Special Issue "Application of Nanoparticles for Oil Recovery"

A special issue of Nanomaterials (ISSN 2079-4991).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2021).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Ole Torsaeter
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Trondheim, Norway
Interests: fundamentals of flow in porous media; experimental reservoir engineering; routine and special core analysis; use of microfluidics in reservoir engineering research; enhanced oil recovery (EOR) methods; nanofluids for EOR; wettability of reservoir rocks; measurements of wettability; alteration of wettability; interaction of nanoparticles with porous materials; pore scale studies of EOR processes by micro-CT

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Due to their large surface-area-to-volume ratio and enhanced chemical reactivity, nanoparticles have attracted interest among researchers in the upstream petroleum industry for oil recovery applications. Nanoparticles have been studied as additives to waterflooding from day one of production as well as additives at later-stage waterflooding (secondary and tertiary recoveries). Many types of nanoparticles have been tested, and the aims of the nanoparticles have been either to reduce the mobility of the injected fluid relative to that of oil or to increase the ratio of viscous to interfacial forces (i.e., capillary number).

The research on nanotechnology for oil recovery has shown potential, but the mechanisms for oil recovery are not fully understood. Studies on the use of surface-functionalized particles for special reservoir rock and fluid properties and reservoir conditions might be the way forward for understanding the mechanisms involved. Our improved ability to study multiphase flow in porous media on pore scale by using microfluidics and micro-CT equipment will also be important for the development of  nanotechnology for oil recovery.

This Special Issue welcomes the submission of original research papers and comprehensive reviews that demonstrate or summarize significant advances in the understanding of recovery mechanisms by using nanoparticles in oil recovery. Example topics include: pore scale analysis, mechanisms of recovery due to nanoparticles, adsorption and transport of nanoparticles, wettability alteration, interfacial tension reduction, modelling of nano-EOR processes, and nanoparticles together with other EOR agents.

Prof. Dr. Ole Torsaeter
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • nanoparticles
  • enhanced oil recovery
  • mobility control
  • interfacial tension
  • wettability alteration
  • adsorption and transport of nanoparticles
  • modelling of nano-EOR processes
  • nanoparticles combined with other EOR methods

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Editorial

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Editorial
Application of Nanoparticles for Oil Recovery
Nanomaterials 2021, 11(5), 1063; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano11051063 - 21 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 363
Abstract
Due to their large surface-area-to-volume ratio and enhanced chemical reactivity, nanoparticles have attracted interest among researchers in the upstream petroleum industry for oil recovery applications [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Application of Nanoparticles for Oil Recovery)

