Water production becomes a major problem as hydrocarbon-producing fields mature. Higher levels of water production result in increased levels of corrosion and scale, increased load on fluid-handling facilities, increased environmental concerns, and eventually, well shut-in (with associated workover costs). Consequently, producing zones are often abandoned in an attempt to avoid water contact, even when the intervals still retain large volumes of recoverable hydrocarbons. Many polymer systems have been applied over the years to control undesired water production from hydrocarbon wells, with varying degrees of success.

For approximately eight years, a polymer gel system based on an acrylamide/t-butyl acrylate copolymer (PAtBA) crosslinked with polyethyleneimine (PEI) has been used successfully for various water shutoff applications. This paper will describe results from a sampling of over 200 jobs performed throughout the world, including the average results from over 90 jobs performed in one geographic location alone. In addition to "standard" matrix treatments, results will be shown for other types of treatment, including a design to plug annular communication and a combination of sealant and temporary gel in an openhole horizontal completion. In addition, laboratory data pertaining to work aimed at increasing the temperature limit of the system will be presented. The original upper placement temperature of the system was approximately 260°F. Data presented in this paper indicates the development of a retarder system that allows the upper placement temperature to be raised to at least 350°F.

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