Enhanced Oil Recovery Using a Potential Nanofluid Based on the Halloysite Nanotube/Silica Nanocomposites

Zhao, Tianhong (Southwest Petroleum University) | Chen, Ying (Southwest Petroleum University) | Pu, Wanfen (Southwest Petroleum University) | Wei, Bing (Southwest Petroleum University) | He, Yi (Southwest Petroleum University) | Zhang, Yiwen (Southwest Petroleum University)



Nanofluid flooding injection technique whereby nanomaterial or nanocomposite fluids for enhanced oil recovery (EOR) have garnered attention. Although a variety of nanomaterials have been used as EOR agents, there are still some defects such as toxicity, high cost and low-efficiency displacement, which restricted the further application of these nanoparticles. Considering these problems mentioned above, it is necessary to search for another nanomaterial which is inexpensive, environmentally friendly and results in high efficiency displacement.

In this work, a natural aluminosilicate nanomaterial halloysite nanotubes (HNTs) was focused. As a new kind of nanomaterial, the effectiveness of halloysite nanotubes (HNTs) in enhancing oil recovery has not been reported yet and it is still in its infancy. The use of pristine halloysite nanotube is at risk of blocking the rock pore channel due to the intrinsic drawback of aggregation, which may be the reason. To prolong the suspension time of fluids during seeping into the small pores of low permeable reservoirs, we have proposed the HNTs/SiO2 nanocomposites. The effect of HNTs/SiO2 nanocomposites-based nanofluids on wettability alteration and oil displacement efficiency was experimentally studied. The HNTs/SiO2 nanocomposites have been prepared by sol-gel method and characterized with X-ray (XRD), Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) and Thermal Gravimetric Analysis (TGA). The effect of the chemical modification on the suspension stability was investigated by measuring Zeta potential and dynamic laser scattering. Results show that the HNTs/SiO2 nanofluid could significantly change the water wettability from oil-wet to water-wet condition and enhance oil production. The optimal concentration of HNTs/SiO2 was 500 ppm, which corresponded to the highest ultimate oil recovery of 39%.