Factors limiting foam injection for EOR application are exceptionally low rock permeability and exceedingly high salinity of the formation water. In this regard, foam formation using internal olefin sulfonate is investigated over a wide salinity range (1, 5, 8, 10, and 12% NaCl) through 10 mD limestone. The relationships between pressure drop (dP), apparent viscosity, liquid flow rate, total flow rate, salinity, foam texture, and length of foam drops at the outlet used as an indicator of viscosity are studied. Foaming is observed up to 12% NaCl, compared to a maximum of 8% NaCl in similar core-flooding experiments with 50 mD limestone and 255 mD sandstone. Thus, the salinity limit of foam formation has increased significantly due to the low permeability, which can be explained by the fact that the narrow porous system acts like a membrane with smaller holes. Compared to the increasing dP reported for highly permeable rocks, dP linearly decreases in almost the entire range of gas fraction (fg) at 1–10% NaCl. As fg increases, dP at higher total flow rate is higher at all salinities, but the magnitude of dP controls the dependence of apparent viscosity on total flow rate. Low dP is measured at 1% and 10% NaCl, and high dP is measured at 5, 8, and 12% NaCl. In the case of low dP, the apparent viscosity is higher at higher total flow rate with increasing gas fraction, but similar at two total flow rates with increasing liquid flow rate. In the case of high dP, the apparent viscosity is higher at lower total flow rate, both with an increase in the gas fraction and with an increase in the liquid flow rate. A linear correlation is found between dP or apparent viscosity and liquid flow rate, which defines it as a governing factor of foam flow and can be considered when modeling foam flow.
- Foam; IOS; Limestone; Permeability