Application of Green additives for enhanced oil recovery: Cellulosic nanocrystals as fluid diversion agents in carbonate reservoirs

Omar Bashir Wani, Mohammad Shoaib, Ali Al Sumaiti, Erin R. Bobicki, Saeed M. Alhassan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Oil recovery from carbonate reservoirs is low because of their complex nature which is characterized by the presence of high permeability streaks/fractures, broad pore size distribution and oil-wet/mixed wet state. The presence of high permeability streaks/fractures causes the injected fluid to bypass the low permeability pores that contain a high percentage of producible oil. One of the most effective and promising methods to control the fluid bypass is fluid diversion using chemical agents where a chemical agent is placed in the high permeability zone to block the path for the subsequent fluid, which ultimately diverts the injected fluids to the less permeable and oil-containing region. In this work, we investigate the potential use of cellulosic nanocrystals (CNC) for fluid diversion applications. Upon contact with brine, the nanosized CNC particles agglomerate to form micron size flocs showing a viscosity increment of an order at reservoir shear rates. In our core flooding experiments, the permeability of carbonate core decreased from 2827 mD to 127 mD when a CNC dispersion of 3000 ppm was injected. Injection of pre-equilibrated de-ionized water following CNC injection showed that the permeability reduction is permanent signifying the stability of CNC agglomerates in high temperature-high salinity environments. The blocking of high permeability zones due to the agglomeration of CNC particles results in fluid diversion. This improves the sweep efficiency and allows the injected fluid to come in contact with the oil. This is the first application of CNC in the area of fluid diversion for high temperature and high salinity fractured carbonate reservoirs which are present in the Middle East.

Original languageBritish English
Article number124422
JournalColloids and Surfaces A: Physicochemical and Engineering Aspects
StatePublished - 20 Feb 2020


  • Cellulosic nanocrystals
  • Enhanced oil recovery
  • Fluid diversion
  • Porous media


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