Total views : 468

Foam Modeling Approaches in Enhanced Oil Recovery: A Review


  • Petroleum Engineering Department, Universiti Teknologi Petronas, Malaysia


Background/Objectives: Nowadays, gas injection is one of a convenient method to increase oil recovery. The drawbacks of gas injection have been solved, to some extent, via introducing the foam assisted process. In order to accomplish an advantageous foam flooding a suitable model for foam is required to be able to predict the foam behavior appropriately. Analysis: This paper describes the basic concept of foam as well as different foam model approaches for foam assisted process in Enhanced Oil Recovery. In addition, pros and cons of each approach has been tabulated and discussed. Finding: We able to provide the advantages and disadvantages of each modeling approach as well as those parameters which have a significant effect on each model. The result depicted that, the best way to simulate the foam flooding in the commercial simulator is the Empirical approach. However, this model is not able to predict the behavior of foam in unsteady state properly. Novelty: The lack of a brief and informative study about basic of foam modeling approaches is the motivation of this study. Accordingly, this study presents the general overview in foam models which has been developed in the past three decades.


Empirical Approach, Foam Flooding, Foam Modeling, Gas Mobility Reduction, Mechanistic Approach.

Full Text:

 |  (PDF views: 826)


  • Hirasaki GJ. The steam-foam process--review of steam-foam process mechanisms. Society of Petroleum Engineers. 1989.
  • Boud DC, Holbrook OC. Gas drive oil recovery process [Internet]. [Cited 1958 Dec 30]. Available from:
  • Alvarez JM, Rivas H, Navarro G. An optimal foam quality for diversion in matrix-acidizing projects; 2000.
  • Li S, Li Z, Lin R. Mathematical models for foam-diverted acidizing and their applications. Petroleum Science. 2008; 5(2):145-52.
  • Rossen WR, Wang MW. Modeling foams for acid diversion. Society of Petroleum Engineers. 1999 Feb 4.
  • Hirasaki GJ, Miller CA, Szafranski R et al. Field demonstration of the surfactant/foam process for aquifer remediation. SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, San Antonio, Texas; 1997 Oct 5–8.
  • Mulligan CN. Current opinion in colloid & interface science recent advances in the environmental applications of biosurfactants. Current Opinion in Colloid & Interface Science. 2009; 14(5):372–78.
  • Bernard GG, Holm LW. Mode study of foam as a sealant for leaks in gas storage reservoirs. Society of Petroleum Engineers. 1970; 10(1):9–16.
  • Smith DH, Metc USDOE, Jikich SA, Wasc G. Foams and surfactants for improved underground storage of natural gas by blockage of water coning. Eastern Regional Conference & ExhlMion Held in Pittsburgh. PA, U.S.A; 1993. p. 197–201.
  • Walsh M, Lake LW. A generalized approach to primary hydrocarbon recovery of petroleum exploration and production. 1st ed. Elsevier Science; 2003.
  • Sohrabi M, Henderson GD, Tehrani DH, Danesh A. Visualisation of oil recovery by Water Alternating Gas (WAG) Injection using high pressure micromodels - water-wet system. SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition; 2000. p. 1–8.
  • Robie DR, Roedell JW, Wackowski RK. Field trial of simultaneous injection of C02 and water, Rangeiy ‘ Weber sand unit , Colorado. SPE Production Operations Symposium, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; 1995 Apr 2–4.
  • Farzaneh SA, Sohrabi M. A review of the status of foam applications in enhanced oil recovery; 2013.
  • Afsharpoor A, Lee GS, Kam SI. Mechanistic simulation of continuous gas injection period during Surfactant-Alternating-Gas (SAG) processes using foam catastrophe theory. Chemical Engineering Science. 2010; 65(11):3615–31.
  • Le VQ, Nguyen QP, Sanders AW, Dow T. A novel foam concept with CO2 dissolved surfactants. The SPE/DOE Improved Oil Recovery Symposium Held in Tulsa, Oklahoma; 2008 Apr. p. 1–15.
  • Stone HL. A simultaneous water and gas flood design with extraordinary vertical gas sweep. Proceedings of SPE International Petroleum Conference in Mexico; 2004.
  • Shabib-Asl A, Ayoub MA, Saaid IM, Valentim PPJ. Experimental investigation into effects of crude oil acid and base number on wettability alteration by using different low salinity water in sandstone rock. Journal of the Japan Petroleum Institute. 2015; 58(4):228–36.
