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Foaming Behavior of CO2-Soluble, Viscoelastic Surfactant

Aqueous foam has been demonstrated to have promise in conformance-control applications. This paper explores the foaming behavior of a CO2-soluble, cationic, amine-based surfactant. A distinguishing feature of this surfactant is its ability to dissolve in supercritical CO2 and to form wormlike micelles (WLMs) at elevated salinity. The presence of WLMs leads to an increase in viscosity of the aqueous surfactant solution. This paper investigates how the presence of WLM structures affects transient foam behavior in a homogeneous porous media (sandpack).

Introduction

Aqueous foam is a dispersion of a gas in an aqueous phase with a surface-active agent (surfactant) to lower the interfacial tension between the two phases. Foam functions as an effective mobility-control agent because of its high apparent viscosity in porous media.

Foam’s mobility in porous media is also influenced by the media’s relative permeability. In porous media, foam’s ability to flow from one pore to another is heavily dependent upon overcoming the capillary forces imposed by the pore-throat constrictions. Because of this yield-stress requirement, a large portion of a foam system in a porous media is not mobile. This fraction of trapped foam could occupy up to 65% of total pore volume, depending on foam-injection quality, injection velocity, and porous-media morphology. Trapped foam severely reduces the effective permeability of gas moving through a porous media by reducing the number of conduits through which the foam can flow.

This article, written by JPT Technology Editor Chris Carpenter, contains highlights of paper SPE 190302, “Foaming Behavior of CO2-Soluble Viscoelastic Surfactant in Homogeneous Porous Media,” by Galang Ramadhan, The University of Texas at Austin; George Hirasaki, SPE, Rice University; and Quoc P. Nguyen, SPE, The University of Texas, prepared for the 2018 SPE Improved Oil Recovery Conference, Tulsa, 14–18 April. The paper has not been peer reviewed.
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Foaming Behavior of CO2-Soluble, Viscoelastic Surfactant

01 July 2018

Volume: 70 | Issue: 7

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