Surfactant effect on foam: From core flood experiments to implicit-texture foam-model parameters

S. A. Jones, G. Laskaris, S. Vincent-Bonnieu, R. Farajzadeh, W. R. Rossen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Aqueous foams play an important role in many industrial processes, from ore separation by froth flotation to enhanced oil recovery (EOR), where the foam is used as a means of increasing sweep efficiency through oil-bearing rock. The complex, structure-dependent, flow behavior of the foam gives improved penetration of lower-permeability regions. Foam is stabilized by surfactant molecules, and the foam strength is influenced by the surfactant concentration in the water phase. It is therefore of great importance to understand the effect of surfactant concentration on foam processes. Implicit Texture (IT) foam models eg STARS account for the surfactant effect with functions that depend on surfactant concentration in the water and a few other parameters. However, there is no evidence that these functions are able to capture adequately the effect of surfactant concentration effect. We present a comparative study of foam core-flood experiments with various surfactant concentrations. Core-flood tests were conducted in rock cores with a diameter of 1 cm and length of 17cm, significantly smaller than typical cores. Plots of apparent viscosity vs. injected gas fraction were obtained for surfactant concentrations at the critical micellar concentration (CMC) and above. Bulk foam stability and surface tension were measured for all concentrations, in order to define the CMC and to compare with coreflood results. The experimental results have been matched with the STARS IT foam model and the dependency of model parameters on the surfactant concentration is discussed. This work found that the IT model is not able to predict the decrease of the foam strength with decreasing surfactant concentration. Instead, the study shows that the effect of surfactant concentration can be correlated with the dry-out function of the IT model, and specifically to the limiting capillary pressure.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSociety of Petroleum Engineers - SPE Improved Oil Recovery Conference
PublisherSociety of Petroleum Engineers (SPE)
Number of pages15
Volume2016-January
ISBN (Electronic)9781613994399
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016
EventSPE Improved Oil Recovery Conference 2016 - Tulsa, United States
Duration: 11 Apr 201613 Apr 2016

Conference

ConferenceSPE Improved Oil Recovery Conference 2016
CountryUnited States
CityTulsa
Period11/04/1613/04/16

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