Visualization observation of formation of a new oil phase during immiscible dense CO2 injection in porous media

Seyyed Mehdi Seyyedsar*, Mehran Sohrabi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Miscibility is not a target nor achievable for CO2 injection in heavy oil reservoirs but immiscible CO2 injection has shown significant potential in enhancing heavy oil recovery mainly through a substantial reduction in the oil viscosity. Another major benefit of CO2 for enhanced heavy oil recovery is a favorable improvement in the composition of the oil which results in the production of higher quality oil compared to the original oil. To identify the actual mechanisms that affect the physical properties of heavy oil during various CO2 injection strategies, the behavior of CO2 and heavy oil was visually investigated under reservoir conditions. For this purpose, a setup was designed to visually observe the contact between injected CO2 and heavy oil under reservoir conditions. In addition, several flow experiments were performed using a transparent micromodel setup. It was observed that as soon as CO2 contacts the oil, the extraction of hydrocarbons, mostly methane at the beginning, from the oil starts. The extraction of hydrocarbons by CO2 initially led to a sudden swelling of the oil mainly because of the liberation of dissolved methane from oil. Because of the extraction strength of CO2, an accumulation of light and intermediate compounds of the oil takes place in the oil phase, near the interface of oil and CO2. The results of direct visualization of the flow of CO2 and heavy oil reveal that the contact of CO2 and heavy oil results in the formation of a light and less viscous oil-rich phase. This oil-rich phase has a relatively lighter color than the oil in contact with CO2 and it is very mobile in pore spaces.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)199-210
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Molecular Liquids
Early online date1 Jun 2017
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2017


  • CO injection
  • Extraction mechanism
  • Heavy oil
  • In-situ quality improvement
  • Metal content

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Spectroscopy
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Materials Chemistry


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