During the last 15 years, polymer gels have become an accepted technology for improving volumetric sweep efficiency in heterogeneous waterfloods. Water injected subsequent to the gel treatment ideally enters previously unswept zones with significant mobile oil saturation.

Results from several field projects in four hydrocarbon basins in Argentina and Venezuela are described based on the application of two available polymer gel technologies: Marcit℠ and Unogel. The types of reservoirs and reservoir conditions where polymer gels have been successful, and unsuccessful, are illustrated. Fundamental reservoir rock and fluid characteristics, reservoir temperatures, polymer gel designs, and project evaluation are presented for each of the field projects. A high temperature (275°F) reservoir is included.

In multi-layered reservoirs where crossflow is believed to be limited, one strategy is to inject a small gel volume in order to improve the vertical profile in the near wellbore region. If crossflow is believed to exist between layers or within a layer, significant gel volumes are recommended for deeper placement in the offending zones so that water cannot easily bypass the gel treatment.

Gel formulation is a fundamental issue. Traditionally, minimum polymer concentrations of at least 3000 ppm have been recommended for injection well gel treatments. Lower polymer concentrations were believed to be ineffective. A large scale and ongoing field project is presented in which low concentration polymer gels have been successful. In the same field project, the results of multiple gel treatments in the same injection well are discussed.

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