Explicit continuum scale modeling of low-salinity mechanisms

Holger Ott, Kata Kurgyis, Johannes Hommel, Bernd Flemisch, Rainer Helmig

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Understanding the influence of injection water composition on the displacement efficiency has been a long-standing issue in reservoir engineering; a reduction of the injection water salinity can lead to additional oil production, which is considered a low-cost and environmentally friendly method for enhanced oil recovery. Several underlying chemical mechanisms have been identified; however, the identification of the governing mechanisms remains difficult and specific to the chemical setting of the reservoir and injection water composition. In this work, we implement two potential mechanisms, namely, double layer expansion and multicomponent ion exchange, to achieve an explicit description of low-salinity effects in the open-source continuum-scale flow simulator DuMuX, with the goal of designing and interpreting experiments, and upscaling the results. By assuming sets of input parameters, we show that there is a minimum required core length dependent on the dispersion of the chemical flooding front dominated by sample heterogeneity. Above this length scale, the saturation profile is fully developed, and the chemical effluent analysis is conclusive, which both is required to calibrate continuum scale models. The change in the chemical water composition shows a characteristic fingerprint for both investigated mechanisms and therefore allows the identification of the leading low-salinity mechanism. The model is publicly available.
Original languageEnglish
Article number108336
JournalJournal of Petroleum Science and Engineering
Issue number199
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2021

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