Review of world polymer flooding EOR projects

UDK: 622.276.6
DOI: 10.24887/0028-2448-2022-7-32-37
Key words: polymer flooding, surfactant-polymer flooding, alkali-surfactant-polymer flooding, polymer composition viscosity, polymer degradation, oil recovery factor
Authors: R.R. Ibatullin (TAL Oil Ltd., Canada, Calgary), Sh.K. Gaffarov (TatNIPIneft, RF, Bugulma), M.R. Khisametdinov (TatNIPIneft, RF, Bugulma), L.I. Minikhairov (Tatneft-Dobycha, RF, Almetyevsk)

The article presents an overview of geological conditions, technological parameters, and field results of the largest international and Russian polymer flooding projects including its variations, surfactant-polymer and alkali-surfactant-polymer flooding. It is shown that development of new types of polymers, including those resistant to thermal-oxidative and chemical degradation, can increase the number of candidate reservoirs for polymer flooding. The dependence of the selected polymer mass fraction in the slug on the viscosity of oil in reservoir conditions is presented. It is noteworthy that most polymer projects have been implemented in reservoirs with in-situ oil viscosities ranging from 10 to 100 mPa·s; as for the Canadian projects, they were effective in reservoirs with oil viscosities up to 1800 mPa·s. The formulas given for viscosity of a polymer solution vs. viscosity of in-situ oil can be used for design of polymer flooding in various geological and reservoir conditions. A literature review showed that polymer flooding and its variations allow increasing oil recovery factor by 15-30%, given reasoned choice of polymer, surfactants, and alkali, optimal values of mass fraction of components in slug, and the size of the slug. It is noted that to improve polymer flooding performance in fractured and abnormally high perm formations, it shall be preceded by injection of blocking crosslinked polymers or encapsulated microgel compositions. For a large-scale implementation of polymer flooding projects to accelerate oil production rates and to increase recovery factors, production of state-of-the-art equipment for injection of polymer systems, high-performance polymers and surfactants to meet various geological and reservoir conditions shall be arranged in Russia, which calls for measures of State support for large polymer projects.

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