Performance of a polymer flood process requires the knowledge of rheological behavior of the polymer solution and reservoir properties such as rock wettability. To provide a better understanding of effects of polymer chemistry and wettability on the performance of a polymer flood process, a comprehensive experimental study was conducted using a two-dimensional glass micromodel. A series of water and polymer flood processes were carried out at different polymer molecular weights, degrees of polymer hydrolysis, and polymer concentrations in both water-wet and oil-wet systems. Image processing technique was applied to analyze and compare microscopic and macroscopic displacement behaviors of polymer solution in each experiment. From micro-scale observations, the configuration of connate water film, polymer solution trapping, flow of continuous and discontinuous strings of polymer solution, piston-type displacement of oil, snap-off of polymer solution, distorted flow of polymer solution, emulsion formation, and microscopic pore-to-pore sweep of oil phase were observed and analyzed in the strongly oil-wet and water-wet media. Rheological experiments showed that a higher polymer molecular weight, degree of hydrolysis, and concentration result in a higher apparent viscosity for polymer solution and lower oil-polymer viscosity ratio. It is also shown that these parameters have different impacts on the oil recovery in different wettabilities. Moreover, a water-wet medium generally had higher recovery in contrast with an oil-wet medium. This experimental study illustrates the successful application of glass micromodel techniques for studying enhanced oil recovery (EOR) processes in five-spot pattern and provides a useful reference for understanding the displacement behaviors in a typical polymer flood process.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Chemical Engineering(all)