Coupling Low Salinity Water Flooding and Preformed Particle Gel to Enhance Oil Recovery for Fractured Carbonate Reservoirs


The recovery of oil from carbonate reservoirs is usually low due to their extreme heterogeneity caused by natural fractures and the nature of the oil-wet matrix. Low salinity water flooding (LSWF) and preformed particle gels (PPGs) control conformance are two novel technologies that have recently drawn great interest by the oil industry. We developed a cost-effective, novel, enhanced oil recovery (EOR) technology for carbonate reservoirs by coupling the two technologies into one process. The objective of this paper is to provide a comprehensive understanding of the combined technology and to test through laboratory experiments the extent to which the coupling method can improve oil recovery. The laboratory experiments showed that the optimum water salinity for the application of the coupled method was 0.1 wt. % NaCl under experimental conditions. The water residual resistance factor (Frrw) increased as the water salinity and the fracture width decreased. The oil-wet carbonate cores provided a higher improved oil recovery than a water-wet carbonate cores during LSWF. The decrease in fracture width resulted in a higher oil recovery factor. Compared to traditional bulk gel treatments, PPG forms stronger plugging but will not form an impermeable cake in the fracture surface; therefore, PPG allows low salinity water to penetrate into the matrix to modify its wettability, thus producing more oil from the matrix. Results also show that oil recovery increased by 10 % during LSWF after the second waterflooding. Additionally, when PPG was injected, another 8 % of oil recovery was gained. As a result, combined the LSWF and PPG increased oil recovery by 18%. LSWF can increase only displacement efficiency but has little or no effect on sweep efficiency, while particle gels can plug fractures or in high-permeable channels to improve sweep efficiency but have little effect on displacement efficiency. The coupled method bypasses the limitations of each method when used individually and improve both the displacement and the sweep efficiency.

Meeting Name

SPE Western Regional Meeting (2016: May 23-26, Anchorage, Alaska)


Geosciences and Geological and Petroleum Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Carbonation; Cost Effectiveness; Efficiency; Floods; Fracture; Gels; Oil Well Flooding; Petroleum Engineering; Petroleum Industry; Petroleum Reservoir Engineering; Petroleum Reservoir Evaluation; Well Flooding; Displacement Efficiency; Enhanced Oil Recovery; Experimental Conditions; Fractured Carbonate Reservoirs; Laboratory Experiments; Oil-Wet Carbonate Cores; Residual Resistance Factor

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Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


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

Publication Date

01 May 2016