Effect of Clay Type on Emulsion Formation in Steam and Solvent Steamflooding Academic Article uri icon


  • Summary The objectives of this study are to perform a fundamental analysis of the mutual interactions between crude oil components, water, hydrocarbon solvents, and clays, and to determine the optimum hydrocarbon solvent in solvent steamflooding for a particular reservoir type. The water/oil emulsion formation mechanism in the obtained oil for steam and solvent steamflooding processes has been studied via intermolecular associations between asphaltenes, water, and migrated clay particles. A series of 21 steam and solvent-steamflooding experiments has been conducted, first without any clays in the oil/sand packing, and then using two different clay types in the reservoir rock: Clay 1, which is kaolinite, and Clay 2, which is a mixture of kaolinite and illite. Paraffinic (propane, n-butane,n-pentane,n-hexane,n-heptane) and aromatic (toluene) solvents are coinjected with steam. Cumulative oil recovery is found to decrease in the following order: no clay, Clay 1, Clay 2. Based on the obtained produced oil analyses, Clay 1 and Clay 2 are found to have an affinity with the water and oil phases, respectively. Moreover, the biwettable nature of Clay 2 makes it dispersed in the oil phase toward the oil/water interface, stabilizing the water/oil emulsions. Paraffinic solvent n-hexane is found to be an optimum coinjector for solvent steamflooding in bitumen recovery.

published proceedings

  • SPE Journal

author list (cited authors)

  • Kar, T., & Hascakir, B.

citation count

  • 3

complete list of authors

  • Kar, Taniya||Hascakir, Berna

publication date

  • March 2021