Molecular Dynamics Study of Interfacial Properties for Crude Oil with Pure and Impure CH4

ZZ Dong and XL Ma and HB Xu and WR Li and SH Qian and ZB Wang and ZX Liu and G Lei, APPLIED SCIENCES-BASEL, 12, 12239 (2022).

DOI: 10.3390/app122312239

Gas injection has received increasing attention as one of the key technologies to enhance oil recovery. When gas is dissolved in crude oil, it will accelerate the flow of crude oil by reducing the density, viscosity, interfacial tension (IFT), and other properties of crude oil, so IFT is one of the main factors affecting the recovery of the gas drive. The interfacial properties of CH4, one of the principal associated hydrocarbon gases, with crude oil remain unclear. In this study, molecular dynamics (MD) simulations were used to determine the IFTs of pure and impure CH4 with n-decane as well as the IFTs of the ternary systems CH4 + n-hexane + n-decane and CH4 + n-decane + n-nonadecane. Additionally, investigating factors including pressure, temperature, gas composition, and crude oil composition reveals the mechanisms affecting the interfacial properties of CH4 and crude oil. The results demonstrate that CO2 significantly lowers the IFT of CH4 + n-decane; the effect of crude oil components on IFT varies with the properties of the crude oil and, generally speaking, IFT is greater for crude oils containing heavy components than for those containing light components; the effect of temperature on the IFT of the CH4 + n-decane system is more pronounced at low pressure and decreases with increasing pressure. This study contributes to understanding the behavior of CH4 and oil systems in the formation and could be used to enhance the oil recovery technology.

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