The use of silicon dioxide (SiO2) nanoparticles for enhanced oil recovery is novel, and is attractive because of the cost effectiveness, considering low concentrations required for enhanced oil recovery technique, and its surface-active properties for both interfacial tension reduction, and possible wettability alterations. Previous laboratory scale investigations have demonstrated a potential of SiO2 nanoparticles as water additive for enhanced oil recovery (EOR). In this study, the potential of injecting SiO2 nanoparticles as water additive is experimentally investigated for EOR application in Ben Nevis Formation from Hebron Field, offshore Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. Only 30% of its crude oil in Ben Nevis Formation from Hebron Field is projected to be recoverable. Therefore, the investigation of EOR method requires attention now, since first oil is expected in 2017.

The experiments for this study are designed to be as realistic as possible. Unique from the previous laboratory investigations that used deionized water or simple synthetic brine as a medium to disperse nanoparticles, the SiO2 nanoparticles are dispersed in seawater obtained from Grand Banks, offshore Newfoundland, of which nanoparticles will be added to in the Hebron field. Interfacial tension, contact angle, and coreflooding experiments are conducted at Hebron field temperature and pressure (62 °C and 19.00 MPa). The results showed that the SiO2 nanofluids decrease interfacial tension and contact angle, indicating positive impact on the oil recovery. Preliminary coreflooding experiments are conducted using 0.01 and 0.03 wt% SiO2 nanofluid, with Berea standard cores, consisting of similar mineralogical composition as the lower facies of Ben Nevis Formation. The results show that 0.01 and 0.03 wt% SiO2 nanoflooding both increased additional recovery by 3.3% and 9.3%, respectively.


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