In viscous oil reservoirs, Polymer flooding is often used to improve oil recovery either after a short period of waterflooding or as a tertiary recovery process following extensive period of waterflood. After six years of water flooding in a major reservoir in Sultanate of Oman having viscous oil (90cp), a field development plan was developed to implement polymer flooding in this reservoir with anticipated incremental oil recovery of around 10% over and above that of waterflood. Necessary facilities were constructed, injection and production wells were drilled, completed, converted and the polymer flood project was initiated and ongoing since the last three years through 27 polymer injectors. By implementing proactive Well and Reservoir Management (WRM) strategies, the actual oil recoveries have been better than predicted levels so far. It is demonstrated here that proactive well and reservoir management through proper well and reservoir surveillance and dynamic adjustment of injection and production rates play a very important role in improving the performance of polymer floods as in waterfloods.
Well and Reservoir Management (WRM) principles in case of a polymer flood are similar to that of high mobility ratio waterfloods with some additional aspects that are specific to a polymer flood scenario. Polymer chemical costs, its higher viscosity and non Newtonian fluid flow behavior all create unique conditions that are nonexistent in normal waterfloods. This, in turn, dictates the strategies and methods employed to optimize polymer flood performance. This paper details successful implementation of proactive WRM strategy that has played a key role in sustaining production from this polymer flood field to date. It describes the pattern management processes to optimize pattern wise polymer injection and oil recoveries, conformance control measures implemented to increase sweep and oil recovery, innovative surveillance techniques to monitor fracture growth in polymer injection wells and for evaluation and optimization of production/injection profiles. Production wells and facilities issues arising from polymer breakthrough are being addressed to mitigate any adverse effects.