Introduction

The rapid growth of water flooding during the last few years has stimulated the industry to exploit this method of operation to the maximum advantage. Many operators who formerly paid little attention to the secondary recovery possibilities of their properties now realize the importance of evaluating every prospect in their holdings. The impact of this growth of interest in water flooding is easy to see. Well completion practices often are planned for less expensive conversion to secondary operations at a later date; the number of consulting engineers in this field is increasing, as is their backlog of work; and it is increasingly difficult to purchase primary production without some consideration of the potential secondary reserves.

To the average producer, this situation creates some interesting problems. He hears of many successful floods, but of few of the failures. No one, it seems, wishes to announce publicly that his water flood was more productive of experience than oil, and the literature on unsuccessful floods is both meager and carefully clothed with anonymity. All too often, then, the impression is gained that the risks are small, with the rewards stupendous. Such, unfortunately, is often not the case. One also might gain the impression that water flooding is a simple business which involves merely putting an uncertain amount of water down a few of the poorest wells on the lease, with oil certain to appear at others, all of which is accomplished at nominal cost. The basic idea is partially true, but unfortunately, this practice is rewarding only indirect relationship to careful planning or to the bounty of nature in the absence of good engineering.

Success in waterflooding operations begins with the selection of properties to flood which have reasonable chances for profitable operation. A screening process should be used to select only those properties for flooding which have favorable reservoir conditions and the development of those selected should be based on a thorough engineering analysis to seek out any indications of future operating problems in advance of their sudden appearance.

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