The success of surfactant flooding for enhanced oil recovery (EOR) process depends on the efficiency of designed chemical formula. In this chapter, a thorough discussion on Winsor Type III microemulsion was included which is considered the most desirable condition for achieving an ultra-low interfacial tension during surfactant-flooding process. A brief literature review on chemicals, experimental approaches, and methods used for the generation of the desirable phase was presented. Phase behavior studies of microemulsion are a very important tool in describing the interaction of an aqueous phase containing surfactant with hydrocarbon phase to form the Type III microemulsion. Microemulsion highly depends on brine salinity and the interfacial tension (IFT) changes as microemulsion phase transition occurs. At optimal salinity, Type III microemulsion forms, whereas salinity greater or lower than optimal value causes a significant increase in the IFT, resulting in insufficient oil displacement efficiency. Type III microemulsion at optimum salinity is characterized by ultra-low IFT, and extremely high oil recovery can be achieved. In addition, this chapter also stated various other mechanisms relating to oil entrapment, microemulsion phase transition, and surfactant loss in porous media.
Part of the book: Science and Technology Behind Nanoemulsions