Nanoparticles influence on wetting behaviour of fractured limestone formation
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Nanoparticles have gained considerable interest in recent times for oil recovery purposes owing to significant capabilities in wettability alteration of reservoir rocks. Wettability is a key factor controlling displacement efficiency and ultimate recovery of oil. The present study investigates the influence of zirconium (IV) oxide (ZrO2) and nickel (II) oxide (NiO) nanoparticles on the wetting preference of fractured (oil-wet) limestone formations. Wettability was assessed through SEM, AFM and contact angle. The potentials of the nanoparticles to alter oil-wet calcite substrates water wet, was experimentally tested at low nanoparticle concentrations (0.004–0.05 wt%). Quite similar behaviour was observed for both nanoparticles at the same particle concentration; while ZrO2 demonstrated a better efficiency by altering strongly oil-wet (water contact angle θ=152°) calcite substrates into a strongly water-wet (θ=44°) state, NiO changed wettability to an intermediate-wet condition (θ=86°) at 0.05 wt% nanoparticle concentration. We conclude that ZrO2 is very efficient in terms of inducing strong water-wettability; and ZrO2 based nanofluids have a high potential as EOR agents.
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