Tuned water may improve Saudi waterflooding

By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, July 29
-- Minimal chemical alteration to injection water may help increase oil recovery, researchers at Saudi Aramco's EXPEC Advanced Research Center say.

“If the current lab results are demonstrated in the field, it will change the way we conduct waterflooding in the company,” said Amin H. Nasser, senior vice-president of exploration and producing for Aramco. “The application of this approach will not be limited to mature fields but also to fields in early development stages.”

At the laboratory scale, early tests indicate significant incremental oil recovery from Arab-D carbonate reservoirs, the company says.

Aramco’s main seawater treatment facility, Qurayyah, processes millions of barrels per day of water for injection into the giant Ghawar and Khurais oil fields.

The research focuses on optimizing water properties such as salinity and ionic interactions without adding foreign fluids or chemicals.

“This research seems to have changed our perception of waterflooding from being a mere physical process—increasing reservoir energy and sweeping oil toward producers—to one that also entails chemical interactions between reservoir fluids and rocks,” said Mohammed Y. Al-Qahtani, executive director of petroleum engineering and development for Aramco.

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