Abstract Recent publications indicate injection of polymer solutions at concentration larger than conventional polymer flooding can result in higher recovery at field scale. Typically more than 20% OOIP compare to waterflooding have been reported (Wang et al; 2011). However injectivity issues have to be considered when injecting such concentrated polymer solutions. This work describes an alternative approach based on surfactant-based fluids. The technology we have developed matches the rheological properties of polymer solutions in a broad range of reservoir conditions (temperature & salinity) without any injectivity limitation even when considering very viscous surfactant solutions (ie up to 1000 cps) and low permeability cores.
Average first normal stress difference measurements have been used to compare the elastic properties of surfactant and high molecular weight polymer solutions. The degree of non linearity in the mechanical properties for both fluids has been expressed by Weissenberg number. The surfactant solution has much larger Weissenberg number than the polymer solution at a shear rate corresponding to the fluid propagation in the reservoir.
The potential of this surfactant-based technology is illustrated through a specific reservoir case involving heavy oil. A series of core-flood experiments has been performed in reservoir cores. The surfactant slug can be combined with a conventional low-concentration polymer flooding to further improve the process. Reduction in residual oil saturation in the range of ?Sw = 10-15% has been obtained. Complementary simulation study giving rise to economic analysis have been performed.
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