Comprehensive Guidelines for the Application of In-Situ Polymer Gels for Injection Well Conformance Improvement Based on Field Projects


Polymer gels are increasingly applied to improve sweep efficiency of different IOR/EOR recovery processes. Three in-situ polymer gel systems including bulk gels, colloidal dispersion gels, and weak gels are often used to mitigate water production caused by reservoir heterogeneity and unfavorable mobility ratio of oil and injected fluids. Selecting the most appropriate gel system is a key component for a successful conformance improvement treatment. Screening criteria in terms of reservoir and fluid characteristics have been widely used to identify potential technologies for a specific reservoir. Despite the large number of polymer gel projects, only five, limited-parameters, single-agent criteria or surveys have been sporadically accomplished that suffer from many deficiencies and drawbacks. This paper presents the first complete applicability guidelines for gel technologies based on their field implementations in injection wells from 1978 to 2015. The data set includes 111 cases histories compiled mainly from SPE papers and U.S. Department of Energy reports. We extracted missing data from some public EOR databases and detected potential outliers by two approaches to ensure data quality. Finally, for each parameter, we evaluated project and treatment frequency distributions and applicability ranges based on successful projects. Extensive comparisons of the developed applicability criteria with the previous surveillance studies are provided and differences are discussed in details as well. In addition to the parameters that are considered for other EOR technologies, we identified that the applicability evaluations of polymer gels should incorporate the parameters that depict roots and characteristics of conformance issues. The present applicability criteria comprise 16 quantitative parameters including permeability variation, mobility ratio, and three production-related aspects. Application guidelines were established for organically crosslinked bulk gels for the first time, and many experts' opinions in the previous criteria were replaced by detailed property evaluations. In addition, we identified that the applicability criteria of some parameters are considerably influenced by lithology and formation types, and thus, their data were analyzed according to these characteristics. Besides their comprehensiveness of all necessary screening parameters, the novelty of the new criteria lies in their ability to self-check the established validity limits for the screening parameters which resulted from the inclusion and simultaneous evaluation of the project and treatment frequencies.

Meeting Name

SPE Improved Oil Recovery Conference (2016: Apr. 11-13, Tulsa, OK)


Geosciences and Geological and Petroleum Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Data Mining; Enhanced Recovery; Gels; Injection (Oil Wells); Lithology; Oil Well Flooding; Parameter Estimation; Petroleum Engineering; Petroleum Industry; Petroleum Reservoirs; Polymers; Applicability Evaluation; Application Guidelines; Colloidal Dispersion; Frequency Distributions; Potential Technologies; Quantitative Parameters; Reservoir Heterogeneity; U.S. Department Of Energy; Petroleum Reservoir Evaluation

International Standard Book Number (ISBN)


Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


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© 2016 Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Apr 2016