Modelling the effects of reservoir parameters and rock mineralogy on wettability during low salinity waterflooding in sandstone reservoirs

Motaz Siddig Saeed, Prashant Jadhawar* (Corresponding Author), Subhash C. Ayirala, Rockey Abhishek, Yingfang Zhou

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
2 Downloads (Pure)


Low salinity waterflooding has been reported to yield incremental oil recovery from both field applications and laboratory experiments compared to regular waterflooding. Crude oil-brine-rock (COBR) interactions dictate wettability alteration during low salinity waterflooding in sandstones. In this work, triple-layer surface complexation modelling (TLM) is utilised to simulate the interactions at rock-brine and oil-brine interfaces, while accommodating the crucial role of sandstone mineralogy in surface chemistry. Derjaguin-Landau-Verwey-Overbeek (DLVO) theory is applied to characterise the COBR stability. Moreover, we propose the use of the maximum energy barrier (MEB) parameter, which is calculated from the DLVO theory’s interaction potential, as an indicator of reservoir wettability.
Correlating the MEB with the experimentally measured contact angles revealed an abrupt increase in contact angles as the MEB drops below the zero-value thereby leading to a less water-wet COBR system. Results analyses showed that the different clays affect the rock-brine zeta potential and wettability distinctly based on their surface site densities and specific surface areas. And the studied
23 clays cause the zeta potential to become more negative in the order: smectite > montmorillonite > illite > chlorite > kaolinite. Subsequently, further investigation employing the developed TLM and MEB revealed that higher amounts of kaolinite will make the reservoir more oil-wet.
Lastly, the sensitivity analysis performed on reservoir wettability indicated that the ionic composition is the most important factor to affect rock wettability followed by pH and temperature. Moreover, the presence of CaCl2 salt in the formation water significantly supresses the areas of strong water wettability under varying reservoir conditions compared to NaCl salt.
The work conducted in this study presents a novel approach to model the individual and combined effects of sandstone minerals, specifically, quartz, kaolinite, chlorite, illite, montmorillonite and smectite, on the overall sandstone zeta potential behaviour. Furthermore, a new method was proposed to characterise reservoir wettability as a function of the maximum energy barrier which allowed us to obtain valuable insights into the most affecting reservoir parameters on COBR wettability. These findings will have practical implications to efficiently design the low salinity waterflooding processes for sandstone reservoir applications
Original languageEnglish
Article number110676
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Petroleum Science and Engineering
Issue numberPart B
Early online date28 May 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2022


  • Rock-Brine Interface
  • Sandstone Reservoirs
  • Wettability Alteration
  • Triple-layer Surface Complexation Modelling
  • Low Salinity Waterflooding


Dive into the research topics of 'Modelling the effects of reservoir parameters and rock mineralogy on wettability during low salinity waterflooding in sandstone reservoirs'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this