Here we report on in-depth water diversion using sodium silicate to increase oil recovery at the Snorre field, offshore Norway. A comprehensive qualification program revealed that the onset of gelation can be controlled; this was demonstrated in realistic core flood experiments as well as in a single well injection pilot. This paper highlights key design, response measurement plan and operational experiences from a large scale interwell field pilot of sodium silicate injection in a reservoir segment at the Snorre field on the Norwegian Continental Shelf. The operation of injecting 113 000 m3 preflush, 240 000 m3 sodium silicate and 49 000 m3 postflush was performed from June to October 2013. The goal is to create an in-depth restriction between a subsea water injection well and a platform oil producer with approximately 2 000 m well spacing, and thereby improve the reservoir sweep by water injection.
To perform the field pilot a 35 000 ton shuttle tanker was converted to a well stimulation vessel with the necessary equipment to accommodate a higher number of people, a desalination plant, storage and mixing equipment and high pressure pumps. The vessel was connected directly to a subsea water injection well and injected during a period of 5 months. The chosen design was to (a) soften the formation water by a KCl preflush, (b) control the gelation kinetics using HCl acid as activator, mixed into the diluted silicate solution and (c) displace the silicate solution by a KCl postflush followed by seawater injection.
The pilot injection operation is completed, and the displacement of the sodium silicate with following seawater injection to the planned position for in-depth plugging is still on-going. The operational success criteria of proving ability to perform large scale transport, mixing and injection of sodium silicate from a shuttle tanker directly into a subsea well with no near wellbore plugging is met. Future production response will reveal if the success criteria of in-depth plugging, improved reservoir sweep and decrease in water cut will be met.