Effect of nanoparticles and polymer nanoparticles implementation on chemical flooding, wettability and interfacial tension for the enhanced oil recovery processes

A. M. El Shafey

African Journal of Engineering Research
Published: October 5 2017
Volume 5, Issue 3
Pages 35-53


The nanotechnology has been widely used in several other industries, and the interest in oil industry is increasing. Nanotechnology has the potential to profoundly change enhanced oil recovery (EOR) and improve the mechanism of recovery, and it is chosen as an alternative method to unlock the remaining oil resources and applied as a new enhanced oil recovery method in the last decade. EOR processes aims to recover trapped oil left in reservoirs after primary and secondary recovery method. Chemical flooding is of increasing interest and importance due to high oil prices and the need to increase oil production. Nano-chemical flooding is an immature method from an application point of view. With the decline in oil discoveries during the last decades it is believed that EOR technologies will play a key role to meet the energy demand in years to come. New materials and additives are needed to make EOR economical in challenging reservoirs or harsh environments. Nanoparticles have been widely studied for EOR, but nanoparticles with polymer chain grafted to the surface - known as polymer- coated nanoparticles (PNPs) - are an emerging class of materials that may be superior to nanoparticles for EOR due to improved solubility and stability, greater stabilization of foams and emulsions, and more facile transport through porous media. This paper therefore focuses on the reviews of the application of nanotechnology in chemical flooding process in oil recovery and reviews the applications of nanomaterials for improving oil recovery that have been proposed to explain oil displacement by polymer flooding within oil reservoirs, and also this paper highlights a related class of materials comprised of surfactant and nanoparticle blends and studies of PNPs for improving mobility control, altering surface wettability, and for investigating their transport through porous media in EOR applications.

Keywords: Nanotechnology, polymer nanoparticles, chemical flooding, reservoir, surfaces and interfaces, wettability, interfacial tension, enhanced oil recovery.

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