Microfluidic devices containing thin rock sections for oil recovery studies

Abstract

While there has been a shift towards renewable energy sources, oil remains an important source of not only energy but also raw materials. Oil recovery is currently an inefficient process with as much as 50% of the original oil remaining in a field. Improvement of oil recovery techniques requires a model system that is both chemically and physically representative to achieve accurate results. Current large laboratory scale systems use large cores drilled from target rock and large, high-pressure systems to recreate oil recovery systems. The cores and associated equipment required to accurately model oil recovery are expensive and time consuming to obtain and operate. As a result, there has been a continual quest to develop alternative solutions that are faster, less complicated, and less expensive while still providing accurate representation of reservoirs. An alternative to large-scale models are optically transparent two or three-dimensional microfluidic devices. Several examples of microfluidic devices used to study oil recovery processes have been published. Unfortunately, most microfluidic devices require complicated fabrication techniques, inaccurately replicate the reservoir rock surface chemistry and geometry, and are made from materials not representative of surfaces found in oil reservoirs. Herein, the Flow On Rock Device is described as an easy to fabricate microfluidic device that acts as a bridge between fully synthetic microfluidics and large laboratory models due to incorporation of reservoir rock samples directly into the microfluidic device. Results of flooding studies are presented on shale and sandstone models as an example of the potential for this system in studying oil recovery.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6

References

  1. Abdallah W, Buckley JS, Carnegie A, Edwards J, Herold B, Fordham E, Graue A, Habashy T, Seleznev N, Signer C, Hussain H, Montaron B, Ziauddin M (2007) Fundamentals of wettability. Oilfield Rev 19:44–63

    Google Scholar 

  2. Ali SMF, Thomas S (2000) Enhanced oil recovery—what we have learned. J Can Pet Technol 392:7–11

    Google Scholar 

  3. Alvarado V, Manrique E (2010) Enhanced oil recovery: an update review. Energies 39:1529–1575

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Berejnov V, Djilali N, Sinton D (2008) Lab-on-chip methodologies for the study of transport in porous media: energy applications. Lab Chip 85:689–693

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Berejnov V, Bazylak A, Sinton D, Djilali N (2010) Fractal flow patterns in hydrophobic microfluidic pore networks: experimental modeling of two-phase flow in porous electrodes. J Electrochem Soc 1575:B760

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Boussour S, Cissokho M, Cordier P, Bertin H, Hamon G (2009) Oil recovery by low salinity brine injection: laboratory results on outcrop and reservoir cores. In: SPE Annual technical conference and exhibition. Society of Petroleum Engineers

  7. Buckley JS (1998) Evaluation of reservoir wettability and its effect on oil recovery. N. P. T. Office, Socorro, NM

    Google Scholar 

  8. Buckley JS, Liu Y, Monsterleet S (1998) Mechanisms of wetting alteration by crude oils. SPE J 3:54–61

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Camino G, Lomakin SM, Lazzari M (2001) Polydimethylsiloxane thermal degradation Part 1. Kinetic aspects. Polymer 426:2395–2402

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Corapcioglu YM, Chowdhury S, Roosevelt SE (1997) Micromodel visualization and quantification of solute transport in porous media. Water Resour Res 3311:2547–2558

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Grate JW, Dehoff KJ, Warner MG, Pittman JW, Wietsma TW, Zhang C, Oostrom M (2012) Correlation of oil–water and air–water contact angles of diverse silanized surfaces and relationship to fluid interfacial tensions. Langmuir 2818:7182–7188

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Gunda NS, Bera B, Karadimitriou NK, Mitra SK, Hassanizadeh SM (2011) Reservoir-on-a-chip (ROC): a new paradigm in reservoir engineering. Lab Chip 1122:3785–3792

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Keller AA, Blunt MJ, Roberts APV (1997) Micromodel observation of the role of oil layers in three-phase flow. Transp Porous Media 263:277–297

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Kim M, Sell A, Sinton D (2013) Aquifer-on-a-chip: understanding pore-scale salt precipitation dynamics during CO2 sequestration. Lab Chip 1313:2508–2518

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Lager A, Webb KJ, Collins IR (2008) LoSal™ enhanced oil recovery: evidence of enhanced oil recovery at the reservoir scale. In: SPE symposium on improved oil recovery. Society of Petroleum Engineers

  16. Lee JN, Park C, Whitesides GM (2003) Solvent compatibility of poly (dimethylsiloxane)-based microfluidic devices. Anal Chem 7523:6544–6554

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Lee H, Lee SG, Doyle PS (2015) Photopatterned oil-reservoir micromodels with tailored wetting properties. Lab Chip 1514:3047–3055

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Lenormand R (1990) Liquids in porous media. J Phys Condens Matter 2:SA79

