Optimized Surfactant IFT and Polymer Viscosity for Surfactant-Polymer Flooding in Heterogeneous Formations


Surfactant Polymer flooding (SP flooding) has drawn more attention than Alkaline Surfactant Polymer flooding (ASP flooding) in China due to the difficulty of demulsification and the scale formation problem from the alkali in ASP. Traditionally, the primary requirement for the surfactant in SP flooding is the lowest interfacial tension (IFT). However, core flooding tests performed in a series of heterogeneous models have demonstrated there exist optimized surfactant IFT and polymer viscosity for SP flooding, which can maximize the oil recovery of a heterogeneous formation. The optimized surfactant IFT has a low value but not the lowest possible value, and polymer viscosity is at an appropriately high value, but not the highest possible value. This paper summarizes and analyzes more than 40 core flooding test results and provides possible mechanisms for the results.

Meeting Name

17th SPE Improved Oil Recovery Symposium (2010: Apr, 24-28, Tulsa, OK)


Geosciences and Geological and Petroleum Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Alkaline-Surfactant-Polymer Flooding; Core Flooding Test; Heterogeneous Formation; Heterogeneous Models; Interfacial Tensions; Oil Recoveries; Polymer Flooding; Polymer Viscosity; Scale Formation; Oil Well Flooding; Optimization; Polymers; Recovery; Viscosity; Surface Active Agents

International Standard Book Number (ISBN)


Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


File Type





© 2010 Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Apr 2010