Chromium acetate-hydrolyzed polyacrylamide gel systems are applied in fractured reservoirs for conformance control. A portion of the gelant leaks off into the adjoining matrix during placement of the gelant in the fracture. This paper describes an experimental study on the effect of fluid leakoff on the performance of a gel treatment. The stability of a gel that is placed in a fracture and is subjected to a pressure gradient was also investigated.

Physical models of a fracture were developed to conduct displacement experiments. The models were fractured Berea sandstones that were designed to permit leakoff of the gelant into the matrix on the sides of the fracture. A polyacrylamide-chromium acetate gelant was injected into the fracture under conditions in which there was leakoff and no leakoff into the matrix. A gel did not form and the gelant was easily displaced from the fracture by subsequent brine injection when the gelant was placed without leakoff. When the gelant was placed with leakoff, a gel formed in the fracture after placement and provided significant flow resistance. Lack of gelation in the absence of leakoff was caused by diffusion of chromium from the fracture to the matrix, reducing the chromium concentration in the gelant to levels where gelation would not occur.

It was discovered that gels that were formed in a fracture ruptured when a constant brine pressure was applied at the inlet. The pressure where rupture occurred was determined for gels placed in tubing of various lengths and diameters. The rupture pressure was proportional to a ratio of the length-to-diameter.

You can access this article if you purchase or spend a download.