A Laboratory Investigation of the Effects of Saturated Steam Properties on the Interfacial Tension of Heavy-Oil/Steam System Using Pendant Drop Method

  •  Madi Naser    
  •  Asep Permadi    
  •  Wisup Bae    
  •  Septoratno Siregar    
  •  Wonsun Ryoo    


For about a century, steam injection has been widely used as the most popular thermal recovery method for heavy-oil in sandstone reservoirs. In order to achieve higher recovery efficiency, which corresponds to the lowest possible value of residual oil saturation and economic success of steam injection projects, an accurate laboratory measurement of the interfacial tension between steam and heavy-oil is essential. However, laboratory investigation and visualization of the effects of steam injection on the interfacial tension between heavy-oil and steam as a function of saturation temperature and pressure is not well documented in the literature.

The objective of this study is to investigate the influences of the two main factors which affect the interfacial tension of heavy-oil and steam namely saturation pressure and temperature. An optical cell, which was fitted with a goniometer system and a procedure to generate steam for the measurement of interfacial tension have been used. The difference between the density of heavy-oil and steam, which was used for pendant drop measurements, was calculated at specific temperature and pressure conditions using Katz’s method. Meanwhile, the density of steam was obtained from an international steam table.

The interfacial tension of heavy-oil/steam was measured in small intervals, ranging from 115 to 181 Celsius and 25 to 150 pounds per square inch. The results show that the interfacial tension decreases when the saturation temperature and pressure increases. This finding might be useful as an important reference for understanding and visualization the mechanism of interfacial tension during steam injection.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1927-0569
  • ISSN(Online): 1927-0577
  • Started: 2011
  • Frequency: semiannual

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