Effect of Native Reservoir State and Oilfield Operations on Clay Mineral Surface Chemistry

Isah Mohammed, Dhafer Al Shehri, Mohamed Mahmoud, Muhammad Shahzad Kamal, Olalekan Alade, Muhammad Arif, Shirish Patil

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    7 Scopus citations


    An understanding of clay mineral surface chemistry is becoming critical as deeper levels of control of reservoir rock wettability via fluid–solid interactions are sought. Reservoir rock is composed of many minerals that contact the crude oil and control the wetting state of the rock. Clay minerals are one of the minerals present in reservoir rock, with a high surface area and cation exchange capacity. This is a first-of-its-kind study that presents zeta potential measurements and insights into the surface charge development process of clay minerals (chlorite, illite, kaolinite, and montmorillonite) in a native reservoir environment. Presented in this study as well is the effect of fluid salinity, composition, and oilfield operations on clay mineral surface charge development. Experimental results show that the surface charge of clay minerals is controlled by electrostatic and electrophilic interactions as well as the electrical double layer. Results from this study showed that clay minerals are negatively charged in formation brines as well as in deionized water, except in the case of chlorite, which is positively charged in formation water. In addition, a negative surface charge results from oilfield operations, except for operations at a high alkaline pH range of 10–13. Furthermore, a reduction in the concentrations of Na, Mg, Ca, and bicarbonate ions does not reverse the surface charge of the clay minerals; however, an increase in sulfate ion concentration does. Established in this study as well, is a good correlation between the zeta potential value of the clay minerals and contact angle, as an increase in fluid salinity results in a reduction of the negative charge magnitude and an increase in contact angle from 63 to 102 degree in the case of chlorite. Lastly, findings from this study provide vital information that would enhance the understanding of the role of clay minerals in the improvement of oil recovery.

    Original languageBritish English
    Article number1739
    Issue number5
    StatePublished - 1 Mar 2022


    • Adsorption
    • Clays
    • Double layer effect
    • Low salinity water
    • Wettability alteration


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