Extensional Effects during Viscoelastic Polymer Flooding: Understanding Unresolved Challenges
- Madhar S. Azad (University of Alberta) | Japan J. Trivedi (University of Alberta)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE Journal
- Publication Date
- April 2020
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 2020.Society of Petroleum Engineers
- viscoelastic polymers, extensional rheology, polymer flooding, enhanced oil recovery
- 8 in the last 30 days
- 53 since 2007
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Several studies have tried to relate polymers’ enhanced oil recovery (EOR) potential to their viscoelastic characteristics such as onset, rheo thickening, extensional viscosity, and Deborah number (De). Contradictions prevail when it comes to reduction in residual oil saturation (Sor) during polymer flooding and the role of extensional properties. De calculated using the oscillatory relaxation time fails to explain the different pressure profiles exhibited by the viscous and viscoelastic polymers. Extensional viscosity has been ignored in many studies as the reason for additional Sor reduction based on the core-scale apparent viscosity and core-scale capillary number (Nc). In recent studies, a significant oil mobilization was shown by the viscoelastic polymers even before the critical Nc, which indicates that the capillary theory breaks out under specific conditions during polymer flooding. Moreover, the additional residual oil recovery caused by the high-salinity polymer solutions cannot be explained by the oscillatory De.
In this paper, we compile and examine many such unresolved challenges from various literature with rheological and petrophysical insights. The uniaxial bulk extensional rheology is performed on the relevant polymers using a capillary breakup extensional rheometer to measure the extensional relaxation time, maximum extensional viscosity at the critical De, and strain hardening index. A detailed analysis signifies the role of extensional rheology on the viscoelastic onset, rheo thickening, and Sor reduction even under varying salinity conditions. The results also highlight the advantages of extensional rheology over oscillatory rheology and validate the capillary theory using modified capillary number.
|File Size||1 MB||Number of Pages||15|
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