HyGreGel: A new class of gel systems for water diversion by in-depth reservoir placement
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High water production is typically a major problem late in the life cycle of a water flooded hydrocarbon reservoir. Reservoir heterogeneity plays a significant role in creating this problem. An example is highly permeable zones and streaks in the reservoir, the so-called “thief zones”. These zones attract the injected water and result in early water breakthrough, hence high water cuts in production wells. One solution to this problem is blocking the thief zones. As a result, the injected water will be diverted from channels with high water flow into other (potentially oil-bearing) areas of the reservoir. The prospective end result is reduced water production and increased oil production. This may be achieved by deep placement of polymer gels in the reservoir. Deep placement of gels is challenging. This is owing to the fact that fully formed gels cannot be transported through porous media deep into the formation. A workaround is to transport gel constituents, i.e., polymer and a cross-linking agent, to the proper area in the reservoir before gelling begins. This requires a delay in gelling time at elevated temperatures of the reservoir. Moreover, the gel constituents must be environmentally sound. This PhD work was part of the HyGreGel (Hybrid Green nano-Gels) project. As a result of this project gel systems with delayed gelation times were developed and tested. The objective was to enable the chemicals to reach the desired position in the reservoir before gelation would prohibit further transport. Furthermore, mechanisms for transport and reaction of the gel constituents were described and modelled.