The effect of carbonate rock wettability on the performance of low salinity waterflooding: an experimental approach

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1 Citation (Scopus)


While the “low salinity waterflooding” (LSWF) has been praised for enhancing oil recovery from different core rocks, the performance of the technique in different wettability environments remains unclear. The consensus is that LSWF does not work well in water-wet carbonate oil reservoirs. The main research objective was to determine the effect of LSWF on the displacement efficiency (DE) in different wettability environments. Carbonate core flooding experiments on rocks with different wettabilities were performed at in-situ reservoir conditions using seawater as a “base water”. Seawater was sequentially diluted 10 to 50 times and spiked 2 and 6 times with sulfate. Following sequential flooding with four different waters, the DEs were measured for different wettabilities. Five different sequential brine floodings were performed on carbonate rocks. Results indicated that optimum low salinity water is a function of system wettability. Seawater (≈ 50,000 ppm) is the optimum brine for oil-wet and intermediate-wettability systems. Sequential flooding consisting of seawater followed by diluted seawater in a water-wet system yielded the highest DE of 88%. Besides, low-salinity brine followed by sulfate performed better in a water-wet environment than in oil- and intermediate-wettability systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4325-4338
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Petroleum Exploration and Production Technology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • Core flooding
  • Displacement efficiency
  • Low-salinity water
  • Modified water
  • Sequential flooding
  • Wettability alteration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • General Energy


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