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Exploring multiphase flows in porous media

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Understanding structure/transport relations for multiphase fluid flow in heterogeneous reservoir rocks is critical for improved recovery of petroleum resources. Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) provides a powerful toolbox for exploring hydrodynamics within opaque porous materials. In this presentation I will highlight various ways in which NMR has enabled better understanding of complex fluid flows. Over the past few years we have explored enhanced oil recovery mechanisms, considering the displacement of trapped oil by surfactant or polymer solution injection. NMR has allowed us to monitor the transport of microemulsion phases through a real rock structure and observe the effect of elastic turbulence generated by flowing viscoelastic polymer solutions on trapped oil ganglia. Case studies reveal the importance of these mechanisms in the oilfield context. Furthermore, I will introduce future directions for low-field bench-top NMR instruments and discuss some of the open questions and challenges that we are exploring presently.

This talk is part of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Flows (IEEF) series.

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