Special Issue "Colloids and Interfaces in Oil Recovery"

A special issue of Colloids and Interfaces (ISSN 2504-5377).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 May 2018)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Spencer Taylor

Centre for Petroleum and Surface Chemistry, Department of Chemistry, University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey GU2 7XH, UK
Website | E-Mail
Interests: asphaltenes; coalescence and demulsification; crude oils and bitumens—composition and surface properties; emulsions and microemulsions; enhanced oil recovery; industrial colloidal and interfacial systems; surface and interfacial chemistry of petroleum fuels; surfactants; wettability

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The advent of alternative energy technologies continues to reduce the world’s requirement for fossil fuels, especially crude oil, which furnishes most liquid hydrocarbon fuels. Realistically, however, it is likely to be many decades before the last drop of crude oil is produced.

In the meantime, the oil industry continues to work towards improved efficiency, in terms of recovery and refining, which will reduce the impact of this energy source on the global environment.

It has long been recognized that the joint roles of colloidal and interfacial science are significant in oil recovery. For example, ever since the design of surfactants for tertiary (enhanced) oil recovery (EOR) in the 1960 and 1970s, the inter-relationship between ultralow interfacial tension and microemulsion formation have been intimately linked.

However, it has always been the case that economic factors have dictated the direction taken by the oil industry, and a relatively low oil price restricted the use of surfactant-based EOR processes in the 1980s. Subsequently, decreasing recoverable conventional oil resources, combined with an increasing oil price, led to the exploitation of heavy oil and bitumen using mining or energy-intensive steam-based technologies assuming more importance.

In parallel with the increase in heavy oil production, efforts continued to improve the efficiency of conventional oil production. In particular, the past two decades have seen interesting approaches being developed which are directed at improving the incremental recovery of conventional oil, utilizing colloid and interface science principles. For example, reservoir wettability can be altered during waterflooding through the application of nanoparticles or by changing the ionic composition of the water.

These and other topics will be covered in this Special Issue.

  • Interfacial processes in oil recovery
  • Nanotechnology in oil recovery
  • Surfactant-based oil recovery
  • Enhanced oil recovery (EOR)
  • Waterflooding and salinity effects
  • Application of colloids and interfaces in conventional and heavy oil recovery
  • Emulsions in oil  recovery
  • Separation methods during oil recovery
  • Crude oil/brine/rock systems

Prof. Dr. Spencer Taylor
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) is waived for well-prepared manuscripts submitted to this issue. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Metal Ion Interactions with Crude Oil Components: Specificity of Ca2+ Binding to Naphthenic Acid at an Oil/Water Interface
Colloids Interfaces 2018, 2(3), 40; https://doi.org/10.3390/colloids2030040
Received: 17 August 2018 / Revised: 13 September 2018 / Accepted: 14 September 2018 / Published: 18 September 2018
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Abstract
On the basis of dynamic interfacial tension measurements, Ca2+ has been shown specifically to interact with naphthenic acid (NA) at the n-heptane/water interface, consistent with NA adsorption followed by interfacial complexation and formation of a more ordered interfacial film. Optimum concentrations of
[...] Read more.
On the basis of dynamic interfacial tension measurements, Ca2+ has been shown specifically to interact with naphthenic acid (NA) at the n-heptane/water interface, consistent with NA adsorption followed by interfacial complexation and formation of a more ordered interfacial film. Optimum concentrations of Ca2+ and NA have been found to yield lower, time-dependent interfacial tensions, not evident for Mg2+ and Sr2+ or for several alkali metal ions studied. The results reflect the specific hydration and coordination chemistry of Ca2+ seen in biology. Owing to the ubiquitous presence of Ca2+ in oilfield waters, this finding has potential relevance to the surface chemistry underlying crude oil recovery. For example, “locking” acidic components at water/oil interfaces may be important for crude oil emulsion stability, or in bonding bulk oil to mineral surfaces through an aqueous phase, potentially relevant for carbonate reservoirs. The relevance of the present results to low salinity waterflooding as an enhanced crude oil recovery technique is also discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Colloids and Interfaces in Oil Recovery)
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Graphical abstract

Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Static and Dynamic Performance of Wet Foam and Polymer-Enhanced Foam in the Presence of Heavy Oil
Colloids Interfaces 2018, 2(3), 38; https://doi.org/10.3390/colloids2030038
Received: 20 July 2018 / Revised: 20 August 2018 / Accepted: 28 August 2018 / Published: 8 September 2018
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Abstract
Inadequate sweep efficiency is one of the main concerns in conventional heavy oil recovery processes. Alternative processes are therefore needed to increase heavy oil sweep efficiency. Foam injection has gained interest in conventional oil recovery in recent times as it can control the
[...] Read more.
Inadequate sweep efficiency is one of the main concerns in conventional heavy oil recovery processes. Alternative processes are therefore needed to increase heavy oil sweep efficiency. Foam injection has gained interest in conventional oil recovery in recent times as it can control the mobility ratio and improve the sweep efficiency over chemical or gas flooding. However, most of the studies have focused on light crude oil. This study aims to investigate the static and dynamic performances of foam and polymer-enhanced foam (PEF) in the presence of heavy oil. Static and dynamic experiments were conducted to investigate the potential of foam and PEF for heavy oil recovery. Static analysis included foam/PEF stability, decay profile, and image analysis. A linear visual sand pack was used to visualize the performance of CO2 foam and CO2 PEF in porous media (dynamic experiments). Nonionic, anionic, and cationic surfactants were used as the foaming agents. Static stability results showed that the anionic surfactant generated relatively more stable foam, even in the presence of heavy oil. Slower liquid drainage and collapse rates for PEF compared to that of foam were the key observations through foam static analyses. Besides improving heavy oil recovery, the addition of polymer accelerated foam generation and propagation in porous media saturated with heavy oil. Visual analysis demonstrated more stable frontal displacement and higher sweep efficiency of PEF compared to conventional foam flooding. Unlike foam injection, lesser channeling (foam collapse) was observed during PEF injection. The results of this study will open a new insight on the potential of foam, especially polymer-enhanced foam, for oil recovery of those reservoirs with viscous oil. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Colloids and Interfaces in Oil Recovery)
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Open AccessArticle Polymer Flow in Porous Media: Relevance to Enhanced Oil Recovery
Colloids Interfaces 2018, 2(3), 27; https://doi.org/10.3390/colloids2030027
Received: 1 June 2018 / Revised: 26 June 2018 / Accepted: 3 July 2018 / Published: 10 July 2018
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Abstract
Polymer flooding is one of the most successful chemical EOR (enhanced oil recovery) methods, and is primarily implemented to accelerate oil production by sweep improvement. However, additional benefits have extended the utility of polymer flooding. During the last decade, it has been evaluated
[...] Read more.
Polymer flooding is one of the most successful chemical EOR (enhanced oil recovery) methods, and is primarily implemented to accelerate oil production by sweep improvement. However, additional benefits have extended the utility of polymer flooding. During the last decade, it has been evaluated for use in an increasing number of fields, both offshore and onshore. This is a consequence of (1) improved polymer properties, which extend their use to HTHS (high temperature high salinity) conditions and (2) increased understanding of flow mechanisms such as those for heavy oilmobilization. A key requirement for studying polymer performance is the control and prediction of in-situ porous medium rheology. The first part of this paper reviews recent developments in polymer flow in porous medium, with a focus on polymer in-situ rheology and injectivity. The second part of this paper reports polymer flow experiments conducted using the most widely applied polymer for EOR processes, HPAM (partially hydrolyzed polyacrylamide). The experiments addressed highrate, near-wellbore behavior (radial flow), reservoir rate steady-state flow (linear flow) and the differences observed in terms of flow conditions. In addition, the impact of oil on polymer rheology was investigated and compared to single-phase polymer flow in Bentheimer sandstone rock material. Results show that the presence of oil leads to a reduction in apparent viscosity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Colloids and Interfaces in Oil Recovery)
