The need for optimal recovery of crude oil from sandstone and carbonate reservoirs around the world has never been greater for the petroleum industry. Water-flooding has been applied to the supplement primary depletion process or as a separate secondary recovery method. Low salinity water injection is a relatively new method that involves injecting low salinity brines at high pressure similar to conventional water-flooding techniques, in order to recover crude oil. The effectiveness of low salinity water injection in sandstone reservoirs depends on a number of parameters such as reservoir temperature, pressure, type of clay particle and salinity of injected brine. Clay particles present on reservoir rock surfaces adsorb polar components of oil and modify wettability of sandstone rocks to the oil-wet state, which is accountable for the reduced recovery rates by conventional water-flooding. The extent of wettability alteration caused by three low salinity brines on oil-wet sandstone samples containing varying clay content (15% or 30%) and type of clay (kaolinite/montmorillonite) were analyzed in the laboratory experiment. Contact angles of mica powder and clay mixture (kaolinite/montmorillonite) modified with crude oil were measured before and after injection with three low salinity sodium chloride brines. The effect of temperature was also analyzed for each sample. The results of the experiment indicate that samples with kaolinite clay tend to produce higher contact angles than samples with montmorillonite clay when modified with crude oil. The highest degree or extent of wettability alteration from oil-wet to intermediate-wet state upon injection with low salinity brines was observed for samples injected with brine having salinity concentration of 2000 ppm. The increase in temperature tends to produce contact angles values lying in the higher end of the intermediate-wet range (75°–115°) for samples treated at 50 °C, while their corresponding samples treated at 25 °C produced contact angle values lying in the lower end of intermediate-wet range.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited