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Stabilization of natural gas foams using different surfactants at high pressure and high temperature conditions
Journal of Surfactants and Detergents  (IF1.902),  Pub Date : 2021-12-07, DOI: 10.1002/jsde.12564
Weiyu Bi, Panfeng Zhang, Xiangrui Du, Wei Lü, Shitou Wang, Tangying Yang, Liping Ma, Xiaochun Liu, Haifeng Zhao, Shaoran Ren

Natural gas foam can be used for mobility control and channel blocking during natural gas injection for enhanced oil recovery, in which stable foams need to be used at high reservoir temperature, high pressure and high water salinity conditions in field applications. In this study, the performance of methane (CH4) foams stabilized by different types of surfactants was tested using a high pressure and high temperature foam meter for surfactant screening and selection, including anionic surfactant (sodium dodecyl sulfate), non-anionic surfactant (alkyl polyglycoside), zwitterionic surfactant (dodecyl dimethyl betaine) and cationic surfactant (dodecyl trimethyl ammonium chloride), and the results show that CH4-SDS foam has much better performance than that of the other three surfactants. The influences of gas types (CH4, N2, and CO2), surfactant concentration, temperature (up to 110°C), pressure (up to 12.0 MPa), and the presence of polymers as foam stabilizer on foam performance was also evaluated using SDS surfactant. The experimental results show that the stability of CH4 foam is better than that of CO2 foam, while N2 foam is the most stable, and CO2 foam has the largest foam volume, which can be attributed to the strong interactions between CO2 molecules with H2O. The foaming ability and foam stability increase with the increase of the SDS concentration up to 1.0 wt% (0.035 mol/L), but a further increase of the surfactant concentration has a negative effect. The high temperature can greatly reduce the stability of CH4-SDS foam, while the foaming ability and foam stability can be significantly enhanced at high pressure. The addition of a small amount of polyacrylamide as a foam stabilizer can significantly increase the viscosity of the bulk solution and improve the foam stability, and the higher the molecular weight of the polymer, the higher viscosity of the foam liquid film, the better foam performance.