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Open AccessArticle Waterflooding of Surfactant and Polymer Solutions in a Porous Media Micromodel
Colloids Interfaces 2018, 2(2), 23; https://doi.org/10.3390/colloids2020023
Received: 1 May 2018 / Revised: 3 June 2018 / Accepted: 11 June 2018 / Published: 12 June 2018
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Abstract
In this study, we examine microscale waterflooding in a randomly close-packed porous medium. Three different porosities were prepared in a microfluidic platform and saturated with silicone oil. Optical video fluorescence microscopy was used to track the water front as it flowed through the
[...] Read more.
In this study, we examine microscale waterflooding in a randomly close-packed porous medium. Three different porosities were prepared in a microfluidic platform and saturated with silicone oil. Optical video fluorescence microscopy was used to track the water front as it flowed through the porous packed bed. The degree of water saturation was compared to water containing two different types of chemical modifiers, sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) and polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP), with water in the absence of a surfactant used as a control. Image analysis of our video data yielded saturation curves and calculated fractal dimension, which we used to identify how morphology changed the way in which an invading water phase moved through the porous media. An inverse analysis based on the implicit pressure explicit saturation (IMPES) simulation technique used mobility ratio as an adjustable parameter to fit our experimental saturation curves. The results from our inverse analysis combined with our image analysis show that this platform can be used to evaluate the effectiveness of surfactants or polymers as additives for enhancing the transport of water through an oil-saturated porous medium. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Colloids and Interfaces in Oil Recovery)
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Open AccessArticle Effects of Short-Chain n-Alcohols on the Properties of Asphaltenes at Toluene/Air and Toluene/Water Interfaces
Colloids Interfaces 2018, 2(2), 13; https://doi.org/10.3390/colloids2020013
Received: 5 March 2018 / Revised: 19 March 2018 / Accepted: 21 March 2018 / Published: 23 March 2018
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Abstract
Crude oil asphaltenes contain a wide series of chemical species, which includes the most polar compounds and interfacially active agents from the petroleum. Asphaltenes have been considered to be implicated in foam and emulsion formation during the petroleum recovery and production process. In
[...] Read more.
Crude oil asphaltenes contain a wide series of chemical species, which includes the most polar compounds and interfacially active agents from the petroleum. Asphaltenes have been considered to be implicated in foam and emulsion formation during the petroleum recovery and production process. In this work, the interfacial activity of organic solutions containing asphaltene and n-alcohols was investigated. Asphaltene extraction from a 28°API crude oil produced 2.5 wt % of n-pentane precipitated asphaltene (C5I). Dynamic surface and interfacial tensions of asphaltene solutions were assessed by the pendant drop method. Asphaltene films were evaluated at the air-water interface using a Langmuir trough. Results were expressed by means of the interfacial tension time-dependence. Interfacial tension measurements showed alcohols reduce the toluene/water interfacial tension of asphaltene solutions. The interfacial tension was reduced from 23 mN/m to 15.5 mN/m for a 2 g/L solution of asphaltene plus n-butanol. Higher asphaltene concentrations did not affect the toluene/air surface tension. The effects of n-alcohols on the asphaltene surface activity was dependent on the asphaltene aggregation state. n-Alcohols modify the asphaltene film elasticity and the film phase behavior. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Colloids and Interfaces in Oil Recovery)
