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A New Environmentally Friendly AL/ZR-Based Clay Stabilizer
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Clay stabilizers are means to prevent fines migration and clay swelling, which are caused by the contact of formation with low salinity or high pH brines at high temperature. Previous clay stabilizers including: Al and Zr compounds and cationic polymers have several drawbacks. Al and Zr compounds can be removed by acids. Cationic polymers can cause formation damage in some cases. Quaternary amine-based chemicals have been used for many years as clay stabilizer, however, environmental profile of some has limited their use. There is a need to develop new clay stabilizers that can work following acid treatment and are environmentally acceptable. Laboratory studies were conducted on newly developed Al/Zr-based compound (Stabilizer A) to determine the optimum conditions for field application. Zeta potential was used to determine surface charge of different types of clays; and to optimize clay stabilizer concentration. Coreflood experiments were conducted on Berea and Bandera sandstone cores to assess the effectiveness of the new compound at high temperature, and determine the impact of acids on its performance. Also the effectiveness of this stabilizer was investigated at high pH medium and in low permeability cores. Inductively Coupled Plasma was used to measure the concentrations of e key cations in the core flood effluent. Three different commercial clay stabilizers (zirconium oxychloride, choline chloride and tetramethyl ammonium chloride) were also tested to validate the new chemical. The new clay stabilizer was very effective in mitigating fines migration. Zeta potential indicated that the isoelectric point at which complete shields of surface charge of clay particles was achieved at a stabilizer concentration of 0.2 wt%. Coreflood tests showed that this new chemical was effective, and unlike previous Al-based and Zr-based stabilizers (hydroxy aluminum and zirconium oxychloride solutions), it did not dissolve in acids and worked very well up to 300oF. Stabilizer A proved to be better than the three commercial stabilizers. Stabilizer A worked effectively at the high pH and no reduction in permeability was noticed after NaOH injection, unlike the other stabilizers. In addition, Stabilizer A is an inorganic-based fluid, environmentally friendly, in contrast to Quaternary amine chemicals.
El-Monier, Ilham Abdallah (2013). A New Environmentally Friendly AL/ZR-Based Clay Stabilizer. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from