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What is Polymer Flooding?
"Polymer Flooding" is a dramatic improvement in waterflooding and quickly becoming one of the preferred "Enhanced Oil Recovery" (EOR) technologies used for improving oil recovery - particularly in older and declining oil wells/oil reservoirs. Polymer flooding is also referred to as "chemical flooding" as well as "Chemical EOR."
To further define "polymer flooding," one must also know what a polymer is.
What is "polymer"?
Poly = many
mer = part
So, polymer, roughly defined, means "many parts."
In polymer flooding, the polymers used reduces the "surface tension" between the oil and the oil-containing rock within the oil reservoir, "freeing" the trapped oil making it easier to flow to the production well(s).
Polyacrylamide powder or "PAM" is a non-toxic powder that is a long-chain molecule first used in cleaning wastewater at wastewater treatment plants. In polymer flooding, PAM makes the water "gel" greatly improving the production of oil. In polymer flooding, polymer, or polymers, are used to make the water injected into the (injection well) oil reservoirs more "viscous" or thick, much like a gel. This greatly improves oil production, and is particularly beneficial in heavy oil recovery.
Several of the leading benefits of polymer flooding include:
Improved oil recovery
Increased "sweep efficiency"
Significantly less water required when compared with typical water-flooding & steam injection
Superior EOR technology with "heavy oil" formations/reservoirs with low viscosity and where Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD) is not suitable
How does Polymer Flooding work?
One of the primary EOR technologies is waterflood wherein water is injected into the reservoir to drive the oil to a production wellbore. However, oil and water are "immiscible" fluids meaning that they do not mix or blend with each other. This means that oil and water can NOT displace the other within an oil reservoir.
In polymer flooding, a water-soluble polymer such as Polyacrylamide or "Pam" is added to the water in the waterflood. This increases the viscosity of the water to that of a gel making the oil and water greatly improving the efficiency of the waterflood.
There are three potential ways in which a polymer flood can make the oil recovery process more efficient: (1) through the effects of polymers on fractional flow, (2) by decreasing the water/oil mobility ratio, and (3) by diverting injected water from zones that have been swept.
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Polymer Flooding and Enhanced Oil Recovery
by EOR Technologies, the technology-neutral EOR company.
Maximum Oil Production at the Least Cost on a Technology-neutral Basis
United States will recover more than 300 Billion Barrels of Oil through
Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) technologies according to the Department of Energy.
In the next 10-15 years, 50% of the oil produced in the USA
will be through Enhanced Oil Recovery technologies.
And 50% of this amount will be produced by CO2-EOR.
The Enhanced Oil Recovery industry represents a $30 Trillion market,
(in the USA) with oil priced at $100 per barrel.
Enhanced Oil Recovery revenues nearly DOUBLED,
in just 4 years from $54.96 billion in 2007 to
$102.02 billion in 2011!
technologies lead all other
EOR Technologies with 43% market share.
What are the various EOR Technologies?
A few of the ever-growing list of EOR Technologies include;
Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) technologies
EOR Technologies is a new company being formed and one of very few EOR "technology neutral" companies that deliver the maximum oil production for the least cost. This is determined by reservoir/oil field analysis, history, present conditions and operations.
Over the past forty years, the enhanced oil recovery industry has produced a number of excellent and proven EOR technologies. However, the optimum EOR technology for any one particular client with declining oil production, is dependent on a number of variables that must be identified and understood before selecting the correct EOR technology, including;
Specific oil reservoir
Reservoir type & condition
Depth of pay zone
Overall condition of well/wellbore
Reservoir's brine salinity (NaCl) content
Working condition of reservoir
The "optimum" EOR technology for one reservoir and pay zone may not be the optimum EOR technology for another - even within the same oil field. That's why we are "EOR technology neutral." We apply the optimum EOR technology for each client's specific requirements for maximizing our client's oil recovery, at the least possible cost.
Enhanced oil recovery represents a significant opportunity for companies with declining oil production to significantly increase their oil production and revenues through our range of EOR technologies and services.
How much more oil can we produce from our "mature" oil field and wells?
Enhanced oil recovery or "EOR" represents a significant opportunity for companies with declining oil production to significantly increase their oil production and revenues through our range of EOR technologies and services.
As seen above, there are a number of variables that determine the potential increase in production for any particular application.
Some EOR technologies can have a significant reversal in oil production. And by "significant," this could mean anywhere from a 100% increase in oil production to a 500% increase in oil production.
Would increasing your oil production from 5 bbls/day to 10 bbls/day for a 100% increase in oil production make a difference to your company?
How about going from 10 bbls/day to 50 bbls/day for a 500% increase in oil production. That's a possibility with EOR technologies such as polymer flooding!
What is mobility and mobility control within an oil reservoir?
Mobility is the ratio of its relative permeability in a "porous" medium to its viscosity. By reducing water's mobility - through the increase of its' viscosity by adding a polymer (PAM) the water's properties become nearly identical to the oil within the reservoir.
In polymer flooding (one of the "Chemical EOR" technologies) water is made more "viscous" by adding a polymer in order to obtain a "mobility ratio" of 1 between water used in waterflooding and the oil in the target pay zone; i.e. the same mobility for the oil and the water.
In water with low a low salinity content, polymer flooding can easily boost the viscosity of water making the polymer flooding process more efficient requiring less water.
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According to R. James Woolsey, for Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, “The basic insight is to realize that global warming, the geopolitics of oil, and warfare in the Persian Gulf are not separate problems — they are aspects of a single problem, the West’s dependence on oil.”
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