Energy Policy Act of 2005 (Ultra-deepwater and Unconventional Resources Program)
Game Changing Technology of Polymeric Surfactants for Tertiary Oil Recovery in the Illinois Basin
Power Environmental and Energy Research Institute (PEER Institute), Covina, CA
MidAmerican Energy LLC
The Power Environmental Energy Research Institute (PEER) has developed a series of functional polymeric surfactants (FPS) chemicals which have these features: (1) increase water viscosity at reasonable polymer concentration (<3000 ppm); (2) reduced oil and water interfacial tension (10-1 dyne/cm); and (3) reasonable thermal stability under typical reservoir condition. Our preliminary laboratory core flood experiments show a significant improvement by using these FPSs as compared with a conventional polymer flood. This breakthrough technol-ogy that uses a single component instead of multiple components as in traditional Surfactant Polymer (SP) flooding has the potential of saving millions of dollars for mature field tertiary oil recovery operations. Our data has already drawn significant interest from mature oil field producers where they cannot afford to do expensive conventional Surfactant Polymer or Alkaline Polymer Surfactant (ASP) for enhance oil recovery (EOR). In order to develop this low-cost EOR process for small producers with mature oil fields, we propose to do a thorough laboratory evaluation and mechanism study to understand why FPSs are superior chemical agents. We will also work with our small producer partner to optimize a polymeric surfactant (PS) EOR process toward deployment for specific oil and water conditions for a field test candidate in the Illinois Basin.
The proposed work includes (1) synthesis and optimization of FPS for the lower water/oil interfacial tension (IFT), (2) understand the fundamental mechanism of improved oil recovery by using FPS chemicals, (3) comparison between the PS system and conventional SP or polymer EOR performance under well controlled laboratory conditions, (4) evaluate oil and water emulsion issues for the PS system under oil reservoir conditions, and (5) based on laboratory evaluation and testing results, and input concerning typical Illinois Basin small producer field conditions provide suggested field designs and economic evaluation of the PS EOR potential for this important mature oil field region.
Principal Investigator: Yongchun Tang (PEER Institute)
Project Duration: 2 years