Critical review of low-salinity waterflooding

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It was observed that higher oil recovery could be obtained when low-salinity (LS) water flooded a core of high-salinity initial water about 15 years ago. Such low-salinity waterflooding benefit or effect has drawn the oil industry attention since then. In the recent years, many researchers conducted laboratory corefloods, and several companies carried field tests. The objectives of these efforts were (1) to conform the benefits and (2) find the mechanisms of such benefit. Although most of the results confirmed the positive effect, some results showed no benefit. Many mechanisms have been proposed, but there is no consensus of the dominant mechanism(s). The oil industry is continuing the effort to discover the effect. This paper is to provide a critical review of the results and to summarize the achievements of the industry[U+05F3]s effort. This paper aims to provide the status of the art. The information provided in this paper hopefully will help to speed up our further efforts to explore this effect. The following contents are reviewed: (1) history of low-salinity waterflooding; (2) laboratory observations; (3) field observations; (4) working conditions of low-salinity effect; (5) mechanisms of low-salinity waterflooding; and (6) simulation of low-salinity waterflooding.In this paper, the mechanisms proposed in the literature and their validity are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)216-224
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Petroleum Science and Engineering
StatePublished - Aug 1 2014


  • Enhanced oil recovery
  • Improved oil recovery
  • Low-salinity waterflooding
  • Salinity
  • Waterflooding


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