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Coreflooding Studies to Investigate the Potential of Carbonated Water Injection as an Injection Strategy for Improved Oil Recovery and CO2 Storage


Carbonated water injection (CWI) is a CO2-augmented water injection strategy that leads to increased oil recovery with added advantage of safe storage of CO2 in oil reservoirs. In CWI, CO2 is used efficiently (compared to conventional CO2 injection) and hence it is particularly attractive for reservoirs with limited access to large quantities of CO2, e.g. offshore reservoirs or reservoirs far from large sources of CO2. We present the results of a series of CWI coreflood experiments using water-wet and mixed-wet Clashach sandstone cores and a reservoir core with light oil (n-decane), refined viscous oil and a stock-tank crude oil. The experiments were carried out to assess the performance of CWI and to quantify the level of additional oil recovery and CO2 storage under various experimental conditions. We show that the ultimate oil recovery by CWI is higher than the conventional water flooding in both secondary and tertiary recovery methods. Oil swelling as a result of CO2 diffusion into the oil and the subsequent oil viscosity reduction and coalescence of the isolated oil ganglia are amongst the main mechanisms of oil recovery by CWI that were observed through the visualisation experiments in high-pressure glass micromodels. There was also evidence of a change in the rock wettability that could also influence the oil recovery. The coreflood test results also reveal that the CWI performance is influenced by oil viscosity, core wettability and the brine salinity. Higher oil recovery was obtained with the mixed-wet core than the water-wet core, with light oil than with the viscous oil and low salinity carbonated brine than high-salinity carbonated brine. At the end of the flooding period, an encouraging amount of the injected CO2 was stored in the brine and the remaining oil in the form of stable dissolved CO2. The experimental results clearly demonstrate the potential of CWI for improving oil recovery as compared with the conventional water flooding (secondary recovery) or as a water-based EOR (enhanced oil recovery) method for watered out reservoirs.

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Correspondence to Mehran Sohrabi.

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Sohrabi, M., Kechut, N.I., Riazi, M. et al. Coreflooding Studies to Investigate the Potential of Carbonated Water Injection as an Injection Strategy for Improved Oil Recovery and CO2 Storage. Transp Porous Med 91, 101–121 (2012).

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  • Carbonated water injection
  • Enhanced oil recovery
  • CO2 storage
  • Coreflooding