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Solvent retrieval and wettability alteration during heavy-oil and bitumen recovery by SOS-FR (steam-over-solvent injection in fractured reservoirs) method Open Access


Other title
Wettability alteration
Solvent retrieval
Carbonate and sandstone
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Mohammed, Mohammedalmojtaba Y.S.
Supervisor and department
Dr. Tayfun Babadagli
Examining committee member and department
Dr.Tayfun Babadagli (Civil and Environmental Engineering)
Dr.Ryosuke Okuno (Civil and Environmental Engineering)
Dr.Huazhou Li (Civil and Environmental Engineering)
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Petroleum Engineering
Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Science
Degree level
Water injection is inefficient to recover heavy oil from naturally fractured carbonate reservoirs mainly due to its oil-wet nature of the matrix. Solvent injection could be an option in this type of reservoir through dilution of oil and gravity drainage. This, however, will only be feasible if the injected solvent is retrieved back effectively. This thesis focuses on the two approaches that can be used to retrieve the solvent diffused into matrix: (1) Thermal method and (2) chemical methods. In the thermal method, steam or hot water is injected at or around the bubble temperature of the solvent. The solvent will then be retrieved by its vaporization, which was the base of a recent suggested method called steam over solvent injection in fractured reservoirs (SOS-FR) method (Al-Bahlani and Babadagli, 2008). An experimental setup that enables quantifying the retrieved solvent at the end this process was designed and then used to investigate the effect of different factors on the process. Then, an optimization study was performed to determine the optimal conditions for oil recovery and solvent retrieval during the SOS-FR method. Chemical methods rely on the possibility of altering the wettability of rock surfaces. This type of treatment is a new approach to develop heavy oil/bitumen containing oil-wet systems. After a critical review of the past literature in wettability alteration with a comprehensive analysis of materials/methods suggested for different types of reservoirs, selected chemicals were tested on heavy-oil saturated core samples pre-exposed to solvent. The chemicals tested include surfactants, high pH solutions, low/high salinity water, nanofluids, and ionic liquids. The key parameters to evaluate the efficiency of the examined recovery methods were oil recovery and solvent retrieval through enhanced capillary imbibition.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
Citation for previous publication
Mohammed, M., & Babadagli, T. (2014, June). Alteration of Matrix Wettability During Alternate Injection of Hot-water/Solvent into Heavy-oil Containing Fractured Reservoirs. In SPE Heavy Oil Conference-Canada. Society of Petroleum Engineer

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