Reduction of Surfactant Retention in Limestones Using Sodium Hydroxide

Wang, Denning (University of Texas at Austin) | Maubert, Mathieu (University of Texas at Austin) | Pope, Gary A. (University of Texas at Austin) | Liyanage, Pathma J. (University of Texas at Austin) | Jang, Sung Hyun (University of Texas at Austin) | Upamali, Karasinghe A. N. (University of Texas at Austin) | Chang, Leonard (University of Texas at Austin) | Tagavifar, Mohsen (University of Texas at Austin) | Sharma, Himanshu (University of Texas at Austin) | Ren, Guangwei (Total) | Mateen, Khalid (Total) | Ma, Kun (Total) | Bourdarot, Gilles (Total) | Morel, Danielle (Total)



Geochemical modeling was used to design and conduct a series of alkaline/surfactant/polymer (ASP) coreflood experiments to measure the surfactant retention in limestone cores using sodium hydroxide (NaOH) as the alkali. Surfactant/polymer (SP) coreflood experiments were conducted under the same conditions for comparison. NaOH has been used for ASP floods of sandstones, but these are the first experiments to test it for ASP floods of limestones. Two studies performed under different reservoir conditions showed that NaOH significantly reduced the surfactant retention in Indiana Limestone. An ASP solution with 0.3 wt% NaOH has a pH of approximately 12.6 at 25°C. The high pH increases the negative surface charge of the carbonate, which favors lower adsorption of anionic surfactants. Another advantage of NaOH is that low concentrations of only approximately 0.3 wt% can be used because of its low molecular weight and its low consumption in limestones. Most reservoir carbonates contain gypsum or anhydrite, and therefore sodium carbonate (Na2CO3) will be consumed by the precipitation of calcium carbonate (CaCO3). As shown in the two studies, NaOH can be used in limestone reservoirs containing gypsum or anhydrite.