Towards Identifying the Mechanisms of the Modified-Salinity Waterflooding by a Novel Combination of Core flooding and Mathematical Modeling

Taheri, Mirhossein (Danish Hydrocarbon Research and Technology Center) | Bonto, Maria (Danish Hydrocarbon Research and Technology Center) | Eftekhari, Ali Akbar (Danish Hydrocarbon Research and Technology Center) | M. Nick, Hamidreza (Danish Hydrocarbon Research and Technology Center)



Our objective is to find an alternative approach to the history matching of the modified salinity water flooding tests in secondary and tertiary mode. Instead of matching only the recovery factor and pressure drop history, we give a higher priority to matching the different ion concentrations and oil breakthrough times. Based on these analyses, we suggest the predominant mechanisms for the modified-salinity water flooding in carbonates.

The work is done in three steps: 1) Studying a large data-set of modified-salinity water flooding experiments in carbonates. 2) Quantifying the adsorption of potential determining ions (PDIs) on the carbonate surface using an optimized in-house surface-complexation model 3) Adjusting the relative permeability parameters to history-match the experimental data using different analytical solution of water-flooding (with and without ionic adsorption) combined with modern search-based optimization algorithms. The optimization algorithm gives a high weight factor to the breakthrough time of oil and PDIs.

Having too many parameters in the relative permeability (6 parameters for Brooks-Corey type) make it possible to match any type of recovery curves. However, we found out that matching the breakthrough times, especially in the tertiary modified salinity waterflooding, can only be achieved by considering the wettability change due to the adsorption of PDIs on the carbonate surface. This observation, combined with our ability to accurately model the adsorption of PDIs on the carbonate surface, helped us to identify the important PDIs that cause the wettability change in carbonates. For instance, we observe that a model that considers the wettability change due to the adsorption of calcium ions on the chalks surface matches perfectly to the tertiary flooding of the Stevns Klint outcrop chalk with seawater. The second important observation is that the lag between the start of the injection of the modified-salinity brine and the oil breakthrough time is not always due to the adsorption of ions and sometimes can be explained by the wettability change due to the lower salinity of the injected brine. It must be noted that this new approach is still semi-empirical, and needs to be combined with more fundamental studies to identify the actual mechanisms.