PhD thesis examiner: Application of Magnetic Field, Electrical Heating, and Nanoparticles as more Environmentally Friendly Techniques for Enhanced Oil Recovery in Austin Chalk

Activity: Examination


This research focussed on oil recovery from carbonate rocks and investigated the potential of using four different techniques as alternatives to conventional enhanced oil recovery (EOR) techniques. These were: 1) magnetic field (MF) generated by magnets, 2) a hybrid technique involving the use of magnets and nanoparticles (NPs), 3) electrical heating (EH) generated by direct current (DC), and 4) EH combined with NPs. Detailed laboratory experiments were undertaken to gain new insights into the mechanisms through which these four techniques recover oil. Experiments based on spontaneous imbibition were carried out, where modifications were made to Amott cells, the Kruss drop shape analyser DSA-100, and the zeta analyser. A substantial increase (8.5 times) in oil recovery from ‘oil-wet’ samples was achieved when magnets were added at the beginning of spontaneous imbibition. Adding NPs increased the oil recovery further as compared with magnets alone. This increase was more pronounced when NPs were mixed in deionised water (DW), resulting in an oil recovery of 28%. EH increased oil production more than magnets alone because of the heat (25.7% oil recovery for seawater (SW)). Furthermore, imbibition times were shorter with the application of EH than magnets. Adding NPs to EH yielded a higher oil recovery than any of the aforementioned techniques by as much as 32.4%, as a consequence of the synergistic benefits of EH and NPs. Moreover, a new ΔT parameter was introduced to establish a relationship between disjoining pressure and production rate. Different oilfield applications, with their associated challenges, were proposed in this research. Based on the laboratory results, distinctive designs were proposed for field applications to reduce costs, save energy, and reduce CO2 emissions. In addition, this research aimed to support the introduction of clean alternative EOR techniques to extract hydrocarbons during the energy transition. This will be required to meet the global 2050 net-zero carbon emissions targets and to implement the Glasgow Climate Pact, agreed at COP26, which strengthened global commitments to limit emissions.
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