Stability of Partially Hydrolyzed Polyacrylamides at Elevated Temperatures in the Absence of Divalent Cations
- Randall S. Seright (New Mexico Tech) | Andrew Campbell (New Mexico Tech) | Peter Mozley (New Mexico Tech) | Peihui Han (Daqing Oilfield Company)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE Journal
- Publication Date
- June 2010
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 341 - 348
- 2010. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 5.3.4 Reduction of Residual Oil Saturation, 5.8.7 Carbonate Reservoir, 4.6 Natural Gas, 5.1.3 Sedimentology, 5.4.10 Microbial Methods, 5.4.7 Chemical Flooding Methods (e.g., Polymer, Solvent, Nitrogen, Immiscible CO2, Surfactant, Vapex), 6.3.6 Chemical Storage and Use, 2.4.3 Sand/Solids Control
- polyacrylamide stability; polymer flooding; polymer stability; chemical flooding; oxygen consumption in reservoirs
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- 1,251 since 2007
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At elevated temperatures in aqueous solution, partially hydrolyzed polyacrylamides (HPAMs) experience hydrolysis of amide side groups. However, in the absence of dissolved oxygen and divalent cations, the polymer backbone can remain stable so that HPAM solutions were projected to maintain at least half their original viscosity for more than 8 years at 100°C and for approximately 2 years at 120°C. Within our experimental error, HPAM stability was the same with and without oil (decane). An acrylamide-AMPS copolymer [with 25% 2-acrylamido-2-methylpropane sulphonic acid (AMPS)] showed similar stability to that for HPAM. Stability results were similar in brines with 0.3% NaCl, 3% NaCl, or 0.2% NaCl plus 0.1% NaHCO3. At temperatures of 160°C and greater, the polymers were more stable in brine with 2% NaCl plus 1% NaHCO3 than in the other brines. Even though no chemical oxygen scavengers or antioxidants were used in our study, we observed the highest level of thermal stability reported to date for these polymers. Our results provide considerable hope for the use of HPAM polymers in enhanced oil recovery (EOR) at temperatures up to 120°C if contact with dissolved oxygen and divalent cations can be minimized.
Calculations performed considering oxygen reaction with oil and pyrite revealed that dissolved oxygen will be removed quickly from injected waters and will not propagate very far into porous reservoir rock. These findings have two positive implications with respect to polymer floods in high-temperature reservoirs. First, dissolved oxygen that entered the reservoir before polymer injection will have been consumed and will not aggravate polymer degradation. Second, if an oxygen leak (in the surface facilities or piping) develops during the course of polymer injection, that oxygen will not compromise the stability of the polymer that was injected before the leak developed or the polymer that is injected after the leak is fixed. Of course, the polymer that is injected while the leak is active will be susceptible to oxidative degradation. Maintaining dissolved oxygen at undetectable levels is necessary to maximize polymer stability. This can be accomplished readily without the use of chemical oxygen scavengers or antioxidants.
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