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Physicochemical Properties of Microemulsions and their uses in Enhanced Oil Recovery
Use of microemulsion in enhanced oil recovery has become more attractive in recent years because of its high level of extraction efficiency. Experimental investigations have been made on characterization of microemulsions of oil-brinesurfactant/ cosurfactant system for its use in enhanced oil recovery (EOR). Sodium dodecyl sulfate, propan-1-ol and heptane were selected as surfactant, cosurfactant and oil respectively for preparation of microemulsion. The effects of salinity on the relative phase volumes and solubilization parameters have also been studied. As salinity changes from low to high value, phase transition takes place from Winsor I to Winsor II via Winsor III. Suitable microemulsion composition has been selected based on its stability and ability to reduce interfacial tension. A series of flooding experiments have been performed using the selected microemulsion. The flooding experiments were performed in a core flooding apparatus using uniform sand pack. The core holder was tightly packed with uniform sands (60-100 mesh) and saturated with brines of different salinities. It was flooded with the brine at 25 psig and the absolute permeability was calculated from the flow rate of the through sand pack. The sand pack was then flooded with the crude oil at 800 psig to irreducible water saturation. The initial water saturation was determined on the basis of mass balance. Waterflooding was conducted by placing the coreholder horizontally at a constant injection pressure at 200 pisg. After water flooding, when water-cut reached above 95%, around 0.5 pore volume (PV) of the above microemulsion slug was injected followed by chasing water. The experiments were repeated using different composition of microemulsion slug. The additional recoveries were calculated by material balance. Encouraging results with additional recovery more than 20% of original oil in place above the conventional water flooding have been observed.
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