The potential for applying polymer gels for reducing the watercut in the North Sea reservoirs is increasing, as more reservoirs experience water breakthrough. In the high temperature environment near a North Sea producing well the effect of high and varying temperature can have large impact on the placement of the gel, which again is crucial for the performance of the process.

This paper reports a laboratory study concerning the effect of temperature on the rate of gelation of xanthan / chromium (III) systems. Measurements both in bulk and during flow have been performed. In the bulk experiments the gelation rate was determined using a low shear viscosimeter. The flow experiments were designed in such a way that the in-situ pressure gradient could be measured during the flow of gel in a Ballotini pack.

Bulk measurements showed that a linear relationship existed between the logarithm of gelation time and the reciprocal of absolute temperature. The slope of lines corresponding to different concentrations of xanthan and Chromium (III) were the same. Using the theory of Hurd and Letteron, the activation energy for the xanthan / chromium (III) reaction were calculated to 96 kJ/mol. Flow experiments were consistent with the results from the bulk-experiments, since the formation of flow resistance were seen to occur closer to the inlet as temperature increased.

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