Conformance-polymer systems have been successfully applied for many years to control undesired water production from hydrocarbon wells. However, currently available polymers present a number of limitations for high-temperature wells (>250°F) in terms of providing longer gelation times and acceptable thermal stability. This paper presents the successful field implementation of an organically crosslinked polymer (OCP) for high-temperature applications in southern Mexico.

The OCP system is based on a copolymer of acrylamide and t-butyl acrylate (PAtBA) crosslinked with polyethyleneamine (PEI). To date, more than 450 jobs have been performed with the OCP system around the world to address conformance problems, such as water coning/cresting, high-permeability streaks, gravel pack isolation, fracture shutoff, and/or casing-leak repair. Originally, the OCP system had a limited working temperature range from 100° to 250°F. The upper placement temperature of the system was ~250°F because, above this temperature, pumping times were too short. A recently developed carbonate retarder allows reasonable placement times up to 350°F, without the need for cooling down the formation to obtain enough pumping time. The retarder is not detrimental to the thermal stability of the system.

An overview of case histories that used OCP in southern Mexico is presented in this paper. In addition, the development results of the high-temperature conformance polymer are discussed in terms of (1) gelation-time measurement and (2) effectiveness to limit permeability to water and thermal stability in sandpack flow tests at elevated temperatures. To date, more than 70 jobs have been successfully performed worldwide with the OCP at temperatures higher than 250°F.

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