A Critical review of Low Salinity Water Flooding: Mechanism, Laboratory and Field Application

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Journal of Molecular Liquids
Low-salinity water flooding (LSW) is a promising new technique for enhancing oil recovery (EOR) in both sandstone and carbonate reservoirs. The potential of LSW has drawn the attention of the oil industry in the past decade. Along with the few successful field applications of LSW, various studies in this field in recent years have been conducted mainly at the lab scale. The main objective of this critical review was to investigate the potential of this EOR technique in improving oil recovery and the mechanism under which it operates. As a result, various mechanisms have been proposed. However, no consensus on the dominant mechanism(s) in neither sandstones nor carbonate reservoirs has been reported, and the oil industry is continuing to discover the leading effects. Herein, we provide the chronicle of LSW, analysis of the proposed mechanisms of enhancing oil recovery using LSW in recent findings, some laboratory observations, and finally, some successful field applications. From this review, despite the promising potential justified by both laboratory studies and field applications, there exists a large number of unsuccessful field case studies. LSW is viewed as an immature EOR technique with many ambiguities because definitive conclusions about which mechanism(s) is responsible for improving oil recovery remains elusive and a bewilderment to the oil industry.
Low-salinity water flooding; Enhanced oil recovery; Cation exchange capacity; Wettability; Multicomponent ionic exchange; Osmosis; Emulsification
Katende, A., & Sagala, F. (2019). A critical review of low salinity water flooding: Mechanism, laboratory and field application. Journal of Molecular Liquids, 278, 627-649.https://doi.org/10.1016/j.molliq.2019.01.037