Experimental Investigation of Wettability Alteration of Oil-Wet Carbonates by a Non-ionic Surfactant

Maissa Souayeh, Rashid Al Maamari, Mohamed Aoudia, Mahvash Karimi, Moundher Hadji

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Wettability alteration toward a more water-wet state was found to be a promising approach for oil recovery improvement in oil-wet and naturally fractured carbonate reservoirs. This approach has been extensively studied in the literature using low-salinity/smart water and surfactant injection separately. However, application of surfactants in enhanced oil recovery is limited by their compatibility with the conditions of the reservoirs. In this study, polyethoxylated non-ionic surfactants with different ethylene oxide units were combined with low-salinity brine for a more efficient and cost-effective process. The compatibility of the surfactant solutions highly improved by reducing the salinity in the range of 200-2 g/L. Interfacial tension (IFT) measurements revealed that IFT decreased with increasing salinity. Contact angle measurements of calcite surfaces showed that wettability can be altered from a strong oil-wet state to a water-wet state after treatment with solutions of non-ionic surfactants over a wide range of salinities (∼2-110 g/L). ζ potential, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, and thermogravimetric analysis revealed that the non-ionic surfactant could partially displace carboxylate compounds from the surface and adsorb by forming a hydrogen bond with the hydroxyl group on the calcite surface. The formation of hydrogen bonds between ethoxy groups of the surfactant and hydroxyl or carboxylic groups on the solid surface can result in the replacement of organic compounds on the calcite surface. The organic compounds could form a new layer on the layer of adsorbed surfactant molecules via hydrophobic interactions. In addition, adsorption of the hydrophobic part of the non-ionic surfactant on the hydrophobic calcite surface and the formation of a surfactant double layer could partially contribute to the wettability alteration process.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEnergy and Fuels
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018

Fingerprint

Carbonates
Nonionic surfactants
Surface-Active Agents
Wetting
Oils
Surface active agents
Calcium Carbonate
Calcite
Organic compounds
Hydroxyl Radical
Surface tension
Water
Hydrogen bonds
Recovery
Ethylene Oxide
Angle measurement
Contact angle
Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy
Thermogravimetric analysis
Ethylene

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology

Cite this

Experimental Investigation of Wettability Alteration of Oil-Wet Carbonates by a Non-ionic Surfactant. / Souayeh, Maissa; Al Maamari, Rashid; Aoudia, Mohamed; Karimi, Mahvash; Hadji, Moundher.

In: Energy and Fuels, 01.01.2018.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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