Altering Wettability to Recover More Oil from Tight Formations – Bakken

August 6, 2016

Patrick V.Brady
Charles R.Bryan


We describe here a method for modifying the bulk composition (pH, salinity, hardness) of fracturing fluids and overflushes to modify wettability and increase oil recovery from tight formations. Oil wetting of tight formations is usually controlled by adhesion to illite, kerogen, or both; adhesion to carbonate minerals may also play a role when clays are minor. Oil-illite adhesion is sensitive to salinity, dissolved divalent cation content, and pH. We measure adhesion between middle Bakken formation oil and core to verify a surface complexation model of reservoir wettability. The agreement between the model and experiments suggests that wettability trends in tight formations can be quantitatively predicted and that the bulk compositions of fracturing fluid and overflush compositions might be individually tailored to increase oil recovery.


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What Is Wettability Damage – And Can It Be Reversed?

What if wettability is changed in the wrong direction?

Then you have what is referred to as Wettability Damage. This type of damage occurs when the wettability alteration lowers expected recovery, thereby reducing profitability.

At ESal, we estimate that among all the oilfields in the world, no less than 20% are experiencing this type of damage.

And as you’re about to see from one example, it’s damage that can be outrageously costly.

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