Nanofluids for enhanced oil recovery processes: Wettability alteration using zirconium oxide
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© 2016, Offshore Technology Conference Ultimate oil recovery and displacement efficiency at the pore-scale are controlled by the rock wettability thus there is a growing interest in the wetting behaviour of reservoir rocks as production from fractured oil-wet or mixed-wet limestone formations have remained a key challenge. Conventional waterflooding methods are inefficient in such formation due to poor spontaneous imbibition of water into the oil-wet rock capillaries. However, altering the wettability to water-wet could yield recovery of significant amounts of additional oil thus this study investigates the influence of nanoparticles on wettability alteration. The efficiency of various formulated zirconium-oxide (ZrO2) based nanofluids at different nanoparticle concentrations (0-0.05 wt. %) was assessed through contact angle measurements. Results from the experiments showed ZrO2 nanofluid have great potentials in changing oil-wet limestone towards strongly water-wet condition. The best performance was observed at 0.05wt% ZrO2 nanoparticle concentration which changed an originally strongly oil-wet (152Â°) calcite substrate towards a strongly water-wet (44Â°) state thus we conclude that ZrO2 is a good agent for enhanced oil recovery.
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