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A Numerical Investigation of Enhanced Oil Recovery Using Hydrophilic Nanofluids

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In order to explore the potential applications of nanotechnology in oil industry to enhance oil recovery, numerous studies regarding nanoparticle mobility in porous media have been conducted in the past decade. Theoretical modeling was carried out to investigate nanoparticle retention mechanism as well. However, most of the simulations were either limited to laboratory scale or only accounted for transport and retention behaviors. In this paper, the effect of hydrophilic nanofluids on oil recovery was quantified at a reservoir scale. Simulations were performed using an in-house simulator and three essential tasks were accomplished: (1) The in-house simulation framework consists of two critical components: a two-phase displacement module (accounts for waterflooding) and a transport/retention module (accounts for Advection-Dispersion-Retention behavior exhibited by nanoparticles). Those two modules were verified with two simulation tools (Eclipse from Schlumberger and MNM1D by Tosco et al.), respectively in this study; (2) A solution algorithm bridging the above two modules was developed and implemented to demonstrate the effect of nanoparticle retention on improving displacing efficiency; (3) Different injection scenarios simulated include continuous injection, slug injection, and postflush, and the effects of injection time, injection rate, and slug size on oil recovery were studied. The results discovered that when nanofluids flooding is used after waterflooding as a tertiary recovery method, early nanofluids injection improves higher oil recovery, but results in more nanoparticle loss. Higher injection rate of nanofluids could help improve the flooding efficiency, but not the ultimate oil recovery and cause more nanoparticle loss as well. Compared to continuous injection, slug injection with postflush saves a lot of nanoparticles but present a similar contribution in a Nano-EOR process.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 May 2017

This article was made available online on 09 May 2017 as a Fast Track article with title: "A Numerical Investigation of Enhanced Oil Recovery Using Hydrophilic Nanofluids".

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