Effects of Oil on Foam Generation and Propagation in Porous Media

Simjoo, Mohammad (Sahand University of Technology) | Zitha, Pacelli L.J. (Delft University of Technology)


Foaming of nitrogen stabilized by C14-16 alpha olefin sulfonate in natural sandstone porous media, previously subject to water flooding, was studied experimentally. Foam was generated in-situ by co-injecting gas and surfactant solution at fixed foam quality. Effect of surfactant concentration on the foam strength and foam propagation was examined. X-ray CT scans were obtained to visualize the foam displacement process and to determine fluid saturations at different times. The experiments revealed that stable foam could be obtained in the presence of water-flood residual oil. CT scan images, fluid saturation profiles and mobility reduction factors demonstrated that foam exhibited a good mobility control in the presence of water-flood residual oil. This was further confirmed by a delay in the gas breakthrough. The experiments also proved that immiscible foam displaced additional oil from water-flooded sandstone cores, supporting the idea that foam is potentially an effective EOR method. Foam flooding provided an incremental oil recovery ranging from 13±0.5% of the oil initially in place for 0.1 wt% foam to 29±2% for 1.0 wt% foam. Incremental oil due to foam flow was obtained first by a formation of an oil bank and then by a long tail production due to transport of dispersed oil within the flowing foam. The oil bank size increased with surfactant concentration, but the dispersed oil regime was less sensitive to the surfactant concentration.