Surfactant/polymer (SP) flooding is an enhanced‐oil‐recovery (EOR) process that can lead to incremental oil recovery through two mechanisms: reducing oil/water interfacial tension (IFT) to decrease residual oil saturation and increasing the viscosity of the displacing fluid to improve overall sweep efficiency. IFT reduction allows better oil recovery by overcoming capillary effects, while the increased viscosity of the displacing fluid allows a more‐homogeneous sweep of reservoir oil. Implementing chemical flooding in reservoirs with relatively high temperature and in‐situ salinity (>200,000 ppm) is somewhat challenging. This paper describes the extensive laboratory work performed for the light‐oil Raudhatain Lower Burgan (RALB) Reservoir (180°F/82°C) in Kuwait.

Reservoir fluids were thoroughly characterized to preselect the most‐suitable chemicals for the SP process. Reservoir crude oil was analyzed and recombined with gases (C1 through C3) depending on the reported gas/oil ratio (GOR) to reproduce the oil in place (OIP) at original reservoir conditions in terms of pressure, temperature, and oil composition. A shift of the live‐oil equivalent alkane carbon number (EACN) was compared with the dead‐oil EACN.

Numerous surfactants were screened according to three main criteria: solubility in the envisioned injection brine, ultralow oil/water IFT, and chemical adsorption on reservoir rock. Different brine types were considered, and the use of adsorption inhibitors was also investigated. Furthermore, polymer screening involving temperature‐resistant polymers was conducted by means of viscosity, long‐term‐aging, and adsorption tests. Polymer compatibility with the selected surfactants was also evaluated. The selected SP formulation was further evaluated through a series of coreflood experiments that were mainly dependent on chemical adsorption on reservoir rock and incremental oil recovery. An injection strategy was designed as a result of these experiments.

Laboratory results obtained thus far are encouraging and provide a systematic methodology to design SP injection in high‐temperature, high‐salinity, and light‐oil reservoirs that are similar to the RALB reservoir. Additional technoeconomic evaluation is in progress in preparation for field‐scale deployment of SP injection at RALB Reservoir.

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