Preformed Particle Gel for Conformance Control: Transport Mechanism Through Porous Media
- Baojun Bai (U. of Missouri Rolla) | Yuzhang Liu (PetroChina Co. Ltd.) | Jean-Paul Coste (Research Inst. of Petroleum Exploration and Development, PetroChina) | Liangxiong Li (Research Inst. of Petroleum Exploration and Development, PetroChina)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE Reservoir Evaluation & Engineering
- Publication Date
- April 2007
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 176 - 184
- 2007. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 4.3.4 Scale, 5.3.1 Flow in Porous Media, 3.2.6 Produced Water Management, 5.4.7 Chemical Flooding Methods (e.g., Polymer, Solvent, Nitrogen, Immiscible CO2, Surfactant, Vapex), 3.2.3 Hydraulic Fracturing Design, Implementation and Optimisation, 1.8 Formation Damage, 5.1.1 Exploration, Development, Structural Geology, 5.7.2 Recovery Factors, 2.4.3 Sand/Solids Control, 1.6.9 Coring, Fishing, 5.1.2 Faults and Fracture Characterisation, 4.1.2 Separation and Treating, 5.4 Enhanced Recovery, 3 Production and Well Operations, 2.5.2 Fracturing Materials (Fluids, Proppant), 5.1 Reservoir Characterisation, 4.1.5 Processing Equipment, 5.3.3 Particle Transportation, 5.4.1 Waterflooding
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Preformed particle gel (PPG) has been successfully synthesized and applied to control excess water production in most of the mature, waterflooded oil fields in China. This paper reports on laboratory experiments carried out to investigate PPG transport mechanisms through porous media. Visual observations in etched-glass micromodels demonstrate that PPG propagation through porous media exhibits six patterns of behavior: direct pass, adsorption, deform and pass, snap-off and pass, shrink and pass, and trap. At the macroscopic scale, PPG propagation through porous media can be described by three patterns: pass, broken and pass, and plug. The dominant pattern is determined by the pressure change with time along a tested core (as measured at specific points), the particle-size ratio of injected and produced particles from the core outlet, and the residual resistance factor of each segment along the core. Measurements from micromodel and routine coreflooding experiments show that a swollen PPG particle can pass through a pore throat with a diameter that is smaller than the particle diameter owing to the elasticity and deformability of the swollen PPG particle. The largest diameter ratio of a PPG particle and a pore throat that the PPG particle can pass through depends on the swollen PPG strength. PPG particles can pass through porous media only if the driving pressure gradient is higher than the threshold pressure gradient. The threshold pressure depends on the strength of the swollen PPG and the ratio of the particle diameter and the average pore diameter.
Reservoir heterogeneity is a principle factor responsible for the low sweep efficiency of injected water or gas. To control conformance in waterflooding or gasflooding, many technologies have been applied, such as polymer flooding, foam flooding, alkaline-surfactant-polymer (ASP), and so on (Wang et al. 2003; Song et al. 1995; Grigg and Schechter 1997). Injecting a large volume of gel to correct in-depth permeability for those reservoirs with fractures or channels has been an attractive technology for years (Sydansk and Southwell 2000; Lane and Seright 2000; Wang et al. 2001; Fielding et al. 1994; Bai et al. 1999). In this paper, "channel?? means a super-high-permeability zone or streak; it does not mean flow through a common matrix.
In recent years, the study of preformed gel for conformance control has gained great interest among gel-based enhanced-oil-recovery processes. Seright (1997, 2000) studied the behavior of preformed bulk gel through fractures and demonstrated that preformed bulk gel had better placement than in-situ gel and could effectively reduce gel damage on unswept low-permeability oil zones or matrix (Seright 1997, 2000, 2003; Chauveteau et al. 2000, 2001). Chauveteau et al. (2000, 2001, 2003) synthesized preformed microgel particles that were crosslinked under shear; Feng et al. (2003) demonstrated that the microgels could be easily injected into porous media without any sign of plugging, and that these microgels should be good candidates for water-shutoff and profile-control operations.
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