Project Information

Reduction of Uncertainty in Surfactant-Flooding Pilot Design using Multiple Single Well Tests, Fingerprinting, and Modeling


Primary Performer
The University of Oklahoma (Norman, OK)

Additional Participants
Mid-Con Energy Operating
Mid-Con Energy III, LLC


Project Objective
University of Oklahoma researchers will advance the technology of surfactant/polymer (SP) flooding, in particular for Oklahoma’s Pennsylvanian-aged sandstone reservoirs and similar geological formations in other states that contain high total dissolved solids brines, through laboratory and field tests. Researchers will use single well tests as a design tool to streamline site-specific field data collection tasks to reduce markedly the uncertainty of surfactant flooding pilot design.

Project Description
While SP flooding can improve oil recovery from mature reservoirs, including mature waterfloods, the combination of uncertainty and upfront cost is a disincentive to small producers. By conducting multiple single-well SP flooding tests, crude oil fingerprinting, and modeling of the single well tests, we can reduce the uncertainty in the SP pilot. The project also targets SP formulations for high TDS brines to reduce the need for surface facilities associated with water treatment. The extent of oil mobilization during the single well tests will be verified by comparing pre- and post partitioning tracer tests. Multi-scale models of the SP single well tests will be used to refine the pilot-scale simulation.

Potential Impact of the Project
While SP flooding has high potential to improve oil recovery from mature reservoirs, the combination of uncertainty and upfront cost is a disincentive to small producers. Our hypothesis is that a combination of multiple single well tests, fingerprinting and modeling can reduce the uncertainties associated with a pilot and provide a confidence-building process to incentivize small producers in utilizing SP. The high TDS SP formulations used mitigate environmental impact by eliminating the need for low salinity water for the flood. These innovation will lead to greater use of SP domestically, allowing mature resources to play a key role in oil and gas production in the U.S.

Principal Investigators: Bor-Jier Shiau, Jeffrey H. Harwell, Ahmed Jamili

Project Cost:
DOE share: $1,058,074
Recipient share: $265,068

Project Duration: 2 years