A number of reservoirs have been partially invaded by bottom water. Water flooding such reservoirs can be especially inefficient if the oil has a high viscosity because injected water will under-run the oil and emerge at producing wells without having displaced much oil. A possible means of improving water sweep efficiency would be to precede the water flood with a slug of water purposely thickened with a chemical additive. This possibility has been studied with a scaled laboratory flow model. The investigation was carried out on a model representing a 20-acre five-spot with one set of reservoir conditions. Displacements were performed with water, with viscous-water slugs of 10 and 25 per cent of the pore volume followed by water, and with all viscous water. Displacement tests were made at several rates of injection. For all cases, compared at the same producing water-oil ratio, an increase in rate resulted in an increase in volumetric sweep. The larger the quantity of viscous slug injected, the greater the crossflow of oil ahead of the displacing front and, thus, the lower the WOR during that period of a displacement. This investigation indicates that the injection of aqueous viscous slugs in this type of system would give some additional benefit over conventional flooding by

  1. reducing the life of the flood,

  2. reducing lifting costs and

  3. increasing ultimate recovery.

The benefits of a viscous-slug displacement would warrant its use if the viscous water could be created for a few cents per barrel.


The most appropriate method for water flooding oil reservoirs which have been partially invaded by bottom water has been a problem of considerable interest. Such reservoirs, having good vertical permeability and unfavorable mobility ratios, are difficult to produce efficiently under normal waterflood procedures. Even though the injection wells have been plugged back above the oil-water contact and the water zone has been squeezed off, injection water will enter the formation and not only displace oil, but also much of it will displace the bottom water, thus creating a high producing water-oil ratio at the start of a flood (see Fig. 1).Since the rate of injection and the viscosity of the displacing fluid are the more easily controlled physical parameters of the reservoir, it is quite natural to study their effects on the volumetric sweep of the oil zone and on the producing water-oil ratio. Increasing the viscosity of the displacing fluid has two disadvantages-it reduces the maximum rate of injection into the reservoir, and it costs more than water. It was thought that the injection of a viscous-fluid slug, followed by water, would minimize these two disadvantages, increase the volumetric sweep of the oil zone and reduce the producing water-oil ratio. Water with an additive to increase viscosity would probably be the most effective. The primary purpose of this investigation was to determine the feasibility of injecting viscous-water slugs followed by water to improve or hasten oil recovery while reducing the producing water-oil ratios. The effect of injection rate upon recovery was also investigated. A laboratory model, scaled to a 20-acre five-spot prototype with one set of reservoir conditions, was constructed. Laboratory studies of displacements with

  1. water,

  2. viscous-water slugs of 10 and 25 per cent of the pore volume followed by water and

  3. all viscous water were performed at several rates of injection.


There are two conventional means of determining scaling criteria. These are dimensional analysis and inspectional analysis.


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