Numerical Simulation Study of Factors Affecting Relative Permeability Modification for Water-Shutoff Treatments


Polymer solutions and gels are frequently used to control excessive water production in oil and gas wells by reducing the permeability to water flow to a greater extent than to oil or gas flow (Relative Permeability Modifiers, RPM, or disproportionate permeability reduction, DPR). RPM and DPR can be used as synonymous in this study; however, specialists use RPM term for the cases in which permeability reduction is less compare to DPR. The significance of RPM agents, chemicals using in water-shutoff treatments, is that their placement does not require mechanical isolation. However, the performance of RPM treatment is still poor in field applications. This study applied numerical simulation methods to investigate the factors impacting RPM treatments on reservoir (Macroscopic) level. Furthermore, Design of Experiments (DOE) was used to rank these factors based on their influence on RPM performance (water cut reduction and oil recovery improvement). The results indicated that there are nine parameters which can enhance or downgrade the success of DPR treatments, treatments at oil/gas wells when use of DPR polymer or gel results in Disproportionate Permeability Reduction of treated formation. The performance of DPR treatment was more pronounced at low oil density, low oil viscosity, high gel penetration depth, and at high permeability heterogeneity among layers (linear flow is more dominated). However, the performance of DPR treatments was downgraded if the treatments were applied at high production flowrate, low ratio of residual resistance factor for water (Frrw) to residual resistance factor for oil (Frro), and high G-shape (crossflow indicator) values. Moreover, when the capillary forces dominate the flow (capillary-viscous number > 10), RPM results were not largely encouraging due to water blocking effect. On the other side, in the viscous dominated flow, RPM performance was more pronounced. These factors which were studied in this work can promote a short-term successful remedy, a long-term successful treatment, or even a failed treatment. Some of these factors can be controlled; the operator can choose the optimum level of the parameter, like production flowrate. However, other factors cannot be controlled, but the value of this study is still increase probability of success the treatment prior to field application.


Geosciences and Geological and Petroleum Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Disproportionate Permeability Reduction; Gel Treatments; Polymer Gels Property; Relative Permeability Modifiers; Water-Shutoff Treatments

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)


Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


File Type





© 2017 Elsevier Ltd, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Nov 2017