RESEARCH ARTICLE


Study of Influences of Fracture Additives on Stability of Crude Oil Emulsion



Hongbo Fang1, Mingxia Wang2, *, Xiaoyun Liu1, Weinan Jin3, Xiangyang Ma3, Xiangyu Meng3, Feng Yan3, *
1 Sinopec Petroleum Engineering Co., Ltd. Dongying 257026, P. R. China
2 School of Materials Science and Engineering, Tianjin Polytechnic University, Tianjin 300387, P. R. China
3 School of Environment and Chemical Engineering, Tianjin Polytechnic University, Tianjin 300387, P. R. China


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© 2018 Fang et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode. This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the School of Materials Science and Engineering, Tianjin Polytechnic University, Tianjin 300387, P. R. China, Tel: +86 22 83955074; E-mails: esmbee@163.com; yanfeng.yxm@hotmail.com


Abstract

Background:

A hydraulic fracture is a key technology to increase production of the low permeability oil fields. Fracture additives such as gels, friction reducers, pH adjusters and clay stabilizers were injected into the underground. While more than 50% of the fracture fluid remains underground. The residue of fracture fluid comes out with the produced liquid (a mixture of crude oil and water) in the subsequent oil recovery process, which results in a highly stable crude oil-water emulsion.

Objective:

The stability and stable mechanism of the emulsion with fracture fluid have been experimentally investigated.

Materials and Methods:

The influences of fracture additives and components of crude oil on the stability of emulsion were investigated by bottle test and microscopic examination. The interfacial tension and modulus of dilation were explored by a spinning drop interfacial tension meter and an interface expansion rheometer, respectively.

Results:

The fracture additives played the key role on the emulsion stability. On one hand, the interface energy of oil-water was reduced by friction reducer (IFT was decreased from 24.0 mN/m to 1.9 mN/m), which was a favor for the formation of an emulsion. On the other hand, the dilational modulus of crude oil-water film was increased by hydroxypropyl guar and pH adjuster (Na2CO3) to form a viscoelastic film, which resulted in a highly stable emulsion.

Conclusion:

The residual fracture fluid accompanied by produced liquid resulted in a highly stable emulsion. The emulsion with fracture additives was difficult to be broken, which may affect the normal production of the oil field. A positive strategy such as developing demulsifier with high efficient should be put onto the schedule.

Keywords: Low-permeability oil reservoirs, Fracture additives, Crude oil components, Emulsion stability, Interfacial tension, Dilational modulus.