Injecting stable, preformed microgels as relative permeability modifiers to reduce water production minimizes the risk of well plugging or the absence of efficiency inherent to a technology based on in-situ gelling. Recent investigations showed that microgels formed by crosslinking a polymer solution under shear are soft, size-controlled, quasi-insensitive to reservoir conditions, stable over long periods of time and can control in-depth permeability by adsorbing onto all types of rock surface. The new laboratory studies reported in this paper aimed at knowing how to control the kinetics of crosslink formation by ionic strength and at determining the role the interactions between microgels on their propagation in porous media. The reported experiments include: 1) gelling tests at different ionic strengths, 2) measurements of viscoelastic properties of solutions, 3) determination of both microgel density and microgel-microgel interaction parameter for different conditions of stabilization, 4) the relation between the interaction parameter and the mode of adsorption of microgels. Partly attractive microgels were found to adsorb by forming multilayers and thus to induce drastic permeability barriers. Fully repulsive microgels adsorb as a monolayer and propagate easily in porous media at long distances depending only on the quantity of microgel injected. Thus, by controlling both gelling and stabilization processes, microgels can be produced to be either diversion agents or disproportionate permeability reducers to control water permeability at long distances from the wells.

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