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Open AccessArticle Evaluation of Cyclodextrins as Environmentally Friendly Wettability Modifiers for Enhanced Oil Recovery
Colloids Interfaces 2018, 2(1), 10; https://doi.org/10.3390/colloids2010010
Received: 4 February 2018 / Revised: 26 February 2018 / Accepted: 1 March 2018 / Published: 6 March 2018
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Abstract
In the present work, the use of Cyclodextrins (CDs) as wettability modifiers for enhanced oil recovery (EOR) was evaluated. Cyclodextrins (CDs) are cyclic oligosaccharides that form inclusion complexes with various organic molecules, including n-alkanes. Wettability was evaluated through the contact angle (θ)
[...] Read more.
In the present work, the use of Cyclodextrins (CDs) as wettability modifiers for enhanced oil recovery (EOR) was evaluated. Cyclodextrins (CDs) are cyclic oligosaccharides that form inclusion complexes with various organic molecules, including n-alkanes. Wettability was evaluated through the contact angle (θ) of an n-dodecane drop in contact with a quartz surface and immersed in a 0.6 M NaCl aqueous solution containing the CDs. The quartz surface was functionalized with octadecyltrichlorosilane (OTS), rendering the surface oil-wet (C18-quartz). Here, the n-dodecane, the saline solution and the C18-quartz represent the oil, the reservoir brine and an oil-wet rock surface, respectively. In the absence of CDs, the n-dodecane drops spread well over the C18-quartz, showing that the surface was oleophilic. In the presence of CDs, remarkable effects on the wettability were observed. The most dramatic effects were observed with α-cyclodextrin (α-CD), in which case the C18-quartz surface changed from oil-wet (θ = 162°) in the absence of CD to water-wet (θ = 33°) in the presence of 1.5% (w/v) α-CD. The effects of the CDs can be explained by the formation of surface-active inclusion complexes between the CDs and n-dodecane molecules. The CD inclusion complexes can be regarded as pseudo-surfactants, which are less harmful to the environment than the traditional surfactants employed by the petroleum industry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Colloids and Interfaces in Oil Recovery)
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Open AccessArticle Microbial-Enhanced Heavy Oil Recovery under Laboratory Conditions by Bacillus firmus BG4 and Bacillus halodurans BG5 Isolated from Heavy Oil Fields
Colloids Interfaces 2018, 2(1), 1; https://doi.org/10.3390/colloids2010001
Received: 15 November 2017 / Revised: 27 December 2017 / Accepted: 4 January 2018 / Published: 7 January 2018
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Abstract
Microbial Enhanced Oil Recovery (MEOR) is one of the tertiary recovery methods. The high viscosity and low flow characteristics of heavy oil makes it difficult for the extraction from oil reservoirs. Many spore-forming bacteria were isolated from Oman oil fields, which can biotransform
[...] Read more.
Microbial Enhanced Oil Recovery (MEOR) is one of the tertiary recovery methods. The high viscosity and low flow characteristics of heavy oil makes it difficult for the extraction from oil reservoirs. Many spore-forming bacteria were isolated from Oman oil fields, which can biotransform heavy crude oil by changing its viscosity by converting heavier components into lighter ones. Two of the isolates, Bacillus firmus BG4 and Bacillus halodurans BG5, which showed maximum growth in higher concentrations of heavy crude oil were selected for the study. Gas chromatography analysis of the heavy crude oil treated with the isolates for nine days showed 81.4% biotransformation for B. firmus and 81.9% for B. halodurans. In both cases, it was found that the aromatic components in the heavy crude oil were utilized by the isolates, converting them to aliphatic species. Core flooding experiments conducted at 50 °C, mimicking reservoir conditions to prove the efficiency of the isolates in MEOR, resulted in 10.4% and 7.7% for B. firmus and B. halodurans, respectively, after the nine-day shut-in period. These investigations demonstrated the potential of B. firmus BG4 and B. halodurans BG5 as an environmentally attractive approach for heavy oil recovery. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Colloids and Interfaces in Oil Recovery)
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Review

