A Comparison of Polymer Flooding With In-Depth Profile Modification
- Randall Seright (New Mexico Tech) | Guoyin Zhang (New Mexico Tech) | Olatokunbo Akanni (New Mexico Tech) | Dongmei Wang (University of North Dakota)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Canadian Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- September 2012
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 393 - 402
- 2012. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 5.4.7 Chemical Flooding Methods (e.g., Polymer, Solvent, Nitrogen, Immiscible CO2, Surfactant, Vapex), 5.7.2 Recovery Factors
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For stratified reservoirs with free crossflow and where fractures do not cause severe channeling, improved sweep is often needed after water breakthrough. For moderately viscous oils, polymer flooding is an option for this type of reservoir. However, in recent years, an in-depth profile-modification method has been commercialized in which a block is placed in the high-permeability zone(s). This sophisticated idea requires that (1) the blocking agent have a low viscosity (ideally a unit-mobility displacement) during placement, that (2) the rear of the blocking-agent bank in the high-permeability zone(s) outrun the front of the blocking-agent bank in adjacent less-permeable zones, and that (3) an effective block to flow form at the appropriate location in the high-permeability zone(s). Achieving these objectives is challenging but has been accomplished in at least one field test. This paper investigates when this in-depth profile-modification process is a superior choice over conventional polymer flooding.
Using simulation and analytical studies, we examined oil-recovery efficiency for the two processes as a function of (1) permeability contrast, (2) relative zone thickness, (3) oil viscosity, (4) polymer-solution viscosity, (5) polymer- or blocking-agent-bank size, and (6) relative costs for polymer vs. blocking agent. The results reveal that in-depth profile modification is most appropriate for high permeability contrasts (e.g., 10:1), high thickness ratios (e.g., less-permeable zones being 10 times thicker than high-permeability zones), and relatively low oil viscosities. Because of the high cost of the blocking agent relative to conventional polymers, economics favors small blocking-agent-bank sizes (e.g., 5% of the pore volume in the high-permeability layer). Even though short-term economics may favor in-depth profile modification, ultimate recovery may be considerably less than from a traditional polymer flood.
|File Size||4 MB||Number of Pages||10|
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