Conformance control treatment in high-temperature and ultra-high-salinity reservoirs for easing water/gas channeling through high-permeability zones has been a great challenge. In this work, we propose a deformable micro-gel that can be used at more than 100 °C and ultra-high salinity (TDS > 200000 mg/L, Ca2+ + Mg2+ > 10000 mg/L), and present a method for choosing the suitable particle size of micro-gel to achieve an optimal match with the pore throat of core.

First, the particle size distribution of micro-gel was analyzed to decide d50, d10 and d90 (diameter when cumulative frequency is 50%, 10% and 90%, respectively). Core flooding experiments were conducted under different permeability conditions from 20 to 900 mD. The migration and plugging patterns of the micro-gel were studied by analyzing and fitting injection pressure curves together with the change in the morphology of produced micro-gel analyzed by microscope. Finally, a quantitative matching relation was established between the size of micro-gel particles and the pore-throat size of core, its effectiveness was verified by evaluating plugging ability in subsequent water injection process.

The migration and plugging patterns were divided into three patterns: complete plugging, plugging – passing through in a deformation or broken state – deep migration, and inefficient plugging – smoothly passing through – stable flow. The second pattern can be further divided into three sub-patterns as strong plugging, general plugging and weak plugging. Based on the five patterns, a quantitative matching relation between the size of micro-gel particles and the pore-throat size of cores was established by defining three matching coefficients α=d10/d, β=d50/d, γ=d90/d (d is the average pore throat diameter). The effectiveness of this quantitative matching relation was verified by evaluating the plugging ability (residual resistance coefficient) in sequent water flooding process after the injection of 1.5 pore volume of micro-gel. For a strong permeability heterogeneity, the strong plugging is believed to be the expected pattern. The particles size and the pore-throat size should meet the following relationship: 1 < α < 2, 2 < β < 4, 4 < γ <6. In this scenario, the deformable micro-gel particles could achieve both an effective plugging and a deep migration. The quantitative matching relation can provide an indication for the quick determination of the suitable size of deformable micro-gel for conformance control processes in field application, including profile control and water-shut off treatment.

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