A study of low salinity water flooding in 1D and 2D



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The goal of this research was to study the effect of salinity on the waterflood of initially oil-wet clay-rich sand packs. Two one-foot long sand packs with 8% initial water saturation and 50% porosity were aged in crude oil for two weeks and flooded with either a low salinity (1000 ppm NaCl, pH 6.3) or a high salinity (20000 ppm CaCl, 20000 ppm MgCl, 20000 ppm NaCl, 20000 PPM KCl, pH 6.2) brine. 1D low salinity floods yield an incremental oil recovery of 15% and a significant change in the relative permeability. Initial breakthrough brine analysis showed that the low salinity flood results in more cation exchange activity compared to the high salinity case. A pH change of up to 1.4 point was witnessed for the high salinity case whereas the low salinity case had a 1.1 point pH change. The pH stayed below 7 in both low salinity and high salinity cases. The relative permeability of the low salinity case indicates a more water-wet state than that of the high salinity flood.
The 2D study focused on capturing the movement of the water saturation fronts in transparent 2D sand packs via digital recordings. Two-dimensional sand packs of the oil-aged clay-rich sands were constructed in plastic quarter 5-spot models. Secondary water floods were performed. Low salinity flooding yielded higher oil recovery at breakthrough than the high salinity case. There was more areal bypassing in the case of low salinity flooding. It was difficult to pack the 2D cells uniformly which affected the water floods.