Research

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Article
Experimental Investigation of Polymer-Coated Silica Nanoparticles for EOR under Harsh Reservoir Conditions of High Temperature and Salinity
Nanomaterials 2021, 11(3), 765; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano11030765 - 18 Mar 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 675
Abstract
Laboratory experiments have shown higher oil recovery with nanoparticle (NPs) flooding. Accordingly, many studies have investigated the nanoparticle-aided sweep efficiency of the injection fluid. The change in wettability and the reduction of the interfacial tension (IFT) are the two most proposed enhanced oil [...] Read more.
Laboratory experiments have shown higher oil recovery with nanoparticle (NPs) flooding. Accordingly, many studies have investigated the nanoparticle-aided sweep efficiency of the injection fluid. The change in wettability and the reduction of the interfacial tension (IFT) are the two most proposed enhanced oil recovery (EOR) mechanisms of nanoparticles. Nevertheless, gaps still exist in terms of understanding the interactions induced by NPs that pave way for the mobilization of oil. This work investigated four types of polymer-coated silica NPs for oil recovery under harsh reservoir conditions of high temperature (60 C) and salinity (38,380 ppm). Flooding experiments were conducted on neutral-wet core plugs in tertiary recovery mode. Nanoparticles were diluted to 0.1 wt.% concentration with seawater. The nano-aided sweep efficiency was studied via IFT and imbibition tests, and by examining the displacement pressure behavior. Flooding tests indicated incremental oil recovery between 1.51 and 6.13% of the original oil in place (OOIP). The oil sweep efficiency was affected by the reduction in core’s permeability induced by the aggregation/agglomeration of NPs in the pores. Different types of mechanisms, such as reduction in IFT, generation of in-situ emulsion, microscopic flow diversion and alteration of wettability, together, can explain the nano-EOR effect. However, it was found that the change in the rock wettability to more water-wet condition seemed to govern the sweeping efficiency. These experimental results are valuable addition to the data bank on the application of novel NPs injection in porous media and aid to understand the EOR mechanisms associated with the application of polymer-coated silica nanoparticles. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Application of Nanoparticles for Oil Recovery)
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Article
High Salinity and High Temperature Stable Colloidal Silica Nanoparticles with Wettability Alteration Ability for EOR Applications
Nanomaterials 2021, 11(3), 707; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano11030707 - 11 Mar 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 857
Abstract
The stability of nanoparticles at reservoir conditions is a key for a successful application of nanofluids for any oilfield operations, e.g., enhanced oil recovery (EOR). It has, however, remained a challenge to stabilize nanoparticles under high salinity and high temperature conditions for longer [...] Read more.
The stability of nanoparticles at reservoir conditions is a key for a successful application of nanofluids for any oilfield operations, e.g., enhanced oil recovery (EOR). It has, however, remained a challenge to stabilize nanoparticles under high salinity and high temperature conditions for longer duration (at least months). In this work, we report surface modification of commercial silica nanoparticles by combination of zwitterionic and hydrophilic silanes to improve its stability under high salinity and high temperature conditions. To evaluate thermal stability, static and accelerated stability analyses methods were employed to predict the long-term thermal stability of the nanoparticles in pH range of 4–7. The contact angle measurements were performed on aged sandstone and carbonate rock surfaces to evaluate the ability of the nanoparticles to alter the wettability of the rock surfaces. The results of static stability analysis showed excellent thermal stability in 3.5% NaCl brine and synthetic seawater (SSW) at 60 °C for 1 month. The accelerated stability analysis predicted that the modified nanoparticles could remain stable for at least 6 months. The results of contact angle measurements on neutral-wet Berea, Bentheimer, and Austin Chalk showed that the modified nanoparticles were able to adsorb on these rock surfaces and altered wettability to water-wet. A larger change in contact angle for carbonate surface than in sandstone surface showed that these particles could be more effective in carbonate reservoirs or reservoirs with high carbonate content and help improve oil recovery. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Application of Nanoparticles for Oil Recovery)
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Article
Pore- and Core-Scale Insights of Nanoparticle-Stabilized Foam for CO2-Enhanced Oil Recovery
Nanomaterials 2020, 10(10), 1917; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano10101917 - 25 Sep 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 883
Abstract
Nanoparticles have gained attention for increasing the stability of surfactant-based foams during CO2 foam-enhanced oil recovery (EOR) and CO2 storage. However, the behavior and displacement mechanisms of hybrid nanoparticle–surfactant foam formulations at reservoir conditions are not well understood. This work presents [...] Read more.
