Screening of Chemicals to Enhance Oil Recovery in a Mature Sandstone Oilfield in Kazakhstan: Overcoming Challenges of High Residual Oil

Amina Dauyltayeva, Aibek Mukhtarov, Dilyara Sagandykova, Mariam Shakeel, Peyman Pourafshary, Darya Musharova

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Chemical flooding, such as alkaline-surfactant (AS) or nanoparticles-surfactant (NS) flooding, is an enhanced oil recovery (EOR) technique that has been increasingly utilized to enhance the oil production rate and recovery factor while reducing chemical adsorption. The AS/NS flooding process involves the injection of a mixture of surfactant and alkali/nanoparticles solutions into an oil reservoir to reduce the interfacial tension between the oil and water phases by surfactant and lower surfactant adsorption by alkali or nanoparticles (NPs) to improve the residual oil recovery. In this study, the AS/NS flooding is evaluated for a Kazakhstani oilfield by systematically screening the chemical constituents involved. Field A in Kazakhstan, one of the oldest fields in the country, has been waterflooded for decades and has not produced even 50% of the original oil in place (OOIP). Currently, the water cut of the field is more than 90%, with a high residual oil saturation. Therefore, besides polymer flooding to control mobility, chemical EOR is proposed as a tertiary recovery method to mobilize residual oil. This study aimed to screen chemicals, including surfactant, alkali, and NPs, to design an effective AS/NS flooding program for the target field. The study focused on conducting laboratory experiments to identify the most effective surfactant and further optimize its performance by screening suitable alkaline and NPs based on their compatibility, stability, and adsorption behavior under reservoir conditions. The performance of the screened chemicals in the porous media was analyzed by a set of coreflood experiments. The findings of the study indicated that alkali agents, particularly sodium carbonate, positively affected surfactant performance by reducing its adsorption by 9–21%. The most effective surfactant combination was found, which gave Winsor type III microemulsion and the lowest interfacial tension (IFT) of 0.2 mN/m. The coreflood tests were conducted with the screened surfactant, alkali, and NPs. Both AS and NS tests demonstrated high residual oil recovery and microemulsion production. However, NS flooding performed better as the incremental oil recovery by NS flooding was 5% higher than standalone surfactant flooding and 9% higher than AS flooding. The results of this screening study helped in designing an efficient chemical formulation to improve the remaining oil recovery from Field A. The findings of this study can be used to design EOR projects for oil fields similar to Field A.

Original languageEnglish
Article number10307
JournalApplied Sciences (Switzerland)
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023


  • adsorption
  • interfacial tension (IFT)
  • nanofluids
  • residual oil saturation (S)
  • surfactant flooding

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Instrumentation
  • General Engineering
  • Process Chemistry and Technology
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


Dive into the research topics of 'Screening of Chemicals to Enhance Oil Recovery in a Mature Sandstone Oilfield in Kazakhstan: Overcoming Challenges of High Residual Oil'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this