The Effect of Physico-Chemical Factors on the Stability and Transport of Clay Particles



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Clays which exist in formations in the vicinity of injection and disposal wells is a worldwide problem in the petroleum industry.

Clays can be categorized as two major groups: swelling clays, which include smectite group clays, and dispersing clays, which include the kaolinite groups of clays. Therefore, two basic damage mechanisms of clay minerals are swelling and dispersion. Both mechanisms cause pore plugging, and thus aggravate hydrocarbon ease of flow.

In this thesis, the effect of temperature, injected water chemical composition, pH, and flowrate of the injected fluid were tested experimentally. Clay mineralogy, chemistry, and composition of the exchangeable cations were also examined. The existing theoretical models of evaluation of forces between clay particles and the rock matrix were used to quantify the interactions.

Coreflood experiments were conducted to determine the effect of parameters such as variation of temperature, flowrate, pH, presence of various salts in working solution and their concentration.

The results obtained from experimental and theoretical work show that clay minerals in sandstone formation are subject to fines migration and can cause a detrimental impact on the reservoir permeability. Every aforementioned factor has its influence on clays behavior and therefore, a degree of fines migration. The work accomplished summarizes and concludes what parameters sensitize clays migration. Moreover, recommendations for formation damage due to fines migration are given. The scope of work presented can be useful for petroleum engineers as well as geologists and clay mineralogists.