Characterization of Microemulsion of Crude Oil Using Alkali-Surfactant Solution

알칼리-계면활성제 용액을 이용한 인도네시아 A원유의 마이크로에멀전 특성

  • Lee, Sang Heon (Department of Applied Chemistry and Biological Engineering, Chungnam National University) ;
  • Kim, Sang Kyum (Graduate School of Energy Science and Technology, Chungnam National University) ;
  • Bae, Wisup (Department of Energy and Mineral Resources Engineering, Sejong University) ;
  • Rhee, Young Woo (Graduate School of Energy Science and Technology, Chungnam National University)
  • 이상헌 (충남대학교 바이오응용화학과) ;
  • 김상겸 (충남대학교 에너지과학기술대학원) ;
  • 배위섭 (세종대학교 에너지자원공학과) ;
  • 이영우 (충남대학교 에너지과학기술대학원)
  • Received : 2014.12.31
  • Accepted : 2015.04.01
  • Published : 2015.06.10


For the enhanced oil recovery, one of the most important factors is to determine the surfactant formulation in chemical flood. The objective of this study is to analyze the microemulsion formed between the alkali-surfactant (AS) solution and A crude oil for screening surfactants. The alkali-surfactant solution was manufactured by using the surfactant purchased from AK ChemTech. $C_{16}-PO_7-SO_4$ and sodium carbonate solution were used as surfactant and alkaline, respectively. Both TEGBE and IBA were used as a co-solvent. The AS solution and A crude oil can form a Type III middle phase microemulsion at the salinity from 0.0 wt%~3.6 wt%. Increasing the salinity causes the phase transition of microemulsion from the lower (Type I) to middle (Type III) to upper (Type II) phase. Interfacial tension (IFT) values calculated by Huh's equation were in good agreement with ultralow IFT. According to this characteristic, the surfactant purchased from a domestic company can be applied to the enhanced oil recovery.


surfactant;microemulsion;interfacial tension;phase behavior


Supported by : 한국에너지기술평가원(KETEP)


