A Polymer Flooding pilot trial has being implemented in a heavy oil field, in the South of Oman. A joint team composed of personnel from Sultan Qaboos University, Poweltec and Petroleum Development of Oman provided full laboratory support which included polymer products screening, and core-flooding experimental tests. The reservoir under investigation is a high-permeability sandstone with oil viscosity of around 500 mPa.s, brine salinity of around 5,000 ppm TDS and a subsurface temperature of 50°C. The reservoir characteristics are within the upper boundaries of known polymer flooding applications worldwide. This is further compounded by the presence of a strong bottom aquifer drive which requires the optimization of well placement.
Laboratory work consisted of both bulk and core-flood testing, in which different commercial hydrolyzed polyacrylamides were submitted to rheology, filtration and stability tests, from which one product was qualified. An intensive coreflood program was executed, consisting of rheology, adsorption and displacement experiments. Due to mild reservoir conditions (low salinity and temperature), the main focus was on filtration quality of the products. Following on from the filtration tests, coreflooding programs were implemented with very long sequence of polymer injection at a rate representative of polymer propagation in the reservoir.
Adsorption was found to be quite low (around 20 µg/g) for all the tested products. In-situ rheology was correlatable to the viscosity trends. The program of tests finally qualified a product with molecular weight of around 20 million Dalton. Above this level, long-term filtration becomes questionable with a slow but continuous ramp up of pressure noticeable after about 50 Pore Volumes.