Novel Observations of Salt Front Behaviour in Low Salinity Water Flooding

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

12 Citations (Scopus)


The conventional method for describing transport of solutes such as salt, polymer and tracers is to use the mass conservation law. In simulation of this law for Low Salinity Water Flooding (LSWF), the effective salinity range defines how salt affects the mobility of water and appears to be crucial for controlling fluid movement. In this study, we examined the non-linear feedback between salt concentration movement and the low salinity water front as a function of physical and numerical dispersion, in combination with the effective salinity range, and we investigated how the front speeds were altered.
We examined a numerical model of the mass conservation law to simulate LSWF at the reservoir scale. The cell sizes and the time steps were chosen to control the numerical dispersion coefficient in place of physical diffusion. A range of diffusion coefficients was considered along with various representations of the effective salinity range and the function that controls the effect that salt has mobility. The latter has been shown to be variable in the literature. We compared simulations to the analytical solution of solute transport obtained for the diffusion-advection equation assuming a fixed flowing velocity.
We observed that the salinity front moved faster than was predicted by the analytical solution and this effect was increased the further the effective salinity range was set below the connate water salinity. In this case, the higher salt concentrations lay in the faster moving water (the connate water front), which also speeded up. This was very much a dispersion related effect, with the variation of velocity growing as the salt concentration spread out. By implementing many numerical tests, we obtained a modification to the advection term in the conventional mass conservation law of solute transport. This term depends on the Peclet number, the velocities of the high and low salinity fronts and the effective salinity as a proportion to the connate water salinity. In an advection-diffusion system, these factors usually affect only the advection term (the front velocity), while the diffusion term is unchanged.
From numerical tests, we can now rapidly predict the movement of the salt front by this newly derived modification of the analytical solution.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSPE Western Regional Meeting, 22-26 April, Garden Grove, California, USA
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 22 Apr 2018
EventSPE Western Regional Meeting 2018 - Garden Grove, United States
Duration: 22 Apr 201826 Apr 2018


ConferenceSPE Western Regional Meeting 2018
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityGarden Grove
Internet address


  • low salinity water front
  • salt front
  • Peclet number
  • material balance
  • effective salinity concentration


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