This paper describes the successful execution of an inter-well field trial to test a novel reservoir-triggered polymer technology (the Polymer) which has been proven to mitigate two of the major operational and economic challenges facing polymer injection for enhanced oil recovery (EOR), particularly in the offshore environment. The challenges of shear degradation and reduced injectivity are overcome by delaying the development of viscosity until the Polymer is in the reservoir.
The field trial was conducted in an onshore sandstone oil field in Texas. The 1,000 ppm Polymer solution was injected at rates of 500 to 900 bbl/d into a 10-ft interval of low water permeability (50-100 mD) under matrix conditions. To demonstrate development of its expected viscosity in the reservoir, the growing Polymer bank was sampled from an existing producer. Pressure Transient Analysis (PTA) was used to confirm the deep-reservoir behaviour of the Polymer.
Field data demonstrates that the Polymer behaves as intended. The viscosity of the produced Polymer samples corresponds to the target viscosity as determined from surface activation of the Polymer at the same concentration. This confirms the shear-stability of the Polymer in its un-triggered form. In addition, the injection pressures were no greater than expected and significantly lower than the expected injection pressures, under matrix conditions, for an equivalent partially-hydrolysed polyacrylamide (HPAM). PTA indicates a bank of fluid of increased viscosity some distance from the injector, as designed.