Experimental Evaluations of Polymeric Solubility and Thickeners for Supercritical CO2 at High Temperatures for Enhanced Oil Recovery
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Supercritical carbon dioxide (scCO 2 ) is considered to be an excellent candidate for miscible gas injection (MGI) because it can reduce oil viscosity, induce in situ swelling of the oil, and reduce the IFT of the in situ fluid system. However, the unfavorable mobility associated with scCO 2 flooding poses a major challenge due to the large viscosity contrast between the crude oil and scCO 2 , resulting in viscous fingering. An effective approach to overcome this challenge is to increase the viscosity of scCO 2 (scCO 2 thickening) to effectively control gas mobility and improve the sweep efficiency. The primary focus of this study was on an oilfield (Field A) that is located in the Harweel cluster in southern Oman. In this work, we present results in which the suitability of a library of commercially available polymers capable of thickening scCO 2 at a high temperature (377 K). Previous studies have focused on the use of polymers as viscosifiers at much lower temperatures. Out of 26 potential polymers, 4 polymers (poly(1-decene) (P-1-D), poly(ethyl vinyl ether) (PVEE), poly(iso-butyl vinyl ether) (Piso-BVE), and poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS)) were found to be completely soluble in scCO 2 at 377 K and 55 MPa. Given the relatively low viscosity of oil in Field A (0.23 cP), P-1-D and PVEE could be considered as effective thickeners under the in situ conditions relevant to this field. In addition, Piso-BVE was found to be less effective because it did not change the CO 2 viscosity above 358 K (55 MPa) when used at a concentration of 1.5 wt %. Furthermore, although it was determined that increasing the side chain length of poly alkyl vinyl ethers would enhance the solubility of this polymer in scCO 2 , it was determined to be ineffective in noticeably changing the CO 2 viscosity. In general, increasing temperature resulted in a decrease in the relative viscosity, while increasing the pressure caused a slight increase in relative viscosity at all temperatures and concentrations.
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