Application of iron-crosslinked sodium alginate for efficient sulfide control and reduction of oilfield produced water

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12-20
Journal / PublicationWater Research
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2019
Externally publishedYes


Sulfide production and oilfield produced water are considered as environmental challenges in the oil industry. Iron-crosslinked sodium alginate (SA–Fe) was used to address these problems simultaneously. A pair of columns containing one coarse-sand column and one fine-sand column was designed to simulate heterogeneous rock layers and evaluate the plugging effect of SA–Fe. Generation of FeS precipitates led to decreases of sulfide in the gas phase by 45 ± 3.2% and in the aqueous solution by 75 ± 4.7%. The generated FeS nanoparticles and sulfate-reducing bacteria attached on the surface of the sand in the coarse-sand column to plug the pores that caused the water flow to switch from the coarse-sand column to the fine-sand column. Analysis of FeS distribution indicated that the column inlet was effectively plugged by FeS. The theoretical amount of FeS (1.19 mmol) that was determined based on sulfur balance was nearly equal to the actual amount of FeS precipitation (1.11 mmol). Additionally, water viscosity increased from 0.9 mPa s to 342 mPa s, induced by the collapse of SA–Fe gels, which reduced the difference in viscosity between oil and water to avoid viscous fingering. As a consequence, the oil recovery improved from 46 ± 2.6% to 85 ± 3.0% in the sand column oil-saturated recovery experiment, which contributed to the decrease of oil-normalized produced water from 70.1 ± 4.0 to 37.5 ± 1.3 mL water/mL oil. Therefore, this study shows that SA–Fe exhibits potential for application in controlling sulfide as well as reducing produced water. © 2019 Elsevier Ltd

Research Area(s)

  • Biopluging, FeS, Iron-crosslinked sodium alginate, Oilfield produced water reduction, Sulfide control, Volume sweep efficiency

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