Experimental Investigation of the Effect of Polymers on Residual Oil Saturation
- Heesong Koh (Chevron Energy Technology Company) | Vincent B. Lee (Chevron Energy Technology Company) | Gary A. Pope (University of Texas at Austin)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE Journal
- Publication Date
- February 2018
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
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- 2018.Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Polymer flooding, Residual oil saturation, Fractional flow analysis
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Polymer flooding is a widely used commercial process with a low cost per barrel of produced oil, and hydrolyzed polyacrylamide (HPAM) polymers are the most widely used type of polymer. The objective of this research was to better understand and predict the behavior of HPAM polymers and their effect on residual oil saturation (ROS), to improve the capability of optimizing field design and performance. The corefloods were performed under typical field conditions of low pressure gradients and low capillary numbers. The polymer floods of the viscous oils recovered much more oil than the waterfloods, with up to 24% lower oil saturation after the polymer flood than after the waterflood. The experimental data are in good agreement with the fractional-flow analysis by use of the assumptions that the true ROSs and endpoint relative permeabilities are the same for both water and polymer. This suggests that, for more-viscous oils, the oil saturation at the end of a waterflood (i.e., at greater than 99% water cut) is better described as “remaining” oil saturation rather than the true “residual” oil saturation. This was true for all the corefloods, regardless of the core permeability and without the need for assuming a permeability-reduction factor in the fractional-flow analysis.
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