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Energies 2011, 4(8), 1112-1128;

Performance of a Polymer Flood with Shear-Thinning Fluid in Heterogeneous Layered Systems with Crossflow

Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Engineering, Hanyang University, Seoul 133-791, Korea
Received: 13 May 2011 / Revised: 23 June 2011 / Accepted: 27 July 2011 / Published: 2 August 2011
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Petroleum Engineering)
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Assessment of the potential of a polymer flood for mobility control requires an accurate model on the viscosities of displacement fluids involved in the process. Because most polymers used in EOR exhibit shear-thinning behavior, the effective viscosity of a polymer solution is a highly nonlinear function of shear rate. A reservoir simulator including the model for the shear-rate dependence of viscosity was used to investigate shear-thinning effects of polymer solution on the performance of the layered reservoir in a five-spot pattern operating under polymer flood followed by waterflood. The model can be used as a quantitative tool to evaluate the comparative studies of different polymer flooding scenarios with respect to shear-rate dependence of fluids’ viscosities. Results of cumulative oil recovery and water-oil ratio are presented for parameters of shear-rate dependencies, permeability heterogeneity, and crossflow. The results of this work have proven the importance of taking non-Newtonian behavior of polymer solution into account for the successful evaluation of polymer flood processes. Horizontal and vertical permeabilities of each layer are shown to impact the predicted performance substantially. In reservoirs with a severe permeability contrast between horizontal layers, decrease in oil recovery and sudden increase in WOR are obtained by the low sweep efficiency and early water breakthrough through highly permeable layer, especially for shear-thinning fluids. An increase in the degree of crossflow resulting from sufficient vertical permeability is responsible for the enhanced sweep of the low permeability layers, which results in increased oil recovery. It was observed that a thinning fluid coefficient would increase injectivity significantly from simulations with various injection rates. A thorough understanding of polymer rheology in the reservoir and accurate numerical modeling are of fundamental importance for the exact estimation on the performance of polymer flood. View Full-Text
Keywords: polymer flood; viscosity; shear-thinning fluid; crossflow; simulation polymer flood; viscosity; shear-thinning fluid; crossflow; simulation

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Lee, K.S. Performance of a Polymer Flood with Shear-Thinning Fluid in Heterogeneous Layered Systems with Crossflow. Energies 2011, 4, 1112-1128.

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