  1. D. Levitt, A. Jackson, C. Heinson, L. N. Britton, T. Malik, V. Dwarakanath, and G. A. Pope, Identification and evaluation of high-performance EOR surfactants, SPE J., 12, 243-253 (2009).
  2. G. A. Pope, B. Wang, and K. Tsaur, A sensitivity study of micellar/polymer flooding. SPE J., 19, 357-368, (1979).
  3. R. N. Healy, R. L. Reed, and D. K. Stenmark, Multiphase microemulsion systems, SPE J., 16, 147-160 (1976).
  4. M. Delshad, D. Bhuyan, G. A. Pope, and L. W. Lake, Effect of capillary number on the residual saturation of a three-phase micellar solution, SPE Enhanced Oil Recovery Symposium, April 20-23, Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA (1986).
  5. L. D. Zhang and G. J. Hirasaki, Favorable attributes of alkali-surfactant-polymer flooding SPE/DOE Symposium on Improved Oil Recovery, April 22-26, Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA (2006).
  6. P. M. Wilson and C. F. Brandner, Aqueous surfactant solutions which exhibit ultra-low tensions at the oil-water interface, J. Coll. Int. Sci., 60, 473-479 (1977).
  7. W. R. Foster, A low-tension water flooding process, J. Pet. Tech., 25, 205-210 (1973).
  8. Y. Zhu, G. Jian, and Z. Wang, Development progress of surfactants for chemical combination flooding, Adv. Mater. Res., 524-527, 1673-1680 (2012).
  9. J. G. Southwick, Y. Svec, G. Chilek, and G. T. Shahin, The effect of live crude on alkaline-surfactant-polymer formulations: implications for final formulation design, SPE J., 17, 352-361 (2012).
  10. R. Kumar and K. K. Mohanty, ASP flooding of viscous oils, SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, September 19-22, Florence, Italy (2010).
  11. A. K. Flaaten, Q. P. Nguyen, J. Zhang, and H. Mohammadi, Alkaline/surfactant/polymer chemical flooding without the need for soft water, SPE J., 15, 184-196 (2010).
  12. K. A. Elraies, I. M. Tan, M. Awang, and M. T. Fathaddin, A new approach to low-cost, high performance chemical flooding system, SPE Production and Operations Conference and Exhibition, June 8-10, Tunis, Tunisia (2010).
  13. A. Hussain, P. F. Luchham, and T. F. Tadros, Phase behavior of pH dependent microemulsions at high temperatures and high salinities, Oil Gas Sci. Technol., 52, 228-231 (1997).
  14. R. N. Healy, R. L. Reed, in: D. O. Shah, and R. S. Schechter (eds.). Improved Oil Recovery by Surfactants and Polymer Flooding, 383-437, Academic Press, New York, USA (1977).
  15. M. Bourrel, J. L. Salager, R. S. Schechter, and W. H. Wade, A correlation for phase behavior of nonionic surfactants, J. Colloid Interface Sci., 75, 451-461 (1980).
  16. J. H. Burk, Comparison of sodium carbonate, sodium hydroxide, and sodium orthosilicate for EOR, SPE J., 2, 9-16 (1987).
  17. K. H. Cheng, Chemical consumption during alkaline flooding: a comparative evaluation, SPE Enhanced Oil Recovery Symposium, April 20-23, Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA (1986).
  18. Q. Liu and M. Dong, Surfactant enhanced alkaline flooding for western canadian heavy oil recovery, Colloid Surf. A, 293, 63-71 (2007).
  19. R. N. Healy, R. L. Reed, and C. W. Carpenter, A laboratory study of microemulsion flooding, Soc. Pet. Eng. J., 15, 87-100 (1975).
  20. W. Xu, S. C. Ayirala, and D. N. Rao, Measurement of surfactant-induced interfacial interactions at reservoir conditions, SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, October 9-12, Dallas, Texas (2005).
  21. Z. Lu, L. Lan, Z. Sui, and J. Y. Yu, Effect of acidic components on the dynamic interfacial tensions in surfactant/alkali/acidic crude oil systems, J. Disper. Sci. Technol., 22, 41-55 (2001).
  22. E. Hoff, B. Nystrom, and B. Lindman, Polymer-surfactant interactions in dilute mixtures of a nonionic cellulose derivative and an anionic surfactant, Langmuir, 17, 28-34 (2001).
  23. Y. Zhu, Y. Zhang, and J. Niu, The research progress in the alkali-free surfactant-polymer combination flooding technique, Pet. Exp. Dev., 39, 346-351 (2012).
  24. X. Cao, J. Zhang, and A. Zhang, Development and application of dilute surfactant-polymer flooding system for Shengli oilfield, J. Pet. Sci. Tech., 65, 45-50 (2009).
  25. V. Sahni, R. M. Dean, C. Britton, and D. H. Kim, The role of co-solvents and co-surfactants in making chemical floods robust, SPE Improved Oil Recovery Symposium, April 24-28, Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA (2010).
  26. S. Li, Y. Zhu, and Y. Zhao, Evaluation of pilot results of alkali-surfactant-polymer flooding in Daqing Oilfield, Acta Pet. Sin., 26, 56-59 (2005).
  27. P. A. Windor, Solvent Properties of Amphiphilic Compounds, 1st ed., Butterworth, London, UK (1954).
  28. B. M. Knickerbocker, Pattern of three-liquid phase behavior illustrated by alcohol-hydrocarbon-water-salt mixtures, J. Phys. Chem., 86, 393-400 (1982).
  29. C. Holmberg, S. Nilsson, S. K. Singh, and L. O. Sundelof, Hydrodynamic and thermodynamic aspects of the SDS-EHEC-water system, J. Phys. Chem., 96, 871-880 (1992).
  30. Y. Touhami, D. Rana, V. Hornof, and G. H. Neale, Effects of added surfactant on the dynamic interfacial tension behavior of acidic oil/alkaline systems, J. Coll. Int. Sci., 239, 226-229 (2001).
  31. C. Huh, Interfacial tensions and solubilizing ability of a microemulsion phase that coexists with oil and brine, J. Coll. Int. Sci., 71, 408-426 (1979).