Time-Dependent Physicochemical Changes of Carbonate Surfaces from SmartWater (Diluted Seawater) Flooding Processes for Improved Oil Recovery Academic Article uri icon


  • Over the past few decades, field- and laboratory-scale studies have shown enhancements in oil recovery when reservoirs, which contain high-salinity formation water (FW), are waterflooded with modified-salinity salt water (widely referred to as the low-salinity, dilution, or SmartWater effect for improved oil recovery). In this study, we investigated the time dependence of the physicochemical processes that occur during diluted seawater (i.e., SmartWater) waterflooding processes of specific relevance to carbonate oil reservoirs. We measured the changes to oil/water/rock wettability, surface roughness, and surface chemical composition during SmartWater flooding using 10-fold-diluted seawater under mimicked oil reservoir conditions with calcite and carbonate reservoir rocks. Distinct effects due to SmartWater flooding were observed and found to occur on two different timescales: (1) a rapid (<15 min) increase in the colloidal electrostatic double-layer repulsion between the rock and oil across the SmartWater...

publication date

  • January 1, 2019