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Investigation and Characterization of Robust Nanocomposite Preformed Particle Gel for Enhanced Oil Recovery Yifu Long, Ze Wang, Haifeng Ding, Jiaming Geng, and Baojun Bai Energy Fuels, Just Accepted Manuscript • DOI: 10.1021/acs.energyfuels.9b00778 • Publication Date (Web): 13 May 2019 Downloaded from http://pubs.acs.org on May 13, 2019
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Investigation and Characterization of Robust Nanocomposite Preformed Particle Gel for Enhanced Oil Recovery
Yifu Long, Ze Wang, Haifeng Ding, Jiaming Geng, and Baojun Bai*
4 5 6 7
Department of Geosciences and Geological and Petroleum Engineering, Missouri University of Science and Technology, Rolla, MO 65409, USA *To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: [email protected] 1. Abstract
A robust starch grafting nanocomposite-preformed particle gel (SN-PPG) with superior
viscoelasticity and thermal stability is developed to improve the oil recovery. The effects of
crosslinker, initiator, starch, sodium montmorillonite (Na-MMT) and thereof additives were
systematically studied. Through introducing starch and Na-MMT, the storage modulus of swollen
gel was ameliorated from 570 to 1420 Pa. At 80
aging 90 d, meanwhile showed an inflection temperature of 187.3
Calorimetry (DSC) measurements, which indicated an excellent thermostability. Moreover, the
SN-PPG displayed a reinforced pH and salinity tolerance compared with the conventional PPG. In
core-flooding tests, the SN-PPG successfully blocked the fracture aperture and improved the oil
recovery by 29.86-38.59 %. Furthermore, the characterizations involving Fourier Transform-Infrared
Spectroscopy (FT-IR) and Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) confirmed the decoration of
starch grafting and Na-MMT nanocompositing. The results turned out the robust SN-PPG could
be a candidate to remedy the conformance problem and improve the oil recovery for high-
temperature and high-salinity reservoir.
, the SN-PPG exhibited thermally stable after in the Differential Scanning
Excessive water production is one of the most severe problems during the development of mature oilfields.
Among various remediation aiming at water-production control, gel treatment has been proven one of the
most cost-effective approaches. In a gel treatment, a well-designed amount of liquid-based or particles-
based polymeric agent will be pumped to seal or block the thief-zone which was comprised by fractures or
high-permeability channels. Subsequently, the injected water will be diverted towards the unswept zone
where is rich of remaining oil rather than being produced from the production well . Since the first
successful operation in 1985 , technologies regarding gel treatments have boosted and thereby were
categorized via their treating materials involving in-situ gels, preformed particle gel (PPG), and
(6) The fractured core was re-mounted, confined and brine flooded via a flow rate of 2 mL/min. Brine
was injected until the water cut reached 98%, in the meantime, oil recovery was quantified according to the
oil production from the outlet. This process was the first water flooding.
(7) The gel treatment was carried out after the first water flooding. Without carrier fluid, swollen SN-PPG
particles (0.48-0.8 mm) was placed in the accumulator and then injected into fracture aperture at a flow rate
of 1 mL/min. SN-PPG of 12.3 FV in volume had been injected for the fracture remediation
(8) Second water flooding took place subsequently, which was similar to the first water flooding. Brine
was injected at a flow rate of 2 mL/min until water cut raised up to 98% so that the residual resistance factor
(Frr) and cumulative oil recovery can be calculated based on injection pressure and oil production
10 11 12
respectively. Residual resistance factor was calculated with the following equation in which Pa represented pressure difference after gel treatment, and Pb stood for pressure difference before gel treatment.
13 14 15
The incremental oil recovery was quantified via the following equation where ES, EF represented cumulative oil recovery of second water flooding and first water flooding respectively.
E ES EF
Fourier transform-infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR)
FT-IR spectra were characterized using Nexus 470 FT-IR (Thermo Electron Corp.). To prepare testing
pellets, PAM (PPG3), starch-g-PAM (PPG16), and SN-PPG (PPG23) were first oven dried, and then mixed
with KBr at a ratio of 1:100 (wt/wt). The characteristic peaks were collected with a setting of 16 signal-
averaged scans at resolution of 2 cm-1 in mid-IR region (4000–400 cm−1).
Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) study
The microstructure was characterized with Hitachi S-4700 Field Emission Scanning Electron Microscope.
Swelled gel particles (PPG3 and PPG23) were frozen with liquid nitrogen prior to a 12 h freezing-dry
process. The dried polymeric networks were carefully placed on conductive tape that was attached on the
stainless-steel stub. The specimen was allowed for a spray of Au/Pd nano-particles for 3 min. Finally, SEM
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imaging was performed using a field emitter source via a mixed detector at 15 kV accelerating voltage, and
9.5 µA current.
4. Results and discussions
Effect of Crosslinker Concentration
The monomer and initiator concentrations were initially controlled at 20.94 wt% and 0.0498 wt% (PPG1-
5). Through altering crosslinker concentration, optimum crosslinker concentration was achieved upon
swelling ratio and storage modulus.
As displayed in Figure 5, G’ was enhanced by the increase of MBA; meanwhile, the SR was diminished.
According to Flory–Rehner theory, both gel strength and swelling ratio were related to the crosslinking
density of gel network. In PPG1 and PPG2, MBA concentration was insufficient to buildup crosslinking
points and establish rigid 3-D network. The absence of rigid network would not interfere water diffusion.
Instead the larger “pore structure” in network facilitated water retention. Despite that PPG4 and PPG5
characterized superior G’, these specimens were excessively crosslinked and revealed unfavorably brittle.
In general, the moderate concentration, 0.0564 wt%, formulated in PPG3 was considered appropriated and
optimum. Thus crosslinker concentration was maintained at 0.0564 wt% in the following studies. 15
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