflooding


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