Recent developments, challenges, and prospects of ultrasound-assisted oil technologies

Idowu Adeyemi, Mahmoud Meribout, Lyes Khezzar

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


There has been consistent drive towards research and innovation in oil production technologies in order to achieve improved effectiveness and efficiency in their operation. This drive has resulted in breakthrough in technologies such as the application of ultrasound (US) in demulsification and enhanced oil recovery (EOR), and usage of high-volume hydraulic fracturing and special horizontal well for shale oil and gas extraction. These can be observed in the increment in the number of commercial oil technologies such as EOR projects that rose from 237 in 1996 to 375 in 2017. This sustained expansion in EOR resulted in their total oil production rising from 1.5 million barrels per day in 2005 to 2.3 million barrels per day in 2020. And this is predicted to increase to about 4.7 million barrels per day in 2040, which represent about 4% of total production. Consequently, in this review, the developments in the utilization of US either as standalone or integrated with other technologies in EOR and dehydration of water in oil emulsions were analyzed. The studies include the optimization of fluid and US properties in EOR and demulsification. Reports on the treatment of formation damage resulting from inorganic salts, organic scales, drilling fluid plugs, condensate, paraffin wax and colloidal particle with US-assisted EOR were also highlighted. Moreover, the mechanisms were examined in order to gain insightful understanding and to aid research investigations in these areas. Technologies such as US assisted green demulsification, high intensity focused ultrasound, and potential pathways in field studies were assessed for their feasibilities. It is essential to evaluate these technologies due to the significant accrued benefits in them. The usage of green demulsifiers such as deep eutectic solvents, ionic liquids and bio-demulsifiers has promising future outlook and US could enhance their technical advancement. HiFU has been applied successfully in clinical research and developments in this area can potentiality improve demulsification and interfacial studies (fluid–fluid and solid–fluid interactions). As regards field studies, there is need to increase actual well investigations because present reports have few on-site measurements with most studies being in laboratory scale. Furthermore, there is need for more detailed modeling of these technologies as it would assist in conserving resources, saving research time and fast-tracking oil production. Additional evaluative studies of conditions such as the usage of Raschig rings, crude oil salinity and high temperature which have improved demulsification of crude oil emulsions should be pursued.

Original languageBritish English
Article number105902
JournalUltrasonics Sonochemistry
StatePublished - Jan 2022


  • Demulsification
  • Emulsion
  • Enhanced oil recovery
  • HiFU
  • Ultrasound


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