Advanced waterflooding in chalk reservoirs: Understanding of underlying mechanisms

Adeel Zahid, Sara Bülow Sandersen, Erling Halfdan Stenby, Nicolas von Solms, Alexander Shapiro

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Over the last decade, a number of studies have shown SO42−, Ca2+ and Mg2+ to be potential determining ions, which may be added to the injected brine for improving oil recovery during waterflooding in chalk reservoirs. However the understanding of the mechanism leading to an increase in oil recovery is still not clear. In this work the crude oil/seawater ions interaction at different temperatures, pressures and sulfate ion concentrations is investigated. Our results show that sulfate ions may help decrease the crude oil viscosity when brine is contacted with oil under high temperature and pressure. We have also observed formation of a microemulsion phase between brine and oil with the increase in sulfate ion concentration at high temperature and pressure. In addition, sulfate ions can reduce interfacial tension (IFT) between oil and water. We propose that the decrease in viscosity and formation of a microemulsion phase could be the possible reasons for the observed increase in oil recovery with sulfate ions at high temperature in chalk reservoirs besides the mechanism of the rock wettability alteration, which has been reported in most previous studies.
Original languageEnglish
JournalColloids and Surfaces A: Physicochemical and Engineering Aspects
Issue number1-3
Pages (from-to)281-290
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • Viscosity
  • Emulsification
  • Oil recovery
  • Chalk reservoirs
  • Waterflooding
  • IFT


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