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MODELLING OF EMULSION FLOW IN POROUS MEDIA

J.H. ABOU-KASSEM S.M. FAROUQ ALI

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@c--PT-9-5-66-02- Modelling of Emulsion Flow in Porous Media J.H. ABOU-KASSEM UAE University S.M. FAROUQ ALI University of Alberta Abst;ract
A mathematical description of non-Newtonian fluids, in par- ticular, emulsions, is of special importance now that most of the enhanced oil recovery methods are being modelled in increasing detail. Only recently a few characteristics of emulsion flow have been incorporated in some of the simulators. Nearly all enhanced oil recovery processes involve emulsion formation and flow in some form or other. Representation
of such flow in mathematical models is still inadequate.
This paper investigates the rheology of emulsions, their for- mation in porous media, and subsequent flow, fro a mathemat- ical standpoint. A critical evaluation of several models describ- ing the flow of pseudoplastic fluids in porous media is present- ed. The models are expressed in a unified form that makes it possible to detect differences between the various models. The assumptions underlying the various models are discussed in detail. Furthermore, the paper gives a summary of the rheology and in situ formation of
emulsions, the role of a v ariety of other factors responsible for emulsification in porous media, and it introduces a flow model for both Newtonian and non-Newtonian emulsions that is practical, and especially suitable for use in numerical simulation of EOR processes. Introduction
Two-thirds of the world's crude oil and three-quarters of the U.S. crude oil is produced in an emulsion fc)rm(l). Emulsified oil is produced from oil/tar sands undergoing thermal recovery. New methods of secondary recovery that use high viscosity emulsions have been developed(',3). Filtration of water using
porous materi- als also involves dilute concentrations of dispersed oil in water(4,5).
These factors and otherS(6,7) have promoted interest in research related to the flow behaviour of non-Newtonian fluids in porous media for a quarter of a century.
The fact that nearly all enhanced oil recovery methods involve emulsion formation and flow coupled with the wide-spread accep- tance of reservoir simulation as a valuable tool in the development and optimization of oil recovery from petroleum reservoirs, have contributed to incorporating a few characteristics of emulsion tlow in a number of
simulators. Mathematical modelling of eniul- sion flow in porous media calls for the understanding of the rheol- ogy of emulsions and the formation of emulsions in oil reservoirs.
Emulsion flow in porous media can be modelled through non- Newtonian rheology, as discussed in this paper. A more compre- hensive approach would require phase behaviour of the emulsion system and drop size distribution to account for mobility changes in response to drop entrapment. 30 Nature and Rheology of Emulsions
An emulsion is a dispersion of one liquid (internal or dispersed phase) within another
(external or continuous phase) in the pres- ence of surface-active agents (emulsifiers)(8). The volume fraction _ ol'the dispersed phase is called emulsion quality@ Oi. The emulsifi- er consists ol'an oil-soluble portion and water-soluble portion. By virtue oi' its special structure, the emulsifier aids in reducing the interfacial tension between the two liquids involved enabling an easier formation of an extended interface and in preventing the coalescence of the dispersed particles once emulsion is formed@9@.
There are two types of emulsions: water-in-oil (W/0) and oil- in-water
(O/W) emulsions. The former type has a viscosity higher than those ol' the oil and water constituents, while the latter has a viscositN, lo,er than that of the oil constituent(9).
Several investigators have studied the isothermal shear stress- shear i-ate relationship for emulsions of different qualities. lt has been totind ihat (O/W) emulsions having qualities less than 0.5 exhibit Newi@onian behaviour, while those having higher qualities exhibi( iion-tqcwtonian behaviour( Newtonian Emulsions
For ciilulsions of qualities less than 0.5, the viscosity is inde- pendent ol' shear
rate, i.e., p # 11(i)................................................................................................. Shermaii(s) listed the following factors that may affect the iso- therm@il visc(.)sity of Newtonian emulsions: the viscosities of both the external ;ind internal phases, quality of emulsion, the chemical composition and concentration of the emulsifier, the behaviour of the interfaciil film, electroviscous effects, particle size and parti- cle size distribution. The role of these factors is elaborated by Alvar@ido('@) @ind Uzoigwe(II). These authors and otherS(8@12) have
collected formulae foi- the viscosity of Newtonian emulsions.
These f(@rmulae are: 1.
Miller and Mann Formula for (O[W) and low qua[ity
(W/0)
(1,
0, p
I
i..................................................................................(2)
Vermeiiien Formula for both (O/W) and (W/0) emulsions:
[I 4- t.50i Pi /(p@ +lAi)] p
oj .....................................................
(3) 3.
1-iiistein Formula for dilute (O/W) emulsions (,Oi @0.02): The Journal of
Canadian
Petroleum
Technology