Transport in Porous Media

, Volume 93, Issue 3, pp 705–719 | Cite as

Analysis of Microscopic Displacement Mechanisms of a MIOR Process in Porous Media with Different Wettability

  • Mehdi Shabani Afrapoli
  • Samaneh Alipour
  • Ole Torsaeter


The wettability of the reservoir rock has an important effect on the displacement of fluids on a microscopic scale in all EOR processes, especially in the microbial improved oil recovery (MIOR) process. This study describes the effect of wettability on microscopic two-phase flow displacement mechanisms of bacterial flooding. It enables us to get better understanding and prediction capability of macroscale flow behavior of the MIOR process. To achieve the goal, a number of visualization experiments have been carried out in glass micromodels with water wet and oil wet wettability status. Synthetic brine and model oil and an alkane oxidizing bacterium are used to explain the different behavior of microscopic displacement mechanisms in the water wet and oil wet micromodels. The results obtained in the two media are presented and compared. The observational results show the effect of wettability of porous media on remaining oil saturation and oil phase transportation. In water wet model, the oil is remained mostly as isolated drops while in oil wet model, the remaining oil is the continuous phase. The bacteria have the ability to displace the residual oil trapped in the micromodel. It is shown that the bacteria have various performances in the oil wet and water wet systems. The acting mechanisms supporting the displacement process are the interfacial tension reduction, wettability changes, and pore blocking.


Reservoir engineering MIOR Glass micromodel Pore network Bacteria and oil-in-water emulsion 

List of Symbols


Microbial improved oil recovery


Residual oil saturation (%)


Irreducible water saturation (%)


