Preformed Particle Gels (PPGs) have been widely applied to control excessive water production in mature oil fields with fractures or fracture-like features, especially in sandstones, but with limited attention to carbonates. However, a vital concern arises regarding the potential damage of PPGs on the adjacent matrix that might promote negative results. This paper comprehensively evaluates PPGs’ potential damage to the carbonate matrix and seeks design optimization solutions. Filtration tests were applied to compare PPGs’ penetration into matrix under different sets of conditions. The filtration regimes were defined by filtration curves and the gel damage on matrix was determined by permeability measurement results. Experiments were conducted to investigate the efficiency of an oxidizer as a remediation method to remove the damage. The qualitative description of gel particles’ invasion and plugging behavior in the carbonate matrix was presented based on the analysis of filtration test results and permeability measurements.
Results show that the swollen gel filtration curves can be divided into three regions: prior-filter-cake, filter-cake-building, and stable stages according to the gel particles’ response to the injection pressure and effluent flow rates. PPGs can form cakes on the rock surface to prevent particles’ further penetration into carbonate matrix, and the penetration was only limited to less than a few millimeters. The smallest gel particles (50–70 US mesh size) were more likely to form external and internal filter cakes at higher pressure values (700 psi) and result in more damage to the matrix. To restore the matrix permeability after filtration tests, oxidizer soaking was proved to be a reliable solution. In all, the results indicated that unintentional matrix permeability damage induced by gel injection is generally unavoidable, but conditionally treatable.