Artificial diagenesis of carbonates: Temperature dependent inorganic and organic modifications in reservoir mimetic fluids

Ashit Rao, Saravana Kumar, Carla Annink, Duy Le-Anh, Mohammed B. Alotaibi, Subhash C. Ayirala, Igor Siretanu, Michel Duits, Frieder Mugele, Ali A. Yousef

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Within reservoirs, spatial variations related to mineralogy and fluid chemistry determine the success of improved oil recovery (IOR) techniques. However, the composition and structure of mineral-adsorbent-fluid interfaces, which fundamentally determine the initial and IOR-altered wettability of reservoir rocks as well as the displacement of crude oil (CRO), are unclear. Replicating the diagenetic alterations of carbonates, this study addresses the temperature dependence of the inorganic and organic modifications of calcite by reservoir pertinent fluids as well as its consequences on mineral wettability and reactivity. We utilize a suite of characterization methods, such as confocal Raman, scanning electron and atomic force microscopy as well as Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy, to investigate the modifications of carbonates on aging in formation water (FW), CRO-equilibrated FW and FW-equilibrated CRO. The microscopic modifications of carbonates present positive correlations with aging temperature and also are varied, encompassing topographical alterations, cation substitution of lattice Ca2+ ions by Mg2+ ions and the deposition of particles enriched with polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) as organic adlayers. Aging in the formation waters produce substantial reconstruction of calcite surfaces, with the formation of Mg-calcite layers at elevated temperatures. Subsequent aging in brine-equilibrated CRO produces an organic coating on calcite surfaces, which is composed of PAH-enriched particles. The organic adlayers, deposited at high temperature, produce a transition in the macroscopic contact angles towards a more 'oil wet' tendency. In addition, the organic adlayer presents limited permeability and serves as a diffusion barrier to the reactivity of the bound mineral, as evident from substantially reduced rates of calcite dissolution. The multilayer deposition of organic particles is attributed to an interplay between bulk and surface reactions for interfacially active constituents of CRO. With the enrichment of PAHs even observed for mineral grains within reservoir rocks, the permeability and stability of organic adlayers emerge as key factors determining the wettability of carbonates as well as the diffusion behavior of ionic and molecular species at mineral-fluid interfaces. Results of this study are relevant to multiple aspects of reservoir development and maintenance, encompassing laboratory scale wettability and core flooding experiments, in silico models as well as the advancement of IOR strategies. The observed nano- and microscopic surface alterations of carbonates within reservoir mimetic environments facilitate our understanding of the physicochemical relations between mineralogy and fluid chemistry as well as elucidate the organization of mineral-adsorbent-fluid interfaces within reservoirs.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSociety of Petroleum Engineers - SPE Improved Oil Recovery Conference 2020, IOR 2020
PublisherSociety of Plastic Engineers
ISBN (Electronic)9781613997055
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2020
EventSPE Improved Oil Recovery Conference, IOR 2020 - Virtual Conference, Tulsa, United States
Duration: 31 Aug 20204 Sept 2020


ConferenceSPE Improved Oil Recovery Conference, IOR 2020
Abbreviated titleIOR 2020
Country/TerritoryUnited States


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