Journal of Petroleum Exploration and Production Technology

Crude oil with a high wax content and high pour point can be very challenging when enhanced oil recovery by surfactant flooding is to be applied. High wax content in crude oil will lead to high intermolecular interaction because of the increasing cohesion forces. It causes interfacial (IFT) tension between oil and brine to be high. Hence, oil recovery is relatively low. This paper presents formulation of an amphoteric sulfonate alkyl ester (SAE) surfactant with a non-ionic surfactant (ester group) to reduce oil-brine IFT in waxy oil of T-KS field, in Indonesia. The ion-dipole forces may occur between SAE surfactant and non-ionic co-surfactant molecules. The forces cause sulfonate chain to be attracted to oil phase. The formulated surfactant produces low interfacial tension between brine and waxy oil of T-KS oil field. Its ability to displace remaining oil in the pore space was also tested using coreflood tests. These tests demonstrate considerably good incremental recovery.

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