Experimental investigation on plugging performance of CO2 microbubbles in porous media

Nam Nguyen Hai Le, Yuichi Sugai, Hung Vo-Thanh, Ronald Nguele, Ronald Ssebadduka, Ning Wei

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1 Citation (Scopus)


To further improve carbon dioxide enhanced oil recovery CO2-EOR efficiency in heterogeneous reservoirs, the use of CO2 microbubbles as a temporary blocking agent is attracting widespread interest due to their significant stability. This study aims to investigate the plugging performance of CO2 microbubbles in both homogeneous and heterogeneous porous media through a series of sandpack experiments. First of all, CO2 microbubble fluids were generated by stirring CO2 gas diffused into polymer (Xanthan gum (XG)) and surfactant (Sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS)) solution with different gas: liquid ratios. Then, CO2 microbubbles fluids were injected into single-core and dual-core sandpack systems. The results show that the rheological behaviors of CO2 microbubble fluids in this study were followed the Power-law model at room temperature. The apparent viscosity of CO2 microbubble fluid increased as the gas: liquid ratio increased. CO2 microbubbles could block pore throat due to the “Jamin effect” and increase the resistance in porous media. The blocking ability of CO2 microbubbles reached an optimal value at the gas:liquid ratio of 20% in the homogeneous porous media. Moreover, the selective pugging ability of CO2 microbubbles in dual-core sandpack tests was significant. CO2 microbubbles exhibited a good flow control profile in the high permeability region and flexibility to flow over the pore constrictions in the low permeability region, leading to an ultimate fractional flow proportion (50%:50%) in the dual-core sandpack model with a permeability differential of 1.0:2.0 darcy. The fractional flow ratio was considerable compared with a polymer injection. At the higher heterogeneity of porous media (0.5:2.0 darcy), CO2 microbubble fluid could still establish a good swept performance. This makes CO2 microbubble fluid injection a promising candidate for heterogeneous reservoirs where conventional CO2 flooding processes have limited ability. This finding would be helpful in developing the utilization of CO2 microbubbles in EOR operation by better understanding their plugging mechanism in porous media.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110187
JournalJournal of Petroleum Science and Engineering
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Fuel Technology
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology


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