Water Leakoff During Gel Placement in Fractures: Extension to Oil-Saturated Porous Media
- Bergit Brattekås (The National IOR Centre of Norway and University of Stavanger) | Randall Seright (New Mexico Tech) | Geir Ersland (University of Bergen)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE Production & Operations
- Publication Date
- May 2020
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 202 - 213
- 2020.Society of Petroleum Engineers
- leakoff, filter-cake, multiphase flow, polymer gel, conformance
- 17 in the last 30 days
- 174 since 2007
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Crosslinked polymers extrude through fractures during placement of many conformance-improvement treatments, as well as during hydraulic fracturing. Dehydration of polymer gel during extrusion through fractures has often been observed and was extensively investigated during recent decades. Injection of highly viscous gel increases the pressure in a fracture, which promotes gel dehydration by fluid leakoff into the adjacent matrix. The present comprehension of gel behavior dictates that the rate of fluid leakoff will be controlled by the gel and fracture properties and, to a lesser extent, be affected by the properties of an adjacent porous medium. However, several experimental results, presented in this work, indicate that fluid leakoff deviates from expected behavior when oil is present in the fracture-adjacent matrix. We investigated fluid leakoff from chromium (Cr)(III)-acetate hydrolyzed polyacrylamide (HPAM) gels during extrusion through oil-saturated, fractured core plugs. The matrix properties were varied to evaluate the effect of pore size, permeability, and heterogeneity on gel dehydration and leakoff rate. A deviating leakoff behavior during gel propagation through fractured, oil-saturated core plugs was observed, associated with the formation of a capillary driven displacement front in the matrix. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was used to monitor water leakoff in a fractured, oil-saturated, carbonate core plug and verified the position and existence of a stable displacement front. The use of MRI also identified the presence of wormholes in the gel, during and after gel placement, which supports gel behavior similar to the previously proposed Seright filter-cake model. An explanation is offered for when the matrix affects gel dehydration and is supported by imaging. Our results show that the properties of a reservoir rock might affect gel dehydration, which, in turn, strongly affects the depth of gel penetration into a fracture network and the gel strength during chase floods.
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