An operator recently launched a "water-shutoff" polymer development project for an onshore injector well in a brownfield operation in Thailand. To effectively improve water flooding performance in this field, shutting off a water thief zone was a prerequisite.

Several conservative expanding tubing pads placed in the upper zones restricted access to the lower zone perforations or placement of another tubing pad in the lower zones; therefore, operational planning and strict laboratory testing were performed. This included setting-time testing using an actual chemical blend in batch mode, which closely simulated bottomhole conditions. The process required shutting off the upper zone to facilitate water injection into the lower zone, employing coiled tubing (CT). The design consisted of a shut-off treatment with a lost-circulation material (LCM) to help ensure wellbore fluid placement and shutoff in the high-permeability water thief zone at the designated positions, and to ensure that the pressure response could be monitored from the surface.

The shut-off operation was performed as planned, and CT was used for cleanup after placement. Water-production monitoring has shown that the shut-off polymer is one of the best solutions for this field in terms of safety, economics, and operation. As a result of well testing, after the thief zone shut-off treatment, water injectivitywas decreased by approximately 97%, demonstrating the effectiveness of the technique in terms of safety, economics, and operation. A long-term monitoring program was established to evaluate the polymer’s seal-off performance for development of future field strategies. Such an operation could help increase oil recovery by 5 to 10% of oil in place.

This technique does not require mechanically sealing off the perforations, making it more feasible for future well interventions and enabling a greater injection rate for chemical EOR where desired.

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