Nanoparticles have gained attention for increasing the stability of surfactant-based foams during CO2 foam-enhanced oil recovery (EOR) and CO2 storage. However, the behavior and displacement mechanisms of hybrid nanoparticle–surfactant foam formulations at reservoir conditions are not well understood. This work presents a pore- to core-scale characterization of hybrid nanoparticle–surfactant foaming solutions for CO2 EOR and the associated CO2 storage. The primary objective was to identify the dominant foam generation mechanisms and determine the role of nanoparticles for stabilizing CO2 foam and reducing CO2 mobility. In addition, we shed light on the influence of oil on foam generation and stability. We present pore- and core-scale experimental results, in the absence and presence of oil, comparing the hybrid foaming solution to foam stabilized by only surfactants or nanoparticles. Snap-off was identified as the primary foam generation mechanism in high-pressure micromodels with secondary foam generation by leave behind. During continuous CO2 injection, gas channels developed through the foam and the texture coarsened. In the absence of oil, including nanoparticles in the surfactant-laden foaming solutions did not result in a more stable foam or clearly affect the apparent viscosity of the foam. Foaming solutions containing only nanoparticles generated little to no foam, highlighting the dominance of surfactant as the main foam generator. In addition, foam generation and strength were not sensitive to nanoparticle concentration when used together with the selected surfactant. In experiments with oil at miscible conditions, foam was readily generated using all the tested foaming solutions. Core-scale foam-apparent viscosities with oil were nearly three times as high as experiments without oil present due to the development of stable oil/water emulsions and their combined effect with foam for reducing CO2 mobility Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Application of Nanoparticles for Oil Recovery)
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Article
Parametric Study of Polymer-Nanoparticles-Assisted Injectivity Performance for Axisymmetric Two-Phase Flow in EOR Processes
Nanomaterials 2020, 10(9), 1818; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano10091818 - 12 Sep 2020
Cited by 63 | Viewed by 868
Abstract
Among a wide range of enhanced oil-recovery techniques, polymer flooding has been selected by petroleum industries due to the simplicity and lower cost of operational performances. The reason for this selection is due to the mobility-reduction of the water phase, facilitating the forward-movement [...] Read more.
Among a wide range of enhanced oil-recovery techniques, polymer flooding has been selected by petroleum industries due to the simplicity and lower cost of operational performances. The reason for this selection is due to the mobility-reduction of the water phase, facilitating the forward-movement of oil. The objective of this comprehensive study is to develop a mathematical model for simultaneous injection of polymer-assisted nanoparticles migration to calculate an oil-recovery factor. Then, a sensitivity analysis is provided to consider the significant influence of formation rheological characteristics as type curves. To achieve this, we concentrated on the driving mathematical equations for the recovery factor and compare each parameter significantly to nurture the differences explicitly. Consequently, due to the results of this extensive study, it is evident that a higher value of mobility ratio, higher polymer concentration and higher formation-damage coefficient leads to a higher recovery factor. The reason for this is that the external filter cake is being made in this period and the subsequent injection of polymer solution administered a higher sweep efficiency and higher recovery factor. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Application of Nanoparticles for Oil Recovery)
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Article
Experimental Investigation of Stability of Silica Nanoparticles at Reservoir Conditions for Enhanced Oil-Recovery Applications
Nanomaterials 2020, 10(8), 1522; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano10081522 - 04 Aug 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1153
Abstract
To be effective enhanced oil-recovery (EOR) agents, nanoparticles must be stable and be transported through a reservoir. However, the stability of a nanoparticle suspension at reservoir salinity and temperature is still a challenge and how it is affected by reservoir rocks and crude [...] Read more.
To be effective enhanced oil-recovery (EOR) agents, nanoparticles must be stable and be transported through a reservoir. However, the stability of a nanoparticle suspension at reservoir salinity and temperature is still a challenge and how it is affected by reservoir rocks and crude oils is not well understood. In this work, for the first time, the effect of several nanoparticle treatment approaches on the stability of silica nanoparticles at reservoir conditions (in the presence of reservoir rock and crude oil) was investigated for EOR applications. The stability of nanoparticle suspensions was screened in test tubes at 70 °C and 3.8 wt. % NaCl in the presence of reservoir rock and crude oil. Fumed silica nanoparticles in suspension with hydrochloric acid (HCl), polymer-modified fumed nanoparticles and amide-functionalized silica colloidal nanoparticles were studied. The size and pH of nanoparticle suspension in contact with rock samples were measured to determine the mechanism for stabilization or destabilization of nanoparticles. A turbidity scanner was used to quantify the stability of the nanoparticle suspension. Results showed that both HCl and polymer surface modification can improve nanoparticle stability under synthetic seawater salinity and 70 °C. Suspensions of polymer-modified nanoparticles were stable for months. It was found that pH is a key parameter influencing nanoparticle stability. Rock samples containing carbonate minerals destabilized unmodified nanoparticles. Crude oil had limited effect on nanoparticle stability. Some components of crude oil migrated into the aqueous phase consisting of amide-functionalized silica colloidal nanoparticles suspension. Nanoparticles modification or/and stabilizer are necessary for nanoparticle EOR application. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Application of Nanoparticles for Oil Recovery)
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Article
Experimental Investigation of the Effect of Adding Nanoparticles to Polymer Flooding in Water-Wet Micromodels
Nanomaterials 2020, 10(8), 1489; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano10081489 - 29 Jul 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1540
Abstract
Recently, the combination of conventional chemical methods for enhanced oil recovery (EOR) and nanotechnology has received lots of attention. This experimental study explores the dynamic changes in the oil configuration due to the addition of nanoparticles (NPs) to biopolymer flooding. The tests were [...] Read more.
