Surfactant enhanced oil recovery (EOR) is one of the most advanced technologies for the recovery of stranded oil. Surfactants are broad groups of mostly nontoxic soaps or chemicals which come in both powder and liquid form. They are very similar to the ones found in common soaps, detergents, dishwashing soap and even shampoo.
Industrial –strength varieties are used in EOR. The surfactant reduces the viscosity of the oil in the reservoir thus making it easier to recover a substantial proportion of the barrel target. An aqueous surfactant formulation is injected into a mature oil reservoir. When this solution contacts the oil trapped in the pores of the reservoir rock, it dramatically reduces the interfacial tension and mobilizes the trapped oil.
Mr. Joshua Clem, GTN's head of operations began working with Oilfield Solutions, Inc., a company that blends proprietary chemicals for customers like Champion, Multi-Chem. and X-Chem. Mr. Clem wanted to blend specialty chemicals that would work specifically with the Tex-Jet. Mr. Clem worked closely with the owner of Oilfield Solutions Inc., Bob McClure, to perfect a special blend of surfactants specific for GTN's oil and reservoir characteristics. In early 2014, Mr. Clem began taking samples from Massie West Ranch lease to Mr. McClure. The company came up with a blend of acids and surfactants to help keep any scaling up in the injection well and had the added benefit of water wetting the formation. This allowed the easier release of oil from sand and carried the water back to the surface.
The result is a slight increase in production and decrease in pressure on the injection well with the surfactant, but it is the ultimate recovery at the end of the project that proves the most beneficial to GTN. White papers reporting as high as 30% recovery with surfactants have been submitted to SPE and other institutions.
GTN began using chemicals on the Schenkel lease with Tex-Jet and have noticed a significant increase in production. Using the surfactant there was about a 200 psi decrease in pressure on the injection well.
Oilfield Solutions Inc. also found an alternative to treating the oil instead of hot oiling. Mr. McClure came up with a blend to ensure that GTN Energy Partners could knock out the majority of the water in the oil tanks with the product Tex-Jet 44. It is named 44 because it took the 44th sample to get it just right.
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