Surface Chemistry of Oil Recovery (Enhanced Oil Recovery)

Authored by: K.S. Birdi

Handbook of Surface and Colloid Chemistry Fourth Edition

Print publication date:  June  2015
Online publication date:  June  2015

Print ISBN: 9781466596672
eBook ISBN: 9781466596689
Adobe ISBN:


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The demand for energy by mankind is the most important issue of this age. As the world’s population increases (ca. threefold every 50 years), the demand for energy increases drastically. The energy demand is increasing at about 2% per year. Among energy resources (e.g., oil, gas, coal, atomic energy, hydropower, wind energy, and solar energy), oil is the most important at the present stage. Oil supplies about 45% of the world’s energy (petroleum) while natural gas (mostly as methane, CH4) supplies about 20%. At present, worldwide, about 80 million barrels of oil is consumed every day. Most of the oil produced today comes from mature reservoirs. It is estimated that some 1012 barrels of oil remain in the reservoirs worldwide after the primary production (1 barrel = 0.159 m3). Hence, it is a great challenge to scientists to invent methods and procedures to recover these vast amounts of residual oil reserves. There are chemical processes called enhanced oil recovery (EOR) that have been used to recover the residual oil in the past decades (Ahmed, 2001; Bavière, 2007; Birdi, 1999; Carcoana, 1992; Green, 1998; Kenneth, 2012; Lake, 1996; Lake and Walsh, 2008; Lichtner et al., 1996; Mark and Lake, 2003; Rao, 2012; Scheng, 2013; Schramm, 2010; Smith, 1966; Taber, 1968; Taber et al., 1997; Tunio et al., 2011) (Figure 12.1). Further, the EOR methods have developed in various ways as the price of oil has increased over the past decades (from few dollars to around 100 USD/barrel). The oil reservoir production history comprises various phases (Figure 12.1):

Primary phase

Secondary phase


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