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Title: Evaluation of Reservoir Wettability and its Effect on Oil Recovery.

We report on the first year of the project, `Evaluation of Reservoir Wettability and its Effect on Oil Recovery.` The objectives of this five-year project are (1) to achieve improved understanding of the surface and interfacial properties of crude oils and their interactions with mineral surfaces, (2) to apply the results of surface studies to improve predictions of oil production from laboratory measurements, and (3) to use the results of this research to recommend ways to improve oil recovery by waterflooding. During the first year of this project we have focused on understanding the interactions between crude oils and mineral surfaces that establish wetting in porous media. As background, mixed-wetting and our current understanding of the influence of stable and unstable brine films are reviewed. The components that are likely to adsorb and alter wetting are divided into two groups: those containing polar heteroatoms, especially organic acids and bases; and the asphaltenes, large molecules that aggregate in solution and precipitate upon addition of n-pentane and similar agents. Finally, the test procedures used to assess the extent of wetting alteration-tests of adhesion and adsorption on smooth surfaces and spontaneous imbibition into porous media are introduced. In Part 1, we report on more » studies aimed at characterizing both the acid/base and asphaltene components. Standard acid and base number procedures were modified and 22 crude oil samples were tested. Our approach to characterizing the asphaltenes is to focus on their solvent environment. We quantify solvent properties by refractive index measurements and report the onset of asphaltene precipitation at ambient conditions for nine oil samples. Four distinct categories of interaction mechanisms have been identified that can be demonstrated to occur when crude oils contact solid surfaces: polar interactions can occur on dry surfaces, surface precipitation is important if the oil is a poor solvent for its asphaltenes, and acid/base and ion-binding interactions occur in the presence of water. Specific instances when each of these mechanisms is dominant can be identified using crude oils of different acid number, base number, and solvent quality. Part 2 of this project is devoted to improved assessment of wetting. We report on a baseline study of crude oil interactions with mica surfaces that shows wettability alteration characteristics that are comparable to those reported previously for glass surfaces. Mica has advantages over amorphous glass that make it a better choice as a standard surface for wettability testing, especially for tests at high temperatures. « less
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
ON: DE98051628
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Resource Relation:
Other Information: PBD: 15 Jan 1998
Research Org:
New Mexico Petroleum Recovery Research Center, Socorro, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy, Washington, DC (United States)
Country of Publication:
United States