Surfactant Screening for Foam EOR: Correlation between Bulk and Core-Flood Experiments

Sian Jones, V van der Bent, Rouhi Farajzadeh, Bill Rossen, Sebastien Vincent-Bonnieu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

107 Citations (Scopus)
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tAqueous foams play an important role in many industrial processes, from ore separation by froth flotationto enhanced oil recovery (EOR). In the latter case, the foam is used as a means of increasing the sweepefficiency through the oil bearing rock – the complex, structure dependent, flow behavior of the foammeans that it has improved penetration of lower permeability regions than would be obtained with aNewtonian fluid. An understanding of how foam behaves when flowing through a rock is therefore of greatimportance when selecting suitable surfactants for EOR processes. Previous tests have suggested thatthere is no reliable correlation between bulk foam behavior and foam behavior in a rock core, especially inthe presence of oil. We present a comparative study of bulk stability tests and core floods with foam, bothwith and without oil. Core-flood tests were conducted in rock cores with a diameter of 1 cm, significantlysmaller than typical cores. Apparent viscosity/injected gas fraction response curves were obtained, bothwith and without oil in the system.The current work finds that, in the absence of oil, there is a positive correlation between bulk foamstability and core-flood performance. Bulk foam experiments can therefore be a useful screening tool togive a good indication of the surfactant performance in the core flood. However, in the presence of oil,although there was a general trend of increasing maximum apparent viscosity with increasing bulk foamstability, no strong correlation was found between bulk foam stability and the performance in the corefor the experiments performed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)166–176
Number of pages11
JournalColloids and Surfaces A: Physicochemical and Engineering Aspects
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Foam EOR
  • Core floods
  • surfactant screening
  • Foam stability


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