Abstract

It is generally accepted that polymer flooding gets less effective as the heterogeneity of a reservoir increases. However, very little experimental information or evidence has been collated to indicate which levels of heterogeneity correspond to reservoirs that can (and cannot) be efficiently developed using polymer flooding. Therefore, to experimentally determine a heterogeneity limit for the application of polymer flooding to reservoirs, a series of flow tests and oil displacements were conducted using parallel sand packs and visual models possessing different heterogeneities. For low-concentration polymer flooding (1.0 g/l), the limit determined corresponds to permeability contrasts (PCs) of 10.8 and 10.2, according to the parallel and visual tests, respectively. A significant increase in oil recovery can be achieved by polymer injection within these limits. Increasing the polymer concentration to 2.0 g/l increased these limiting PCs to 52.8 and 50.0, respectively. Additionally, within or beyond these limits, the combined use of polymer and gel may be the best.

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