Preformed particle gels (PPG) have been widely applied in oilfields to control excessive water production. However, PPG has limited success in treating opening features because the particles can be flushed readily during post-water flooding. We have developed a novel micro-sized Re-crosslinkable PPG (micro-RPPG) to solve the problem. The microgel can re-crosslink to form a bulk gel, avoiding being washed out easily. This paper evaluates the novel microgels' transport and plugging performance through super-permeable channels. Micro-RPPG was synthesized and evaluated for this study. Its storage moduli after fully swelling are approximately 82 Pa. The microgel characterization, self-healing process, transportation behavior, and plugging performance were investigated. A sandpack model with multi-pressure taps was utilized to assess the microgel dispersions' transport behavior and plugging efficiency. In addition, micro-optical visualization of the gel particles was deployed to study the particle size changes before and after the swelling process. Tube tests showed that micro-RPPG could be dispersed and remain as separate particles in water with a concentration below 8,000 ppm, which is a favorable concentration for gel treatment. However, during the flooding test, the amount of microgel can be entrapped in the sandpack, resulting in a higher microgel concentration (higher than 8,000 ppm), endowing the gel particles with re-crosslinking ability even with excessive water. The microgel could propagate through the sandpack model, and the required pressure gradient mainly depends on the average particle/pore ratio and gel concentration. The gel dispersion significantly reduced channel permeability, providing sufficient resistance to post-water flooding (more than 99.97 % permeability reduction). In addition, the evaluation of micro-RPPG retention revealed that it is primarily affected by both gel concentration particle/pore ratios. We have demonstrated that the novel recrosslinkable microgel can transport through large channels, but it can provide effective plugging due to its unique re-crosslinking property. However, by this property, the new microgel exhibits enhanced stability and demonstrates resistance to being flushed out in such high-permeability environments. Furthermore, with the help of novel technology, it is possible to overcome the inherited problems commonly associated with in-situ gel treatments, including chromatographic issues, low-quality control, and shearing degradation.
A. Alotibi et al., "Transport And Plugging Performance Evaluation Of A Novel Re-Crosslinkable Microgel Used For Conformance Control In Mature Oilfields With Super-Permeable Channels," Proceedings - SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, Society of Petroleum Engineers, Jan 2023.
The definitive version is available at https://doi.org/10.2118/215168-MS
Geosciences and Geological and Petroleum Engineering
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01 Jan 2023