The performance of a water flood is a composite of many separate effects, which fall into a variety of categories. Nature gives many variables through the character of the reservoir rock and fluids and the manner in which they interact. Man imposes additional variables through the wells which are drilled and the manner in which they are completed and operated. In spite of this complexity, we assume at least in principle, that we can resolve all the factors that contribute to a water flood and dissect the entire operation into a series of causes and effects. This is perhaps a brash assumption. Although it may be easy to synthesize a complex situation, the analysis of one can be difficult. To draw an analogy, one may watch a cook and, having noted all the actions taken and the ingredients added, predict to a degree whether or not the cake will be successful. However, it is quite different to taste the finished cake and be able to trace a specific characteristic to a particular cause during the operation of mixing and baking. We say, in effect, that the baking of a cake is an art, not a science.

So it is, to a degree at least, with the water flood. We may plan and watch the operation and predict results in a limited way. Yet, it is quite difficult to trace a given result unequivocally to a specific cause. Generally, there are several equally plausible causes. The fact is that water flooding is also an art, not a science. Of course, it is our hope, as engineers and scientists, that we may be progressing to the place where water flooding operations will be governed entirely by science. In one sense, my remarks are intended to indicate how far we may be along this road. We are probably not even so far along as the cook, for she can bake her cake with some idea of the total factors involved and the role played by each. We do not yet know for sure, so it seems to me, that we have enumerated all the factors that are important to the waterflooding process.

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