Wormlike Micellar Solutions, Beyond the Chemical Enhanced Oil Recovery Restrictions
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While traditional oil recovery methods are limited in terms of meeting the overall oil demands, enhanced oil recovery (EOR) techniques are being continually developed to provide a principal portion of our energy demands. Chemical EOR (cEOR) is one of the EOR techniques that shows an efficient oil recovery factor in a number of oilfields with low salinity and temperature ranges. However, the application of cEOR under the harsh conditions of reservoirs where most of today’s crude oils come from remains a challenge. High temperatures, the presence of ions, divalent ions, and heterogeneous rock structures in such reservoirs restrict the application of cEOR. Polymer solutions, surfactants, alkaline-based solutions, and complex multi-components of them are common chemical displacing fluids that failed to show successful recovery results in hostile conditions for various reasons. Wormlike micellar solutions (WMS) are viscoelastic surfactants that possess advantageous characteristics for overcoming current cEOR challenges. In this study, we first review the major approaches and challenges of commonly used chemical agents for cEOR applications. Subsequently, we review special characteristics of WMS that make them promising materials for the future of cEOR.
CitationNodoushan, E. J., Yi, T., Lee, Y. J., Kim, N. (2019). Wormlike micellar solutions, beyond the chemical enhanced oil recovery restrictions. Fluids, 4(3): 173.
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