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Li W, Vigil RD, Beresnev IA, Iassonov P, Ewing R (2005) Vibration-induced mobilization of trapped oil ganglia in porous media: experimental validation of a capillary-physics mechanism. J Colloid Interface Sci 2891:193–199

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. McCool CS, Green DW, Willhite GP (2000) Fluid-rock interactions between xanthan-chromium(III) gel systems and dolomite core material. Soc Pet Eng 15:159–167

    Google Scholar 

  21. McGuire PL, Chatham JR, Paskvan FK, Sommer DM, Carini FH (2005) Low salinity oil recovery: an exciting new EOR opportunity for Alaska’s north slope. In: SPE western regional meeting. Society of Petroleum Engineers

  22. Mullins OC, Zuo JY, Wang K, Hammond PS, De Santos R, Dumont H, Mishra VK, Chen L, Pomerantz AE, Dong CL, Elshahawf H, Seifert DJ (2014) The dynamics of reservoir fluids and their substantial systematic variations. Petrophys 552:96–112

    Google Scholar 

  23. Nasralla RA, Alotaibi MB, Nasr-El-Din HA (2011) Efficiency of oil recovery by low salinity water flooding in sandstone reservoirs. In: SPE western North American region meeting. Society of Petroleum Engineers

  24. Ng KM, Davis HT, Scriven LE (1978) Visualization of blob mechanics in flow through porous media. Chem Eng Sci 33:1009–1017

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Nobakht M, Moghadam S, Gu Y (2007) Effects of viscous and capillary forces on CO2 enhanced oil recovery under reservoir conditions. Energy Fuels 216:3469–3476

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Pope GA (2007) Overview of chemical EOR. Casper EOR workshop. Center for Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering, Austin

    Google Scholar 

  27. Rivet SM, Lake LW (2010) A coreflood investigation of low-salinity enhanced oil recovery. In: SPE annual technical conference and exhibition. Society of Petroleum Engineers

  28. Sayegh SG, Fisher DB (2009) Enhanced oil recovery by CO flooding in homogeneous and heterogeneous 2D micromodels. Petroleum Society of Canada, Canada

    Google Scholar 

  29. Schneider M, Osselin F, Andrews B, Rezgui F, Tabeling P (2011) Wettability determination of core samples through visual rock and fluid imaging during fluid injection. J Pet Sci Eng 782:476–485

    Article  Google Scholar 

  30. Sevin J, Capron B (2013) Seizing the EOR opportunity. Energy Perspect

  31. Sohrabi M, Danesh A, Jamiolahmady M (2008) Visualisation of residual oil recovery by near-miscible gas and SWAG injection using high-pressure micromodels. Transp Porous Media 742:239–257

    Article  Google Scholar 

  32. Tanino Y, Akamairo B, Christensen M, Bowden SA (2015) Impact of displacement rate on waterflood oil recovery under mixed-wet conditions. In: Proceedings of the international symposium of the society of core analysts, society of core analysis

  33. Tarvin JA, Gustavson G, Balkunas S, Sherwood JD (2008) Two-dimensional flow towards a guarded downhole sampling probe: an experimental study. J Pet Sci Eng 612-4:75–87

    Article  Google Scholar 

  34. Terry RE (2001) Enhanced oil recovery. In: Encyclopedia of physical science and technology, vol 18. Academic, New York, pp 503–518

    Google Scholar 

  35. Wang W, Chang S, Gizzatov A (2017) Toward reservoir-on-a-chip: fabricating reservoir micromodels by in situ growing calcium carbonate nanocrystals in microfluidic channels. ACS Appl Mater Interfaces 934:29380–29386

    Article  Google Scholar 

  36. Zekri A, Jerbi KK (2002) Évaluation économique de la récupération assistée du pétrole. Oil Gas Sci Technol 573:259–267

    Article  Google Scholar 

  37. Zhang C, Oostrom M, Wietsma TW, Grate JW, Warner MG (2011) Influence of viscous and capillary forces on immiscible fluid displacement: pore-scale experimental study in a water-wet micromodel demonstrating viscous and capillary fingering. Energy Fuels 258:3493–3505

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgements

Funding for this project was provided by BP.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Charles S. Henry.

Additional information

Publisher’s Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Electronic supplementary material

Below is the link to the electronic supplementary material.

Supplementary material 1 (MP4 2280 KB)

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Gerold, C.T., Krummel, A.T. & Henry, C.S. Microfluidic devices containing thin rock sections for oil recovery studies. Microfluid Nanofluid 22, 76 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10404-018-2096-7

Download citation

Keywords

  • Microfluidic
  • Oil recovery
  • Lab on a chip
  • Device fabrication
  • Sample incorporation