Effect of Gas Composition on Surfactant Injectivity in a Surfactant-Alternating-Gas Foam Process

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Aqueous foam is a dispersion of gas in liquid, where the liquid acts as the continuous phase and the gas is separated by thin liquid films stabilized by a surfactant. Foam injection is a widely used technique in various applications, including CO2 sequestration, enhanced oil recovery, soil remediation, etc. Surfactant-alternating-gas (SAG) is a preferred approach for foam injection, and injectivity plays a vital role in determining the efficiency of the SAG process. Different gases can be applied depending on the process requirements and availability. However, the underlying mechanisms by which gas composition impacts injectivity are not yet fully understood. In this work, the effect of gas composition on fluid behavior and injectivity in a SAG process was investigated using three gases: N2, CO2, and Kr. Our observations revealed that gas solubility in liquid was key for the formation and evolution of liquid fingers, and therefore was very important for liquid injectivity. A lower gas solubility in liquid led to a slower increase in surfactant solution injectivity. In addition, the development of surfactant solution injectivity took significantly longer when the surfactant solution was partially pre-saturated compared to when it was unsaturated. Additionally, the propagation of the collapsed-foam bank during gas injection was accelerated when the gas had a greater solubility in water.