Phase diagrams for EOR processes - PetroWiki

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Phase behavior plays an important role in a variety of enhanced oil recovery (EOR) processes. Such processes are designed to overcome, in one way or another, the capillary forces that act to trap oil during waterflooding. Interpretation of phase diagrams is particularly important in the design of surfactant/polymer processes and gas-injection processes. In surfactant/polymer displacement processes, the effects of capillary forces are reduced by injection of surfactant solutions that contain molecules with oil- and water-soluble portions. Such molecules migrate to the oil/water interface and reduce the interfacial tension, thereby reducing the magnitude of the capillary forces that resist movement of trapped oil. Figure 1[1] shows phase diagrams typical of those used to describe the behavior of surfactant systems.