Polymer flooding is one of the most widely used chemical enhanced oil recovery methods due to its simplicity and low cost. To achieve high oil recoveries, large quantities of polymer solution is often injected through a small wellbore. Sometimes, the economic success of the project is only feasible when injection rate is high for high viscosity solution. However, injection of viscous polymer solutions has been a concern for the field application of polymer flooding.

The pressure increase in polymer injectors can be attributed to (1) formation of an oil bank, (2) polymer rheology (shear-thickening behavior at near well-bore), and (3) plugging of the reservoir pores by insoluble polymer molecules or suspended particles in the water.

In this paper, we propose a new model to history match field injection rate/pressure data. The pertinent equations for deep-bed filtration and external cake build-up in radial coordinate were coupled to the viscoelastic polymer rheology to capture important mechanisms. We selected radial coordinate in order to minimize the velocity/shear rate errors due to gridblock size in Cartesian coordinate.

We used filtration theory and successfully history matched the field data. We performed systematic simulations and studied the impact of adsorption (retention), shear thickening, deep bed filtration, and external cake formation to explain the well injectivity behavior of polymer. The simulation results indicate that the gradual increase in bottomhole pressure during early times is attributed to the shear thickening rheology at high velocities experienced by viscoelastic HPAM polymers around the wellbore and the permeability reduction due to polymer adsorption and internal filtration of undissolved polymer. However, the linear impedance during external cake growth is responsible for the sharper increase in injection pressure at the later times.

The proposed model can be used to calculate the injectivity of the polymer injection wells, understand the contribution of different phenomena on the pressure rise in the wells, locate the plugging or damage that may be caused by polymer, and accordingly design the chemical stimulation if necessary.

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