In naturally fractured reservoirs, conformance control prior to enhanced oil recovery (EOR) application might be essential to ensure optimal contact and sufficient sweep. Recently, few studies investigated combining foams and gels into what is commonly coined as foamed-gels. Foamed-gels have been tested and shown to be potential for some field conditions. Yet, very limited studies were performed for high temperature and high salinity carbonates. Therefore, in this work, we study the potential of foamed-gels for high temperature and high salinity carbonates. The objective is to evaluate the potential of such synergy and to compare its value to the individual processes.

For that purpose, in this work, we rely on bulk and core-scale tests. Bulk tests were used for initial screening. Wide range of foam-gel solutions were prepared with different polymer types and polymer concentrations. Test tubes were hand shacked thoroughly to generate foams. Foam heights were then measured from the test tubes. Heights were used to screen foaming agents and to study gelant effects on foamers in terms of foam strength (heights). The effect of foamers on gelation was evaluated through bottle tests. Based on the results, an optimal concentration ratio of gelant to foamer was determined and used in core-scale displacements, to further study the potential of this hybrid foam-gel process.

Bulk results suggested that addition of the gelant up to a 4:1 foam to gel concentration ratio resulted in sufficient foam generation in some of the polymer samples. Yet, only two of the foam-gel samples generated a strong gel. Increasing the foamer concentration delayed the gelation time and in some samples, the solution did not gel. Through the coreflooding experiment, resistance factor (RF) and residual resistance factor (RRF) were obtained for different conformance control processes including foam, foam-gel, and gel. Foam-gel injection exhibited higher RF and RRF values than conventional foams. However, conventional gels showed even higher RF and RRF values than foam-gels.

Combining two of the most widely used conformance control methods (foams and gels) can strike a balance. Foam-gel may offer a treatment that is deeper and more sustainable than foams and on the other a treatment that is more practical, and lower-cost than gels. Our laboratory results also demonstrate that such synergetic conformance control can be achieved in high salinity and high temperature carbonates with pronounced impact.

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