Investigation of acid pre-flushing and pH-sensitive microgel injection in fractured carbonate rocks for conformance control purposes
Department of Petroleum Engineering, Faculty of Chemical Engineering, Tarbiat Modares University, 14115-111 Tehran, Iran
* Corresponding author: firstname.lastname@example.org
Accepted: 8 June 2020
Waterflooding in fractured reservoirs is a challenging task due to the presence of high conductive flow pathways such as fractures. Much of the injected water passes through fractures without sweeping the oil in the low permeable area, which results in an early breakthrough. Implementing deep conformance control techniques can be a remedy for this early water breakthrough. pH-sensitive microgel injection is a conformance control method in which the dependency of microgel viscosity to pH guarantees easy injection of these microgels into formations at low pH environments. Because of the geochemical reactions among rock minerals, microgels, and a pre-flushing acid, the microgel pH increases; therefore, these microgels swell and block high conductive fractures. In this study, a designed visual cell containing rock samples is implemented to observe rock–microgel interactions during a pH-sensitive microgel flooding into a fractured carbonate medium. First, the dependency of fracture aperture changes to the acid pre-flush flow rate is examined. Then, we investigate the effect of pH-sensitive microgel concentration on its resistance to block fractures during post-water flooding by studying the gel failure mechanisms (e.g., adhesive separation, cohesive failure). Finally, the effect of an initial aperture of fracture is examined on microgel washout when water injection is resumed. The results showed that both decreasing the acid flow rate and lowering the initial aperture could increase the rate of aperture changes. Moreover, the microgel solution with a concentration of 1 wt% showed the highest resistance (98.2 psi/ft) against post-water injection. Additionally, this microgel concentration had the highest permeability reduction factor. Meanwhile, the smaller initial aperture of fracture contributed to a higher microgel resistance.
© A. Teimouri et al., published by IFP Energies nouvelles, 2020
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