The Effect of Redox Potential and Metal Solubility on Oxidative Polymer Degradation
- David B. Levitt (Total Petrochemicals) | Will Slaughter (Chevron) | Gary Pope (University of Texas at Austin) | Stephane Jouenne (Total Petrochemicals)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE Reservoir Evaluation & Engineering
- Publication Date
- June 2011
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 287 - 298
- 2011. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 4.3.1 Hydrates, 2.5.2 Fracturing Materials (Fluids, Proppant), 5.4.7 Chemical Flooding Methods (e.g., Polymer, Solvent, Nitrogen, Immiscible CO2, Surfactant, Vapex), 4.2.3 Materials and Corrosion
- Polyacrylamide, Iron, Fenton, Redox, Oxidation
- 3 in the last 30 days
- 835 since 2007
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Oxidative degradation of polymers is a serious concern in their field application for enhanced oil recovery (EOR). This study is an attempt to resolve some of the discrepancies in the literature regarding the occurrence and extent of this degradation, as well as to present a coherent framework for discussing the multitude of possible radical reactions. Sodium carbonate and bicarbonate are demonstrated to play a key role in stabilizing polymer against multiple reported sources of degradation, and it seems likely that this is caused by their effect on iron solubility. Brines containing iron in the reduced state are often obtained from aquifers for use in polymer hydration. These brines are shown to be prone to causing immediate degradation if exposed to air during or after polymer hydration because of the oxidation of soluble iron. If this cannot be avoided, preaeration may be a feasible strategy to minimize degradation during hydration. However, care must be taken to ensure subsequent degradation is not caused by the injection of a polymer solution containing oxygen into a formation containing iron. For instance, sodium dithionite can be added downstream of the last exposure to oxygen. The use of sodium carbonate may also mitigate degradation caused by the oxidation of iron (II) during polymer hydration.
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