Highly crosslinked gels are used in high-permeability reservoirs to achieve appropriate fluid-loss control during well completion and workover operations. Crosslinked gels are also used to shut off unwanted gas and/or water influx into production wells and to improve the conformance of the near-wellbore injection profile in naturally fractured or high-permeability reservoirs. In all these applications, the appropriate design of the gel treatment is critical to ensure an efficient gel placement. Important variables of gel systems are gel rheology and gel strength during and after the gelation reaction is completed.

The rheology of gels and gelation rates is commonly determined by rheometry or, in a qualitative mode, through bottle testing with well-known gel-strength codes (i.e., Sydansk's code). Rheological measurements can be time-consuming, while bottle testing can lead to an inconsistent gel description as a result of the subjective nature of the gel-strength code. This paper evaluates the use of low-field nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) as a nonin-trusive technique to monitor gelation rates and to characterize gel strength. Because of the nonintrusive nature of this technique, it could be considered to be a better alternative to conventional rhe-ological measurements and common qualitative methods, such as gel-strength codes. In addition, NMR could offer faster and more accurate gel-strength characterization and gelation monitoring compared to rheological methods. Furthermore, it can be used in porous media. NMR parameters are predicted and calibrated conducting concentration sweeps of polymer, crosslinker, and brine, as well as gelation-time sweeps. This then allows for a standardized method for gel characterization.

The findings of this work include a preliminary assessment of the use of different techniques, such as low-field NMR, rheometry, and bottle testing, for monitoring the gelation reaction and gel strength of partially hydrolyzed polyacrylamide chromium [(HPAm)/Cr(III)] acetate gel. The experimental results also include the initial identification of the gel point for different formulations of the gel system using low-field NMR.

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