Semi-Analytical Solution of Chemical Flooding in Heterogeneous Non-Communicating Layers with a Focus on Low Salinity Water Flooding

Hasan Al-Ibadi*, Karl D. Stephen, Eric J. Mackay

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
47 Downloads (Pure)


Chemical flooding has been implemented intensively for some years to enhance sweep efficiency in porous media. Low salinity water flooding (LSWF) is one such method that has become increasingly attractive. Historically, analytical solutions were developed for the flow equations for water flooding conditions, particularly for non-communicating strata. We extend these to chemical flooding, more generally, and in particular for LSWF where salinity is modeled as an active tracer and changes relative permeability. Dispersion affects the solutions, and we include this also. Using fractional flow theory, we derive a mathematical solution to the flow equations for a set of layers to predict fluid flow and solute transport. Analytical solutions tell us the location of the lead (formation) waterfront in each layer. We extend a correlation that we previously developed to predict the effects of numerical and physical dispersion. We used this correction to predict the location of the second waterfront in each layer which is induced by the chemical’s effect on mobility. We show that in multiple non-communicating layers, mass conservation can be used to deduce the interlayer relationships of the various fronts that form. This is based on similar analysis developed for water flooding although the calculations are more complex because of the development of multiple fronts. The result is a predictive tool that we compare to numerical simulations and the precision is very good. Layers with contrasting petrophysical properties and wettability are considered. We also investigate the relationship between the fractional flow, effective salinity range, salinity dispersion and salinity retardation. The recovery factor and vertical sweep efficiency are also very predictable. The work can also be applicable to other chemical EOR processes if they alter the fluid mobility. This includes polymer and surfactant flooding.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-135
Number of pages35
JournalTransport in Porous Media
Issue number1
Early online date19 Sept 2020
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020


  • Chemical water flooding
  • Heterogeneity in a—petrophysical properties and b—wettability preferential
  • Non-communicating layers
  • Wettability alteration models

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • General Chemical Engineering


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