  • Hematpur H, Karimi M, Rashidi M. A brief review on foam flow modeling through porous media. International Journal of Petroleum and Geoscience Engineering. 2014:104–19.
  • Rossen WR. Foams in enhanced oil recovery. R.K. Prud’homme, Khan S, editor. Foams: Theory, Measurements and Applications. New York: Marcel Dekker; 1996.
  • Ma K, Ren G, Mateen K, Morel D, Cordelier P. Literature review of modeling techniques for foam flow through porous media. The SPE Improved Oil Recovery Symposium Held in Tulsa, Oklahoma; 2014 Apr 12–16.
  • George GB, Jacobs WL. Effect of foam on trapped gas saturation and on permeability of porous media to water. Society of Petroleum Engineers. 1965; 5(4):295–300.
  • de Vries AS, Wit K. Rheology of gas/water foam in the quality range relevant to steam foam. SPE Reservoir Evaluation & Engineering. 1990 May:185–92.
  • Kovscek AR. Reservoir simulation of foam displacement processes. Earth Science; 1998.
  • Hematpour H, Arabjamloei R, Nematzadeh M, Esmaili H, Mardi M. An experimental investigation of surfactant flooding efficiency in low viscosity oil using a glass micromodel. Energy Sources Part A Recovery Utilization and Environmental Effects. 2012; 34(19):1745–58.
  • Marfoe CH, Kazemi H, Ramirez WF. Numerical simulation of foam flow in porous media. SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, Dallas, Texas; 1987 Sep 27–30.
  • Islam MR, Ali SMF. Numerical simulation of foam flow in porous media. Annual Technical Meeting, Calgary, Alberta; 1988 Jun 12–16,.
  • Chang S, Owusu L, French SB, Kovarik FS. The effect of microscopic heterogeneity on CO2-foam mobility: part 2-mechanistic foam simulation. SPE/DOE Seventh Symposium on Enhanced Oil Recovery, Tulsa, Oklahoma; 1990 Apr 22–25.
  • Ibrahim MNM, Koederitz LF. Two-phase steady-state and unsteady-state relative permeability prediction models. SPE Middle East Oil Show; 2013.
  • Ltd. CMG. Stars User Guide Advanced Processes & Thermal Reservoir Simulator; 2014.
  • Kam SI, Rossen WR. A model for foam generation in homogeneous media. Society of Petroleum Engineers. 2003; 8(04):417–25.
  • Dholkawala ZF, Sarma HK, Kam SI. Application of fractional flow theory to foams in porous media. Journal of Petroleum Science and Engineering. 2007; 57(1–2):152–65.
  • Falls AH, Hirasaki GJ, Patzek TW, Gauglitz DA, Miller DD, Ratulowski T. Development of a mechanistic foam simulator. Society of Petroleum Engineers. 1988.
  • Roostapour A, Kam SI. Anomalous foam-fractional-flow solutions at high-injection foam quality. SPE Reservoir Evaluation & Engineering. 2013 Feb 16:14–18.
  • Chen Q, Gerritsen MG, Kovscek AR. Modeling foam displacement with the local-equilibrium approximation: theory and experimental verification. Society of Petroleum Engineers. 2010; 15(1):171–83.
  • Veeningen D, Zitha PLJ, Van Kruijsdijk CPJW. Understanding foam flow physics : the role of permeability. SPE European Formation Damage Conference, The Hague, Netherlands; 1997 Jun 2–3.
  • Myers TJ, Radke CJ. Transient foam displacement in the presence of residual oil: experiment and simulation using a population-balance model. Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research. 2000; 39(8):2725–41.
  • Ettinger RA, Radke CJ. Influence of texture on steady foam flow in berea sandstone. SPE Reservoir Evaluation & Engineering. 1992; 7(1):83–90 .
  • Gauglitz AP, Friedmann F, Kam IS, Rossen RW. Foam generation in homogeneous porous media. Chemical Engineering Science. 2002; 57(19):4037–52.
  • Kam SI. Improved mechanistic foam simulation with foam catastrophe theory. Colloids and Surfaces A: Physicochemical and Engineering Aspects. 2008; 318(1–3):62–77.
  • Hunt AG. Applications of percolation theory to porous media with distributed local conductances. Advances in Water Resources. 2001; 24(3–4):279–307.
  • Rossen WR, Gauglitz PA. Percolation theory of creation and mobilization of foams in porous media. AIChE Journal. 1990; 36(8):1176–88.
  • Kovscek AR, Bertin HJ. Foam mobility in heterogeneous porous media (II: Experimental observations). Transport in Porous Media. 2003 Jul; 52(1):37–49.
  • Nguyen QP, Alexandrov AV, Zitha PL, Currie PK, Technology DU. Experimental and modeling studies on foam in Porous media : a review. SPE International Symposium on Formation Damage Control, Lafayette, Louisiana; 2000 Feb 23–24.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.