The detachment and migration of colloidal particles is an important cause of permeability decline in the near wellbore region. It is shown that polymerizable ultra thin film can be utilized to immobilize fines on pore surfaces. The Surface Adsorption Polymerization (SAP) process developed here is a three step process requiring a sequential injection of a specific concentration of the surfactant, monomer, and initiator. An ionic surfactant is first adsorbed on the solid substrate or the porous medium. In the second step, a monomer is injected that preferentially resides in the surfactant layer. In the final step, an initiator is used to polymerize the monomer on the surface to form a solid ultra thin film which is very stable and effectively holds the colloids on the surface.
There are three major advantages of such a treatment. Firstly, there is a great deal of flexibility in the choice of monomers and surfactants used so that the mechanical and chemical properties of the film, can be tailored to meet the needs of a particular application. Secondly, when applied to porous media or microporous membranes the ultra thin film does not cause pore closure. The film is extremely thin and the thickness of the film can be controlled by using appropriate concentrations of the monomer and surfactant. Lastly, the polymerization does not occur in the bulk solution, resulting in minimal waste or damage caused by polymer formation in the bulk solution. The SAP process can be potentially applied to stabilizing fines in high rate producers, as a post flush after acidizing and in specialized applications such as steam huff and puff wells.