The use of alkaline polymer surfactant flooding techniques is becoming more common-place, particularly in projects where heavier and more viscous crude oil is produced. While the efficacy of increasing recovery factors cannot be disputed, often there is little consideration given to the implications of these enhanced oil recovery (EOR) chemicals breaking through into producer wells and entering the produced water handling system. The impact caused by EOR chemical breakthrough can be varied, but most commonly the efficacy of oil/water separation is seriously affected. The contribution that EOR chemicals can have on reservoir souring is often underestimated, as is the effect they can have upon standard production chemicals such as scale and corrosion inhibitors.

This paper draws upon the importance of different fluid ratios during EOR operations and the challenges that EOR chemical breakthrough has upon the produced water treatment strategy. A field case history specifically addressing the challenge of fluid separation at different fluid ratios and the impact on water in oil and oil in water emulsion stability.

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