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Open AccessReview Interfacial and Colloidal Forces Governing Oil Droplet Displacement: Implications for Enhanced Oil Recovery
Colloids Interfaces 2018, 2(3), 30; https://doi.org/10.3390/colloids2030030
Received: 29 May 2018 / Revised: 14 July 2018 / Accepted: 16 July 2018 / Published: 18 July 2018
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Abstract
Growing oil demand and the gradual depletion of conventional oil reserves by primary extraction has highlighted the need for enhanced oil recovery techniques to increase the potential of existing reservoirs and facilitate the recovery of more complex unconventional oils. This paper describes the
[...] Read more.
Growing oil demand and the gradual depletion of conventional oil reserves by primary extraction has highlighted the need for enhanced oil recovery techniques to increase the potential of existing reservoirs and facilitate the recovery of more complex unconventional oils. This paper describes the interfacial and colloidal forces governing oil film displacement from solid surfaces. Direct contact of oil with the reservoir rock transforms the solid surface from a water-wet to neutrally-wet and oil-wet as a result of the deposition of polar components of the crude oil, with lower oil recovery from oil-wet reservoirs. To enhance oil recovery, chemicals can be added to the injection water to modify the oil-water interfacial tension and solid-oil-water three-phase contact angle. In the presence of certain surfactants and nanoparticles, a ruptured oil film will dewet to a new equilibrium contact angle, reducing the work of adhesion to detach an oil droplet from the solid surface. Dynamics of contact-line displacement are considered and the effect of surface active agents on enhancing oil displacement discussed. The paper is intended to provide an overview of the interfacial and colloidal forces controlling the process of oil film displacement and droplet detachment for enhanced oil recovery. A comprehensive summary of chemicals tested is provided. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Colloids and Interfaces in Oil Recovery)
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Open AccessReview Low Salinity Waterflooding in Carbonate Reservoirs: Review of Interfacial Mechanisms
Colloids Interfaces 2018, 2(2), 20; https://doi.org/10.3390/colloids2020020
Received: 15 March 2018 / Revised: 6 May 2018 / Accepted: 8 May 2018 / Published: 18 May 2018
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Abstract
Carbonate rock reservoirs comprise approximately 60% of the world’s oil and gas reserves. Complex flow mechanisms and strong adsorption of crude oil on carbonate formation surfaces can reduce hydrocarbon recovery of an oil-wet carbonate reservoir to as low as 10%. Low salinity waterflooding
[...] Read more.
Carbonate rock reservoirs comprise approximately 60% of the world’s oil and gas reserves. Complex flow mechanisms and strong adsorption of crude oil on carbonate formation surfaces can reduce hydrocarbon recovery of an oil-wet carbonate reservoir to as low as 10%. Low salinity waterflooding (LSW) has been confirmed as a promising technique to improve the oil recovery factor. However, the principal mechanism underpinning this recovery method is not fully understood, which poses a challenge toward designing the optimal salinity and ionic composition of any injection solution. In general, it is believed that there is more than one mechanism involved in LSW of carbonates; even though wettability alteration toward a more desirable state for oil to be recovered could be the main cause during LSW, how this alteration happens is still the subject of debate. This paper reviews different working conditions of LSW, previous studies, and field observations, alongside the proposed interfacial mechanisms which affect the colloidal interactions at oil–rock–brine interfaces. This paper provides a comprehensive review of studies on LSW in carbonate formation and further analyzes the latest achievements of LSW application in carbonates, which helps to better understand the challenges involved in these complicated multicomponent systems and potentially benefits the oil production industry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Colloids and Interfaces in Oil Recovery)
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Open AccessReview Interfacial Chemistry in Steam-Based Thermal Recovery of Oil Sands Bitumen with Emphasis on Steam-Assisted Gravity Drainage and the Role of Chemical Additives
Colloids Interfaces 2018, 2(2), 16; https://doi.org/10.3390/colloids2020016
Received: 17 February 2018 / Revised: 21 March 2018 / Accepted: 26 March 2018 / Published: 29 March 2018
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Abstract
In this article, the importance of colloids and interfaces in thermal heavy oil or bitumen extraction methods is reviewed, with particular relevance to oil sands. It begins with a brief introduction to the chemical composition and surface chemistry of oil sands, as well
[...] Read more.
In this article, the importance of colloids and interfaces in thermal heavy oil or bitumen extraction methods is reviewed, with particular relevance to oil sands. It begins with a brief introduction to the chemical composition and surface chemistry of oil sands, as well as steam-based thermal recovery methods. This is followed by the specific consideration of steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) from the perspective of the interfacial chemistry involved and factors responsible for the displacement of bitumen from reservoir mineral surfaces. Finally, the roles of the different chemical additives proposed to improve thermal recovery are considered in terms of their contributions to recovery mechanisms from interfacial and colloidal perspectives. Where appropriate, unpublished results from the author’s laboratory have been used to illustrate the discussions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Colloids and Interfaces in Oil Recovery)
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