Enhancement of oil transport through nanopores via cation exchange in thin brine films at rock-oil interface

XiangYu Hong, Xu Jin, Man Shen, JingCun Fan, HengAn Wu, FengChao Wang

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Interactions at the oil/brine/rock interfaces play a pivotal role in the mobility of crude oil within reservoir matrices. Unraveling the microscopic mechanisms of these interactions is crucial for ion-engineered water flooding in secondary and tertiary oil recovery. In this study, the occurrence and transport behavior of crude oil in kaolinite nanopores covered with thin brine films was investigated by molecular dynamics simulation. There is an apparent interface layered phenomenon for the liquid molecules in slit pores and the polar oil components primarily concentrate at the oil/brine interfacial region and form various binding connections with ions. The interfacial interactions between the polar oil components and brine ions exhibit an inhibitory effect on the transport of crude oil through nanopores. The interaction mechanism between acetic acid molecules and hydrated ions was elucidated by interaction modes and interaction intensity, which was proved to illustrate the flow difference in different brine film systems. Moreover, a strategy of exchanging the binding sites of divalent cations with acetic acid molecules by monovalent cations with a higher concentration was proposed. The cation exchange scheme was further validated, demonstrating an enhancement in the oil mobility within nanopores. These findings deepen our understanding of oil/brine/rock interfacial interactions and provide a significant molecular perspective on ion-engineered water flooding for enhanced oil recovery.

Document Type: Original article

Cited as: Hong, X., Jin, X., Shen, M., Fan, J., Wu, H., Wang, F. Enhancement of oil transport through nanopores via cation exchange in thin brine films at rock-oil interface. Advances in Geo-Energy Research, 2024, 12(1): 22-34. https://doi.org/10.46690/ager.2024.04.03


Oil/brine/rock interactions, oil transport, brine films, cation exchange, molecular dynamics simulation

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.46690/ager.2024.04.03


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