Recently, the combination of conventional chemical methods for enhanced oil recovery (EOR) and nanotechnology has received lots of attention. This experimental study explores the dynamic changes in the oil configuration due to the addition of nanoparticles (NPs) to biopolymer flooding. The tests were performed in water-wet micromodels using Xanthan Gum and Scleroglucan, and silica-based NPs in a secondary mode. The microfluidic setup was integrated with a microscope to capture the micro-scale fluid configurations. The change in saturation, connectivity, and cluster size distributions of the non-wetting phase was evaluated by means of image analysis. The biopolymer content did not affect the ability of the NPs to reduce the interfacial tension. The experiments showed that the reference nanofluid (NF) flood led to the highest ultimate oil recovery, compared to the Xanthan Gum, Scleroglucan and brine flooding at the same capillary number. In the cases of adding NPs to the biopolymer solutions, NPs-assisted Xanthan flooding achieved the highest ultimate oil recovery. This behavior was also evident at a higher capillary number. The overall finding suggests a more homogenous dispersion of the NPs in the solution and a reduction in the polymer adsorption in the Xanthan Gum/NPs solution, which explains the improvement in the sweep efficiency and recovery factor. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Application of Nanoparticles for Oil Recovery)
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Article
A Core Flood and Microfluidics Investigation of Nanocellulose as a Chemical Additive to Water Flooding for EOR
Nanomaterials 2020, 10(7), 1296; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano10071296 - 01 Jul 2020
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1373
Abstract
Cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) and 2,2,6,6-tetramethylpiperidine-1-oxyl (TEMPO)-oxidized cellulose nanofibrils (T-CNFs) were tested as enhanced oil recovery (EOR) agents through core floods and microfluidic experiments. Both particles were mixed with low salinity water (LSW). The core floods were grouped into three parts based on the [...] Read more.
Cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) and 2,2,6,6-tetramethylpiperidine-1-oxyl (TEMPO)-oxidized cellulose nanofibrils (T-CNFs) were tested as enhanced oil recovery (EOR) agents through core floods and microfluidic experiments. Both particles were mixed with low salinity water (LSW). The core floods were grouped into three parts based on the research objectives. In Part 1, secondary core flood using CNCs was compared to regular water flooding at fixed conditions, by reusing the same core plug to maintain the same pore structure. CNCs produced 5.8% of original oil in place (OOIP) more oil than LSW. For Part 2, the effect of injection scheme, temperature, and rock wettability was investigated using CNCs. The same trend was observed for the secondary floods, with CNCs performing better than their parallel experiment using LSW. Furthermore, the particles seemed to perform better under mixed-wet conditions. Additional oil (2.9–15.7% of OOIP) was produced when CNCs were injected as a tertiary EOR agent, with more incremental oil produced at high temperature. In the final part, the effect of particle type was studied. T-CNFs produced significantly more oil compared to CNCs. However, the injection of T-CNF particles resulted in a steep increase in pressure, which never stabilized. Furthermore, a filter cake was observed at the core face after the experiment was completed. Microfluidic experiments showed that both T-CNF and CNC nanofluids led to a better sweep efficiency compared to low salinity water flooding. T-CNF particles showed the ability to enhance the oil recovery by breaking up events and reducing the trapping efficiency of the porous medium. A higher flow rate resulted in lower oil recovery factors and higher remaining oil connectivity. Contact angle and interfacial tension measurements were conducted to understand the oil recovery mechanisms. CNCs altered the interfacial tension the most, while T-CNFs had the largest effect on the contact angle. However, the changes were not significant enough for them to be considered primary EOR mechanisms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Application of Nanoparticles for Oil Recovery)
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Article
Insights into the Effects of Pore Size Distribution on the Flowing Behavior of Carbonate Rocks: Linking a Nano-Based Enhanced Oil Recovery Method to Rock Typing
Nanomaterials 2020, 10(5), 972; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano10050972 - 18 May 2020
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 1361
Abstract
As a fixed reservoir rock property, pore throat size distribution (PSD) is known to affect the distribution of reservoir fluid saturation strongly. This study aims to investigate the relations between the PSD and the oil–water relative permeabilities of reservoir rock with a focus [...] Read more.
As a fixed reservoir rock property, pore throat size distribution (PSD) is known to affect the distribution of reservoir fluid saturation strongly. This study aims to investigate the relations between the PSD and the oil–water relative permeabilities of reservoir rock with a focus on the efficiency of surfactant–nanofluid flooding as an enhanced oil recovery (EOR) technique. For this purpose, mercury injection capillary pressure (MICP) tests were conducted on two core plugs with similar rock types (in respect to their flow zone index (FZI) values), which were selected among more than 20 core plugs, to examine the effectiveness of a surfactant–nanoparticle EOR method for reducing the amount of oil left behind after secondary core flooding experiments. Thus, interfacial tension (IFT) and contact angle measurements were carried out to determine the optimum concentrations of an anionic surfactant and silica nanoparticles (NPs) for core flooding experiments. Results of relative permeability tests showed that the PSDs could significantly affect the endpoints of the relative permeability curves, and a large amount of unswept oil could be recovered by flooding a mixture of the alpha olefin sulfonate (AOS) surfactant + silica NPs as an EOR solution. Results of core flooding tests indicated that the injection of AOS + NPs solution in tertiary mode could increase the post-water flooding oil recovery by up to 2.5% and 8.6% for the carbonate core plugs with homogeneous and heterogeneous PSDs, respectively. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Application of Nanoparticles for Oil Recovery)
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