Evaluation of Natural Chemicals for Enhanced Oil Recovery

Project: FDCRGP

Project Details

Grant Program

Faculty-development competitive research grants program for 2023-2025

Project Description

Crude oil is known as the most consumed non-renewable energy source. Oil production is declining and the energy demand is increasing. Realistically the need to produce more oil is associated with many difficulties. These problems are twofold: oil availability and technology limitation. EOR operation aims to mobilise the trapped oil in the reservoir by improving the microscopic and macroscopic displacement efficiencies. This can be achieved by reducing oil viscosity, capillary forces, and interfacial tension. Among the known EOR methods is the chemical enhanced oil recovery (CEOR). The method is renowned with high possible application for brown reservoirs. CEOR is described as the injection of chemicals that do not exist in the reservoir with specific compatibility considerations. The method is renowned with high possible applications for brown reservoirs (Olajire, 2014). This procedure included the injection of alkalines, surfactants and polymers or their combinations. Most CEOR injectunts were derived from petroleum sources. However, applying petroleum-derived chemicals is expensive, which sometimes hinders the large-scale application. Another reason that made petroleum-derived chemicals uneconomical was that the success rate depended on the field’s geological characteristics, environment, and downhole reservoir conditions. Therefore, the new trend of natural chemicals is gaining considerable interest among environmentalists and petroleum engineers (Abbas et al., 2022a, Abbas et al., 2022b). Natural chemicals require a deep understanding of natural plant sources (Saxena and Mandal, 2022, Moslemizadeh et al., 2021). This is because of the considerable differences for the same plant according to the functional properties. Thus, it may demonstrate different effectiveness and efficiencies during the application in CEOR(Chen et al., 2022, Dashtaki et al., 2022, Agi et al., 2018).
The current proposal aims to evaluate the usage of natural chemicals for CEOR projects in Kazakhstan. There are many technical factors involved in the evaluation that has not been explained yet. These factors include effective concentration, oil type, mobility ratio, salinity, temperature, pressure, chemical adsorption and retention, and oil recovery under reservoir conditions.
Therefore, the current study is focusing on answering the following questions:
1- How to synthesize polymers, surfactant, sacrificial agent from raw plants available in Kazakhstan.
2- What is the influence of concentration, electrolyte, temperature, pressure on the fluid-fluid interfaces.
3- What is the effect of the natural chemicals on the rocks (ex. adsorption)
4- What is the natural chemical solution flow behaviour at reservoir condition.
5- How natural chemical is affecting the oil recovery.

Project Relevance

Despite oil price fluctuations, the oil price did not influence CEOR projects’ profitability. But the projects were threatened by the movement of environmentalism. The movements drove the interest in converting the oil and gas sector toward greener options. Therefore, the next logical step was to reduce chemicals’ usage, which paved a new era of R&D. The research endeavors are still progressing. Therefore, the current proposal is one of the forefronts in this direction.
1. The current proposal is a step toward green chemical implementation that will adhere to the united nation sustainable goals
2. The application of green chemical can provide an acceptable solution for large field application with minimal cost.
3. The characterization of the new derived chemicals highlights the chemical composition and helps in progressive mechanism understanding.
4. The study provides useful evaluation of the chemicals which interpretation is necessary to understand the mechanistic of oil mobility in porous media.
5. Technically, the study targets three types of chemicals (Gel polymers, Surfactants and Sacrificial Agents) under reservoir conditions, this broad-spectrum enriches the available literature. It also allows addressing the different natural chemical combinations which previous researchers did not consider.
6. In its specific scope, the investigation provides a detailed evaluation that delineate the natural chemical application successful range for Kazakhstan’s Oil fields
7. The systematic workflow of this proposal follows the modern practice in the industry evaluation, which is not attained by previously reported literature. Thus, it will provide the oil and gas industry with practical data and avoid repetition and duplication of the experiments. Hence, it is time-effective.

Project Impact

Impact on Kazakhstan and the world
1. The study illuminates an alternative usage of plant based chemicals. Which a new view on the biological diversity in the agricultural systems of Kazakhstan. This is because Kazakhstan’s sizeable climatic diversity and soil conditions dictate having cold and warm weather plants.
2. The study puts Kazakhstan as a significant contributor in different ways to the current endeavors of green chemical utilization in oil and gas.
3. On worldwide aspect, the examination can accelerate the implementation of natural chemicals by proving its usefulness.
Effective start/end date1/1/2312/31/25


  • Enhanced Oil Recovery
  • Natural Surfactant
  • Natural polymers
  • Sacrificial Agent
  • Green Chemicals
  • Adsorption
  • Core Flooding


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