Simulation of Surfactant Based Enhanced Oil Recovery

Wan Rosli Wan Sulaiman*, 1, 2, Euy Soo Lee1
1 Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, Dongguk University, 3-26, Pil-Dong, Chung-gu, Seoul, 100-715 Korea,
2 Petroleum Engineering Department, Faculty of Petroleum and Renewable Energy Engineering, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, 81310 Skudai, Johor, Malaysia

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© 2012 Rosli Wan Sulaiman 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: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Correspondence: * Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, Dongguk University, 3-26, Pil-Dong, Chung-gu, Seoul, 100-715, Korea; Tel: +82-10-8320-2711; Fax: +82-2-2266-1848; E-mail:


Surfactant flooding is an important process for enhanced oil recovery. A substantial amount of remaining oil resides in reservoirs especially in carbonate oil reservoirs that have low primary and water-flood oil recovery. Most of the surfactant flooding studies to date has been performed in water-wet sandstone reservoirs. As a result, the effects of heterogeneity and wettability of carbonates on surfactant flooding efficiency are fairly unknown. The purpose of this simulation study was to determine the effects of wettability and wettability alteration on Dodecylbenzene Sulfonate surfactant flooding in carbonate reservoirs. This study used the multi-phase, multi-component, surfactant flooding simulator called UTCHEM. The base case results showed that additional 27.8% of oil recovered after water-flooding process. Sensitivity analyses of key parameters such as chemical slug size and concentrations, salinity, reservoir heterogeneity and surfactant adsorption were performed to optimize a surfactant design for a mixed-wet dolomite reservoir. The study was then extended to simulating wettability alteration during the field scale surfactant flood. The results of modeling the wettability alteration showed that significant differences in injectivity and oil recovery are caused by the changes in the mobility of the injected fluid. As the use of surfactant flooding spreads into the reservoir especially oil-wet and mixed-wet reservoirs, the importance of surfactant-based wettability alteration will become important.

Keywords: Dodecylbenzene Sulfonate, surfactant, simulation, wettability.