Abstract

The availability of ~ 7 years of actual performance data for the ongoing field-scale polymer flood in South of the Sultanate of Oman provides ample opportunities to reveal the reservoir dynamics and its interplay with induced EOR mechanism. The paper focusses on analysis of the polymer pattern behaviour, underlying reasons for such response and key indicators to characterize pattern performance. Upsets in surface polymer injection facility leading to the phenomenon of WAP (Water-Alternating-Polymer) and it's impact on recovery is also assessed in context of actual field examples. The paper then illustrates how this information could be exploited to counter challenges faced in the field, enhance polymer pattern performance, optimize it's further expansion and de-risk any other future EOR development.

A nested modelling approach has been employed, wherein models at different scales are generated, tailored to meet the objectives. High resolution 3D conceptual models are built in Shell proprietary tool PolyMoReS to calibrate the model response against the actual polymer pattern behaviour in the field, study the impact of mixing between polymer and water slugs in WAP type of recovery, and affirm the correct polymer rheology. Three segment models covering the field are created and history matched with the use of Stochastic Uncertainty Management. Attempts have been made to obtain history match (HM) on segment, pattern and well levels, with greater emphasis on polymer patterns capturing polymer oil response, water-cut reversals and polymer breakthroughs. Models are then complemented by Pressure Fall-Offs, tracer tests and PLTs to capture uncertainties in fracture growth and areal and vertical conformance. The HM model is then used to predict polymer performance.

Significant insights into waterflood and polymer flood performance are gained, which help improve the pattern performances. Assessment of WAP with both conceptual Physics and field segment models demonstrate considerable deferment of oil. Capturing injector – producer connectivity has proven the most pivotal element in explaining polymer oil response and breakthrough.

Models indicate that lower than expected incremental recovery and sharper decline of oil response in some patterns are related to the lower polymer mass injected, which in-turn could be attributed to many operational factors (e.g., polymer injection uptime, injection rate, low injection viscosity, WAP), and the presence of natural fractures or uncontrolled growth of induced fractures. The study also reveals optimization opportunity to reduce the volumes of back produced water.

The paper presents a comprehensive multi-scale reservoir modelling study for a field with significant historical data of large scale polymer flood. Impact of WAP injection, reflecting the reality of interruptions in polymer flood due to operational upsets, on medium to long term polymer flood value is presented. Analysis of polymer patterns in the field demonstrates how different key indicators e.g., PUF (Polymer Utilization Factor) can characterize pattern performance throughout its life-cycle and answers questions, e.g., why some patterns behaved well, while others not.

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