Modeling the Effects of Salinity, Polymer Rheology, Temperature, and Reservoir Wettability on the Performance of In-Depth Gel Treatment Coupled with Surfactant and Polymer Flooding


In-depth gel treatment is a chemical EOR process used to improve the sweep efficiency from heterogeneous reservoirs with crossflow. However, if these reservoirs are saturated with viscous oil, polymer and surfactant flooding should be combined with in-depth gel treatment. Thus, in this study, a 3D model using the UTGEL simulator was built to model in-depth gel treatment combined with surfactant slug and polymer solution. The model was represented by one quarter of the five-spot pattern with eight layers where two thief zones are located in the middle of the model. The thief zones had a permeability of 1500 md with a total thickness of 20 ft, while the rest of the layers had a permeability of 100 md with a total thickness of 200 ft. The gel system consisted of a polyacrylamide/Cr(VI)/thiourea solution, which is considered an in-situ gelation system. Gelant solution was injected for 60 days when the water cut in the model reached 65%, followed by surfactant slug for 2 years, polymer solution for 3 years, and then post-water injection for the rest of the simulation time. The concentrations of the surfactant ranged from 0.01 to 0.2 wt.%, while the polymer concentration was 1,000 ppm. The injection rate was 1,070 bbl/day during all flooding and treatment processes. The results showed that it is imperative to implement surfactant with gel treatment to reduce the interfacial tension between water and oil phases and to alter the wettability of the reservoir rocks. Thus, gel treatment alone or gel followed by polymer was not as efficient as the injection of a surfactant slug. The results also showed that as the reservoir temperature increased, the overall performance of gel, polymer, and surfactant decreased. Therefore, the higher the temperature, the lower the recovery factor. The results also revealed the importance of viscoelastic behavior of the HPAM polymer solution where higher results for both water-wet and oil-wet conditions were obtained compared to shear-thinning behavior only. Moreover, the results revealed interesting behavior regarding the concentration of the surfactant, where the recovery factor increased as the concentration of the surfactant increased in oil-wet conditions. However, in water-wet conditions, the results were unpromising and unfavorable. Furthermore, the injection of surfactant directly after the gel treatment was more effective in improving the sweep efficiency than the injection of polymer directly after the gel treatment. Finally, as the salinity of makeup water and/or reservoir brine increased, the recovery factor decreased for both water and oil-wet systems. This is because, as salinity increased, the adsorption of both polymer and surfactant increased and the polymer viscosity decreased. Furthermore, the presence of divalent cations such as Ca +2 and Mg +2 , would have a negative impact on overall treatment.

Meeting Name

SPE Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference 2018, ADIPEC 2018 (2018: Nov. 12-15, Abu Dhabi, UAE)


Geosciences and Geological and Petroleum Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Efficiency; Floods; Gasoline; Gelation; Oil well flooding; Recovery; Reservoirs (water); Shear thinning; Surface active agents; Water injection; Wetting, Heterogeneous reservoirs; Injection of polymers; Polymer concentrations; Reservoir temperatures; Reservoir wettability; Shear-thinning behavior; Surfactant flooding; Visco-elastic behaviors, Oil well flooding

International Standard Book Number (ISBN)


Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


File Type





© 2019 Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Nov 2019

This document is currently not available here.