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Research on Enhanced Oil Recovery: Past, Present and Future

  • J. J. Taber

Abstract

Past and present research on Enhanced Oil Recovery is reviewed with emphasis on the surface phenomena involved. The nature of capillary pressure phenomena in porous media has been understood for some time, and much research has been devoted towards the alteration of the surface forces which prevent the efficient displacement of oil by water. Early work often treated surface active agents as wetting agents designed to remove the oil from the solid surface by classical detergent action. More recent work has recognized the strong influence of oil-water interfacial tension on the displacement of discontinuous oil blobs or ganglia. Therefore, surfactant systems are now being developed to produce the lowest possible oil-water interfacial tensions by adjusting the various components and thus, the phase behavior in the total system. In addition to inter-facial tension, the phase behavior itself can strongly influence the oil displacement. The surfactant work, current work in blob mechanics, current research in CO2 flooding, and past results in alcohol flooding all indicate that an expanding oil phase is very important for effective oil displacement. Therefore, much current research is directed toward methods which utilize materials (including gases such as CO2 and mobility control agents) to dislodge oil blobs, or to prevent their entrapment by maintaining a continuous oil phase and improving sweep efficiency during displacement. The general direction of future research on enhanced oil recovery is predicted.

Keywords

Contact Angle Interfacial Tension Phase Behavior Capillary Number Recede Contact Angle 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. J. Taber
    • 1
  1. 1.New Mexico Petroleum Recovery Research CenterNew Mexico Institute of Mining and TechnologySocorroUSA

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