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Enhanced stability and high temperature-tolerance of CO₂ foam based on a long-chain viscoelastic surfactant for CO₂ foam flooding

Zhang, Panfeng, Ren, Shaoran, Shan, Yu, Zhang, Liang, Liu, Yizhe, Huang, Lijuan, Pei, Shufeng
RSC advances 2019 v.9 no.15 pp. 8672-8683
alkylphenols, bicarbonates, carbon dioxide, foams, surfactants, temperature, viscoelasticity, viscometers, viscosity
CO₂ switchable foams have gained increasing attention recently for their smart properties. However, their performance at high temperature and high pressure has been less documented. In this study, a long-chain viscoelastic surfactant, N1-(3-aminopropyl)-N3-octadecylpropane-1,3-diamine bicarbonate (ODPTA) has been studied as a CO₂ foam agent for its application in CO₂ flooding in complex and harsh reservoir conditions, and the foam performance under static and dynamic conditions was tested up to 160 °C and 10.5 MPa using a visualized foam-meter and in sand-pack flooding experiments. The viscosity of the ODPTA and conventional surfactant solutions saturated with dissolved CO₂ was measured using a long coiled-tube viscometer at HTHP, and its effect on the high temperature-tolerance of CO₂ foams has been analyzed. The experimental results show that CO₂ foam generated using ODPTA is much more stable than the conventional surfactants (such as SDS and alkylphenol ethoxylates) and has high temperature-tolerance up to 160 °C, and has also exhibited excellent mobility control in CO₂ flooding experiments. The viscosity of the ODPTA–CO₂ bulk phase can be maintained as high as 12 mPa s under 160 °C and 10.5 MPa, which is much higher than that of the conventional surfactant solutions (similar to water). ODPTA's good foam performance with extremely high temperature-tolerance can be attributed to its high bulk phase viscosity in the brine water saturated with CO₂.