Most fields around the world suffer from formation heterogeneities that significantly reduce the sweep efficiency of waterfloods. For over five years xanthan gum/trivalent chrome gels have been used successfully in North American oil fields to improve injection well flow profiles. The process involves selectively placing the complexed biopolymer into water thief zones which, after it has developed gel strength, diverts subsequent water flow to underswept oil bearing zones. This paper discusses the general theories behind this technology, the features and benefits of the xanthan /Cr(III) gels, and actual field results.

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