A Review of Responses of Bulk Gel Treatments in Injection Wells -- Part I: Oil Production


As lifespan extenders, bulk gels have been widely applied to rejuvenate oil production from uneconomic producers in mature oilfields by improving sweep efficiency of IOR/EOR floodings. This paper presents a comprehensive review for the responses of injection-well gel treatments implemented between 1985 and 2014. The survey includes 61 field projects compiled from SPE papers and U.S. DOE reports. Seven parameters related to the oil production response were evaluated according to the reservoir lithology, formation type, and recovery process using the univariate analysis and stacked histograms. The interquartile range method was used to detect the under-performing and over-performing gel projects. Scatterplots were used to identify effects of the injected gel volume and the treatment timing on the treatment responses. Results indicated that gel treatments have very wide ranges of responses for injection and production wells and for oil and water rates/profiles. The typical incremental oil production is 116 MSTBO per treatment, 15 STBO per gel barrel, or 10 STBO per polymer pound. We identified that gel treatments perform more efficiently in carbonate than in sandstone reservoirs and in naturally-fractured formations than in other formation types. In addition, the incremental oil production considerably increases with the channeling strength and the injected gel volume for all formation types, not just for the matrix-rock reservoirs. Moreover, gel treatments applied in naturally-fractured formations have lower productivities in sandstones than in carbonates based on the normalized performance parameters. Declining tends were identified for all parameters of the oil production response with the treatment timing indicators. The sooner the gel treatment is applied; the faster the response and the larger the incremental oil production and its rate. It is recommended to allow longer evaluation times for gel treatments applied in matrix-rock formations or in mature polymer floodings as their response times may extend to several months. Gel treatments would perform more efficiently if they are conducted at water cuts < 70%, flood lives < 20 years, or recovery factors < 35%. For different application environments, the present review provides reservoir engineers with updated ideas about what are the low, typical, and high performances of gel treatments when applied successfully and how other treatment aspects affect the performances.

Meeting Name

SPE Improved Oil Recovery Conference 2018 (2018: Apr. 14-18, Tulsa, OK)


Geosciences and Geological and Petroleum Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Floods; Lithology; Oil well flooding; Petroleum reservoir evaluation; Sandstone; Water injection; Well stimulation; Wells, Application environment; Inter quartile ranges; Naturally-fractured formations; Performance parameters; Reservoir engineers; Sandstone reservoirs; Treatment response; Univariate analysis, Injection (oil wells)

Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


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© 2018 Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Apr 2018

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