Title: Effect of Metal Oxide Nanoparticles on the Performance of Xanthan Gum Solutions for Heavy Oil Recovery

Laura M. Corredor

University of Calgary, Canada


M.Sc. Laura Corredor studied Chemical Engineering at Universidad Industrial de Santander, Colombia and graduated as M.Sc. in 2008. On September 2015, she joined the research group of Prof. Brij Maini at the University of Calgary, Canada as a PhD student. Her research project is focused in the study of the impact of the metal oxides nanoparticles (in-house and chemically modified) on the performance of HPAM and XG solution to enhanced heavy oil recovery. She has been working as a researcher at Instituto Colombiano del Petróleo since 2009. Her research interests cover upgrading of heavy oil and improved heavy oil recovery.


Recent studies revealed higher polymer flooding performance upon adding metal oxide nanoparticles (NPs) to acrylamide-based polymers during heavy oil recovery. The current study considers the effect of TiO2, Al2O3, in-situ prepared Fe(OH)3 and surface modified SiO2 NPs on the performance of xanthan gum (XG) solutions to enhance heavy oil recovery. Surface modification of the SiO2 NPs was achieved by chemical grafting with 3-(methacryloyloxy)propyl trimethoxy silane (MPS) and octyl triethoxy silane (OTES). The nanopolymer sols were characterized by their rheological properties, ζ-potential, interfacial tension (IFT) and contact angle measurements, and their efficiency in displacing oil was assessed using a linear sand-pack at 25°C and two salinities (0.3 and 1.0 wt% NaCl). The ζ-potential measurements showed that the NP dispersions in deionized (DI) water are unstable, even in presence of sodium dodecyl sulphate (SDS), and their colloidal stability improved in presence of XG. The addition of unmodified and modified SiO2 NPs increased the viscosity of the XG solution at all salinities, whereas the high XG adsorption onto the surface of the other NPs used in this study reduced the viscosity of the XG solution. Adsorption of the NPs, SDS molecules, NP-SDS complexes and NP-polymer-SDS complexes onto the oil-nanofluid interface reduced the IFT of the XG solutions. Also, the NPs changed the wettability of the glass from oil-wet to intermediate-wet. The addition of NPs increased the cumulative oil recovery between 3 and 9%, and between 1 and 5% at 0 and 0.3 wt.% NaCl, respectively. At 1.0 wt% NaCl, however, the NPs reduced oil recovery by XG solution between 5-12%, except for Fe(OH)3 and TiO2 NPs. These NPs increased the oil recovery between 2-3% by virtue of reduced polymer adsorption caused by the alkalinity of these nanopolymer sols.

Audience take away:

• The audience will learn how to prepare different types of NPs (surface modified NPs and in-house NPs) which can be used for O&G applications or for other processes.
• The audience will understand the physical and chemical interactions between NPs and XG solutions, and the relationship between their hybrid structure, properties and performance.
• This research can be expanded for other faculties for O&G applications or for other processes.