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Energy Security, Few Possible Options - page 9 / 25

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(2) Reversible surfactant for Improved Oil Recovery (IOR)

Surfactant flooding, a known method of IOR to flush out oil from the reservoir.

Production increase can be as much as 28% when pumped with water into reservoir.

Creates a major problem to separate water coming out as oil-water emulsion. Complicated and expensive, needing other chemicals and heat.

Researchers at Queens University, Ontario, Canada have found an improved surfactant, a type of amidine,  which can be switched off and on using CO2 and Air.

Can recover and re-use the surfactant.

At oil prices above $20%, this has now become very attractive.

Surfactant shows promise to work almost in all oil fields, including the oil sands of Canada.

According to Gary Pope, Director, Center for Petroleum Geosystems Engg, Univ of Texas, Austin, surfactant injection is  “one of the hottest EOR methods at the moment and increasing exponentially”.

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