Acta Physico-Chimica Sinica

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Interfacial Mass Transfer Characteristics and Molecular Mechanism of the Gas-Oil Miscibility Process in Gas Flooding

Hongwei Yu1, Shi Li1, Jinlong Li2, Shaohua Zhu3, Chengzhen Sun3   

  1. 1 State Key Laboratory of Enhanced Oil Recovery, PetroChina Research Institute of Petroleum Exploration and Development, Beijing 100083, China;
    2 PetroChina Jilin Oilfield Company, Songyuan 138099, Jilin Province, China;
    3 State Key Laboratory of Multiphase Flow in Power Engineering, Xi'an Jiaotong University, Xi'an 710049, China
  • Received:2020-06-23 Revised:2020-07-28 Accepted:2020-07-29 Published:2020-08-03
  • Supported by:
    The project was supported by the Scientific Research and Technology Development Project of PetroChina (2019B-1111) and the Major Science and Technology Projects of PetroChina (2018E-1805) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (51876169).

Abstract: The interfacial mass transfer characteristics of the gas-oil miscibility process are important in gas flooding technology to improve oil recovery. In this study, the process of gas flooding with actual components of Jilin oilfield is investigated by using molecular dynamics simulation method. We have chosen several alkane molecules based specifically on the actual components of crucial oil as the model oil phase for our study. The pressure of the gas phase is adjusted by changing the number of gas molecules while keeping the oil phase constant in the simulation. After the simulation, we analyze the variations of density in the gas-oil phase and interfacial characteristics to obtain the minimum miscibility pressure (MMP) for different displacement gases. The results show that the density of the gas phase increases while the density of the oil phase decreases with an increase in the displacement gas pressure, resulting in efficient mixing between the gas phase and the oil phase. At higher gas pressures, the thickness of the interface between the gas and oil phases is higher while the interfacial tension is lower. At the same time, we observed that the higher the CO2 content in the displacement phase, the thicker the oil-gas interface becomes and the better the oil-gas mixing is under the same gas pressure. In this work, the gas-oil miscibility is studied with pure CO2, pure N2, and the mixture of these two gases, and it is found that the minimum miscibility pressure for pure CO2 flooding (22.3 MPa) is much lower than that for pure N2 flooding (119.0 MPa). When these two gases are mixed in 1:1 ratio, the MMP (50.7 MPa) is between the MMPs of the two pure gases. Moreover, the pressure required with CO2 is lower than that required with N2 to achieve the same displacement effect. Finally, we explain the mechanisms of the different miscibility processes for different gas pressure and different displacement gases from the perspective of the total energy of the system and the potential of the mean force between the gas and the oil. The total energy of the system increases with the pressure of the gas phase, implying that the number of collisions between the oil and gas molecules increases and the gas-oil miscibility is enhanced. In addition, by analyzing the potential of mean force profiles, it can be concluded that the force of attraction between the oil-phase molecules and CO2 molecules is greater than that between the oil-phase molecules and N2 molecules; thus, the CO2 molecules easily mix with oil, and the effect of displacement is more obvious. These results are of great significance for understanding the interfacial mass transfer characteristics of the gas-oil miscibility process and for guiding the optimization and design of enhanced oil recovery technology by gas flooding.

Key words: Gas-flooding, Oil recovery, Gas-oil miscibility, Interfacial mass transfer, Minimum miscibility pressure, Molecular dynamics, Microscopic mechanism


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