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Goual Research Group

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The objective of this project is to study the impact of surfactants, microemulsions, and nanoparticles on oil recovery from conventional and unconventional reservoirs. We propose new systematic procedures to screen surfactants and explore synergistic effects in surfactant blends. Measurements are performed under ambient and reservoir conditions using core-flooding experiments combined with x-ray microtomography. The outcomes reveal novel structure-function relationships that relate surfactant molecular architectures to their emulsification, dynamic interfacial tension, wettability, and imbibition behaviors. Results on outcrops and reservoir rocks indicate that rock wettability and roughness play an important in the mechanism of oil recovery with such additives. The effects of several parameters such as surfactant type, oil composition and aging, rock mineralogy and roughness, nature and proportion of solvents, temperature, water chemistry and saturation are investigated in a systematic manner.

Another motivation is to understand the mechanism of interactions involved in oil/brine/rock systems and the displacement mechanisms in subsurface formations using large-scale atomistic molecular dynamics simulations. The goal is to develop an improved insight into the effects of solid-fluid interactions on the threshold capillary pressure of oil/brine displacements in mineral nanopores with different topology and roughness. Fully atomistic models are utilized to represent crude oil, brine, and mineral in order to accommodate electrostatic interactions and H-bonding between the polar molecules and solid surfaces. The interfacial tension between oil and brine and their contact angle on solid surfaces are also simulated. We study the effects of oil composition, brine composition (e.g., salinity, surfactants, etc.) and temperature and pressure conditions on these properties.


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Petroleum Engineering

EN 4015

Dept. 3295

1000 E. University Ave.

Laramie, WY 82071


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1000 E. University Ave. Laramie, WY 82071
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