Capillary number


Reynolds number


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Amili P., Yortsos Y.C.: Darcian dynamic: a new approach to the mobilization of a trapped phase in porous media. Transp. Porous Media 64, 25–49 (2006). doi: 10.1007/s11242-005-1397-y CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Awan A.R., Teigland R., Kleppe J.: A survey of north sea enhanced oil recovery projects initiated during the years 1975 to 2005. SPE Reserv. Eval. Eng. J 11(3), 497–512 (2008)Google Scholar
  3. Bredholt H., Josefsen K., Vatland A., Bruheim P., Eimhjellen K.: Emulsification of crude oil by an alkane-oxidizing Rhodococcus species isolated from seawater. Can. J. Microbiol. 44, 330–340 (1998)Google Scholar
  4. Brown, L.R., Vadie, A.A.,Stephens, J.O.: Slowing production decline and extending the economic life of an oil field: new MEOR technology. SPE paper 59306, Tulsa, Oklohoma, April 3–5 (2000)Google Scholar
  5. Bryant R.S.: Review of microbial technology for improving oil recovery, SPE paper 16646. SPE Reserv. Eng. J. 4(2), 151–154 (1989)Google Scholar
  6. Crescente, C., Rasmussen, K., Torsaeter, O., Strøm, A., Kowalewski, E.: An experimental study of microbial improved oil recovery by using Rhodococcus sp. 094., SCA2005-45. Presented in the SCA annual conference, Toronto, Canada, 21–25 Sept 2005Google Scholar
  7. Crescente, C., Torsaeter, O., Hultmann, L., Strøm, A., Rasmussen, K., Kowalewski, E.: An experimental study of driving mechanisms in MIOR processes by using Rhodococcus sp. 094, SPE 100033. Presented at the SPE symposium on improved oil recovery, Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA, 22–26 April 2006Google Scholar
  8. Crescente, C., Rekdal, A., Abriz, A., Torsæter, O.: A pore level study of MIOR displacement mechanisms in glass micromodels using Rhodococcus sp. 094, SPE 110134. Presented at the SPE symposium on improved oil recovery, Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA, 19–23 April 2008Google Scholar
  9. Haghighi, M., Yortsos, Y.C.: Visualization of steam injection in fractured systems using micromodels, SPE 37520. Presented at the international thermal operations and heavy oil symposium, Baskerfield, CA, 10–12 Feb 1997Google Scholar
  10. Maudgalya, S., Knapp, R.M., Mclnerney, M.J.: Microbial enhanced oil recovery technologies: a review of the past, present and future, SPE paper 106978. Presented at the SPE production and operations symposium, Oklahoma, USA, 31 March–3 April 2007Google Scholar
  11. Morrow N.R.: Wettability and its effect on oil recovery. J. Pet. Technol. 42(12), 1476–1484 (1990)Google Scholar
  12. Rao, D.N., Ayirala, S.C., Abe, A.A., Xu, W.: Impact of low-cost dilute surfactants on wettability and relative permeability. Presented at the SPE/DOE symposium on improved oil recovery, Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA, 22–26 April 2006Google Scholar
  13. Reddy N.B.P., Rao P.R.M.: Effect of convergence on nonlinear flow in porous media. J. Hydraul. Eng. 132, 420–427 (2006). doi: 10.1061/(ASCE)0733-9429 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Ren, W., Bentsen, R., Cunha, L.B.: Pore level observation of gravity assisted tertiary gas injection process, SPE paper 81007. Presented at the SPE latin America and Caribbean petroleum engineering conference, Port of Spain, Trinidad, West Indies, 27–30 April 2003Google Scholar
  15. Sayyouh M.H., Al-Blehed M.S., Hemeida A.: Possible applications of MEOR to the Arab oil fields. J. King Saud Univ. Eng. Sci. 5(2), 291–302 (1993)Google Scholar
  16. Seethepalli, A., Adibhatla, B., Mohanty, K.K.: Wettability alteration during surfactant flooding of carbonate reservoirs. Presented at the SPE fourteenth symposium on improved oil recovery, Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA, 17–21 April 2004Google Scholar
  17. Shabani Afrapoli, M., Alipour, S., Torsaeter, O.: Effect of wettability and interfacial tension on microbial improved oil recovery with Rhodococcus sp. 094, SPE-129707. Presented at the IOR symposium, Tulsa, Oklohoma, USA, 24–28 April 2010Google Scholar
  18. Shabani Afrapoli, M., Alipour, S., Torsaeter, O.: Fundamental study of pore scale mechanisms in microbial improved oil recovery processes. Transp. Porous Media (2011). doi: 10.1007/s11242-011-9825-7
  19. Sohrabi, M., Tehrani, D.H., Danesh, A., Henderson, G.D.: Visualization of oil recovery by water alternating gas (WAG) injection using high pressure micromodel-oil wet and mixed wet systems, SPE 71494. Presented at the SPE annual technical conference and exhibition, New Orleans, LA, 30 Sept–3 Oct 2001Google Scholar
  20. Sunde, E., Beeder, J., Nilsen, R.K., Torsvik T.: Aerobic microbial enhanced oil recovery for offshore use, SPE 24204, Tulsa, USA, 22–24 April 1992Google Scholar
  21. Vijapurapu C.S., Rao D.N.: Effect of brine dilution and surfactant concentration on spreading and wettability. Presented at the SPE international symposium on oilfield chemistry, Houston, TX, USA, 5–7 February 2003Google Scholar
  22. Wei, S., Zhihao, Q., Xian, P.R.C., Guo, Q.T.: Characterization of water injection in low permeable rock using sandstone micromodel, SPE paper 86964. Presented at the SPE international thermal operations and heavy oil symposium and Western regional meeting, Bakersfield, CA, 16–18 March 2004Google Scholar
  23. Wu, Y., Shuler, P.J., Blanco, M., Tang, Y., Goddard, W.A.: A study of wetting behavior and surfactant EOR in carbonates with model compounds. Presented at the SPE/DOE symposium on improved oil recovery, Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA, 22–26 April 2006Google Scholar
  24. Yadali Jamaloei B., Kharrat R.: Fundamental study of pore morphology effect in low tension polymer flooding or polymer-assisted dilute surfactant flooding. Transp. Porous Media 76, 199–218 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mehdi Shabani Afrapoli
    • 1
  • Samaneh Alipour
    • 1
  • Ole Torsaeter
    • 1
  1. 1.Norwegian University of Science and Technology, NTNUTrondheimNorway

Personalised recommendations