This study investigates how flow profiles in injection wells are modified when zones are not isolated during placement of gelling agents. Mathematical models are used to examine the degree of gel penetration and injectivity loss in zones of different permeability. Several conclusions are drawn that apply to reservoirs in which crossflow between layers does not occur. First, zone isolation is far more likely to be needed during placement of gels in unfractured wells than in fractured wells. Productive zones in unfractured wells may be seriously damaged if zones are not isolated during gel placement. Second, gel placement without zone isolation should cause the least damage to productive zones in unfractured wells when (a) the gelling formulation exhibits a low resistance factor during placement, (b) the water-oil mobility ratio is relatively high, (c) the most-permeable layer(s) are watered-out, and (d) the waterfronts are not close to the production well in the productive zones. Third, parallel linear corefloods overestimate the degree of profile modification that can be attained in radial systems. Fourth, chemical retention, dispersion and diffusion will probably not significantly mitigate injectivity losses caused by gel penetration into low-permeability zones. Finally, a need exists to determine the permeability and velocity dependencies of gelling-agent resistance factors and of gel residual resistance factors.

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