The development of SPhTI TSU scientists will help produce heavy oil

One of the most urgent problems of Russian oil and gas industry is the production of oil that is difficult to recover. This is 60-70 percent of the total stock of the resources that are available in the country. Chemists of SPhTI TSU Innovation and Technology Centre (ITC) have developed new reagents that significantly increase the recovery factor of “heavy” oil.

- One method of producting it is a technology of flooding reservoirs with solutions of polymers, surface-active agents (surfactants) or emulsion formulations, - says Vyacheslav Yanovsky, the scientific head of the project, a senior fellow at ITC. - Polymers and surfactants in this context are not very profitable for a number of reasons, for example, they have low thermal and bio- stability and require costly additional processing by specialized reagents.

Polymers and surfactants are alien to the oil, so they create further problems in its separation from the fossil water. Finally, these agents are expensive. Emulsions, on the other hand, are very similar in their composition to hydrocarbons, and that is their competitive distinction.

Reagents both imported and produced domestically are used for the manufacture of emulsions. Imported emulsifiers and stabilizers are highly effective but expensive. Scientists of SPhTI TSU managed to create new reagents based on domestic raw materials, which are 2.5-3 times cheaper while not only equal to the imported products in quality, but also exceed their efficiency. In particular, they make it possible to extend the life cycle of the emulsion.

ITC researchers have synthesized 3 new emulsifiers and a number of additional emulsion stabilizers. The structure of some of them has included nanoparticles that improve the performance of the agent (silicon nanodioxide, nanocarbon materials, nanodiamond particles, and others). On the basis of these reagents, dozens of different emulsion formulations can be created that combine the composition that is optimal for a particular oil field.

The effectiveness of the new oil-displacing compositions was confirmed by a series of laboratory experiments. During the tests, it was found that the TSU scientists’ development can improve oil displacement efficiency by 30% or more.