Oil field operators around the world are making increased use of polymer gel plugs to control wells and divert treating fluids during stimulation and workover operations. Use of this versatile method has eliminated the need in many cases for mechanical packers, bridge plugs and mechanical diverters. Benefits gained from use of gel plugs are usually economical; however, in many applications, gel plugs are used because mechanical devices may be undesirable.

One method often used to obtain a temporary plug is to apply a water soluble polymer to a fluid which forms a highly viscous gel plug. These plugs can be designed to remain viscous for hours to several weeks. If time constraints change after the plug has been pumped, the plugs can be broken down with acid and removed ahead of schedule.

This paper describes the chemistry of various gel plugs used at different temperatures and conditions in stimulation and workover operations. Several case histories detailing circumstances and conditions where various gel plugs have been applied are presented.

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