Older oil fields often have an increased water production that makes it increasingly difficult to pump the oil up. This problem can be resolved by using a chemical substance that forms a gel between the water and the oil. Dutch researcher Hein Castelijns wrote an experimental model that predicts the placing of the substance and gel formation in an oil reservoir. This can have both a cost-saving and yield-increasing effect.
Catelijns studied how the gel is transported at a fundamental level. He carried out experiments using magnetic nuclear spin resonance (NMR/MRI).
Gel formation and model
With the NMR/MRI scanning tool he measured how the processes in rocks responded to the water-soluble chemical substance and how the gel was formed. He also described the hydrophobic capacity of the gel. This resulted in a model that can perform realistic simulations at a laboratory scale. Castelijns' model can be used as part of a larger model for planning a gel treatment at reservoir level and it is hoped that field operators at oil and gas fields will be able to use the model in the future.
This research was funded by Technology Foundation STW.