Associative Polymers as Enhanced Oil Recovery Agents in Oil-wet Formations - A Laboratory Approach
R. Askarinezhad / DrillWell, D.G. Hatzignatiou and A. Stavland / DrillWell
Event name: IOR 2017 - 19th European Symposium on Improved Oil Recovery
Publication date: 24 April 2017
Info: Extended abstract, PDF ( 2.12Mb )
Price: € 20
Associative polymers recently tested for their EOR potential in water-wet systems displayed a good potential for reducing residual oil saturation in polymer-flooded cores. In this work, an oil-wet porous medium was used to investigate these observations. A low molecular weight associative polymer was tested as a displacing agent and its ability to increase oil recovery on chemically treated oil-wet Berea cores was evaluated. Linear coreflood experiments were performed using filtered associative polymer solution as the EOR agent at standard pressure and 60°C temperature. Results from the polymer floods conducted at an established waterflood residual oil saturation (Sorw) yielded increased oil recoveries, i.e., reduced residual oil saturations, Sor, in the formation. The observed incremental oil production was a function of the injected associative polymer treatment volume; Sor decreased with increased injected associative polymer volume. It should be noted that at laboratory conditions it is often hard to establish and also distinguish a 100% water-cut; in other words, true residual oil saturation, Sorw, is often difficult to be established during water injection. Oil production profile can be discussed based on fractional flow theory, which defines the true Sorw at 100% water-cut. Whenever the produced water-cut is not precisely 100%, oil saturation in the formation is higher than the true Sorw; polymer injection with an improved mobility ratio compared to the water injection one results in an additional oil production, which could be misinterpreted as a reduction in the residual oil saturation, i.e., enhance oil production. Although this accelerated oil production is an attractive possibility (mobility control), it is not an EOR process. Our results are in agreement with previously reported observations in water-wet media related to the EOR nature of the injected associative polymer as opposed to the traditional mobility control of other, either synthetic or organic, polymers. The same results showed that the polymer mobility reduction is highly affected by the injected polymer velocity at the lower spectrum of velocity values and a correlation for the velocity dependent mobility reduction was developed. Finally, during the injection of the associative polymer, a column of oil-polymer emulsion was formed gradually in the separator which caused some difficulties and introduced uncertainties in the separator’s fluids level readings, and thus eventually in the fluids saturation evaluation. Resistivity data obtained in real time were used to correct for the overestimated values of oil production during polymer injection attributed to the formation of the oil/water emulsion.