The first field scale Polymer flood project in the Middle East region is under operation in an oil field of The Sultanate of Oman since early 2010. The oil field discussed here contains viscous oil (90 cp) was discovered in 1956 and is located in eastern part of South Oman Salt basin. First commercial production started in 1980 from this field. The field has gone through different development phases in its 30 years of history prior starting tertiary recovery phase by polymer flooding.
This Polymer flood project comprises of 27 patterns coversing about one third of the total field IOIP (initial oil in place). It is worth mentioning that whole field is under water flooding and water injection was going on prior to initiation of Polymer flood in 27 injectors.
So far, this project has been running successfully with good performance contributing to significant oil gain. During this successful journey of about 4 years, the project has passed through many expected and unexpected challenges. The well and reservoir management team has been working actively in all those challenges with novel approaches to increase efficiency of this project.
One of the key challenges encountered is reduction in productivity of producer wells in comparison to earlier water flood with same injection volume. In a few polymer wells production rates even dropped by more than 50%. The main challenges for these wells seeing higher drop in liquid rate is that there is no or minimal oil gain in-spite of reduction in water cut due to disproportionate decline in liquid rate.
This reduction in production rate smay be attributed to decrease in producible fluid mobility, high fluid density with polymer slug and skin formation near wellbore. At the same pressure drawdown of the artificial lift pump withdraws less fluid due to increase in fluid density with polymer breakthrough. There are also possibilities of plugging as a result of moving solid fines from the more viscous fluids near the well bore. These caused more drawdown and less fluid produced and resulted in high gross reduction in some wells. In order to overcome these gross decline, chemical treatment using mutual solvent has been carried out in a few wells as trial and has given good result. A detailed analysis is going on to investigate possible causes and accordingly design suitable remedial actions. This paper describes briefly about the principles involved in this solvent stimulation jobs and results of field implementation with real field examples.