Surfactants find various applications in oil field, such as in drilling, production, refining, enhanced oil recovery, and stimulation stages. The demand of oil field surfactants has risen in tandem with the rapid growth in oil exploration, chemicals, and extraction and it has been evidenced by the demanding enhanced oil recovery activities. Furthermore, as the environmentally favorable results, bio-based oil surfactants has drawn a lot of attention which can mitigate the oil and gas industries' widespread ecological concerns.
In the process of oil field development, surfactants play an important role in improving the production capacity of oil field. Surfactants are a class of substances that can significantly reduce surface tension even at very low concentrations, and they can be used as asphalt deposition prevention agents, emulsifiers, paraffin inhibitors, foaming agents, oil-wetting agents, water-wetting agents, and defoaming agents, etc. Here we mainly introduce four of them:
Asphaltene deposition is a severe flow assurance issue to oil and gas production that costs the industry significant time and money. Surfactant dispersants have been introduced as a proper candidate to mitigate the problems caused by asphaltene precipitation such as clogging wells, flowlines, and surface facilities in oil industry.
Silicone surfactants are among the most effective asphalt deposition prevention agents, for example, copolymer of polydimethylsiloxane and polyethylene oxide-polypropylene oxide.
Emulsifiers are widely used by qualified personnel at drill sites around the world. Even at low dosages (less than 5% of the total drilling fluid), emulsifiers would produce stable and effective drilling fluids, allowing service companies and drilling engineers to drill wells reliably and safely.
The commonly used oil field emulsifiers include glycerol esters, sorbitan esters, polysorbates, PEG-PPG-EO/PO fatty acid esters, PEGs-PPGs-EO/PO block polymers.
Paraffin inhibitors (pour-point depressants) are used in petroleum production operations to reduce wax deposition and/or reduce viscosity or complete gelling of high-wax-content petroleum fluids. Paraffin inhibitors would interact with paraffins in crude to modify or inhibit wax crystal formation, shape, and size, so that surface adhesion is eliminated.
The commonly surfactants used as paraffin inhibitors are ethylene vinyl acetate copolymer, polyethers, aminesurfactants, etc.
In oil field industry, foam system can be in multiple technical matters links such as oil field profile control, the displacement of reservoir oil, drilling well, water pumping gas production, pressure break, acidifying, well cementing of cement and sand-flushing.
The commonly used surfactants as foaming agents include alkyl sodium sulfonate, sodium alkyl benzene sulfonate, sodium alkyl sulfate salt, polyoxyethylene alkyl alcohol ether, etc.
Higher oil recovery
Adapt to extreme conditions
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