Unwanted water production is a serious issue in oil- and gas-producing wells. It causes corrosion, scale, and loss of productivity. One method of treating this problem is to chemically reduce unwanted water. This paper discusses the use of polymer systems for this purpose and presents a thorough review of available literature over the last decade. In this paper, field-application data for various polymer systems are summarized over the range of 40 to 150°C (104 to 302°F). These applications cover a wide range of permeabilities from 20 to 2,720 md in sandstone and carbonate reservoirs around the globe. Moreover, the review revealed that the last decade of developments can be categorized into two major types. The first type is polymer gels for total water shutoff in the near-wellbore region, in which a polymer is crosslinked with either an organic or an inorganic crosslinker. The second type is concerned with deep treatment of water-injection wells diverting fluids away from high-permeability zones (thief zones). These thief zones take most of the injected water, which results in a large amount of unrecovered oil. For the total-blocking gels, various systems were identified, such as polyurethane resins, chromium (Cr3+) crosslinking terpolymers, Cr3+ crosslinking foamed partially hydrolyzed polyacrylamide (PHPA), and nanoparticle polyelectrolyte complexes (PECs) sequestering Cr3+ for elongation of its gelation time with PHPA. In addition, polyethylenimine (PEI) was identified to crosslink various polyacrylamide- (PAM-) based polymers. The Petróleos de Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA) Research and Development Center developed a PAM-based thermally stable polymer and an organic crosslinker. The system is applicable for a wide temperature range from 50 to 160°C (130 to 320°F).
For the deep modification of water-injection profiles in water-injection wells, two systems were identified: microspheres prepared from PAM monomers crosslinked with N,N′-methylenebisacrylamide and microspheres produced by crosslinking 2-acrylamido-2-methylpropane sulfonic acid (AMPS) with diacrylamides and methacrylamides of diamines (thermally activated microparticles known as Bright Water). This paper highlights all major developments in these areas.