Polymer viscosifier systems with potential application for enhanced oil recovery: a review
Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Institute of Macromolecules, Horácio Macedo Avenue, 2030-Block J, 21941-598 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
2 Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Program of Materials and Metallurgy Engineering/COPPE, Horácio Macedo Avenue, 2030-Block F, 21941-598 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
* Corresponding author: firstname.lastname@example.org
Accepted: 23 July 2021
Due to the growing demand for oil and the large number of mature oil fields, Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) techniques are increasingly used to increase the oil recovery factor. Among the chemical methods, the use of polymers stands out to increase the viscosity of the injection fluid and harmonize the advance of this fluid in the reservoir to provide greater sweep efficiency. Synthetic polymers based on acrylamide are widely used for EOR, with Partially Hydrolyzed Polyacrylamide (PHPA) being used the most. However, this polymer has low stability under harsh reservoir conditions (High Temperature and Salinity – HTHS). In order to improve the sweep efficiency of polymeric fluids under these conditions, Hydrophobically Modified Associative Polymers (HMAPs) and Thermo-Viscosifying Polymers (TVPs) are being developed. HMAPs contain small amounts of hydrophobic groups in their water-soluble polymeric chains, and above the Critical Association Concentration (CAC), form hydrophobic microdomains that increase the viscosity of the polymer solution. TVPs contain blocks or thermosensitive grafts that self-assemble and form microdomains, substantially increasing the solution’s viscosity. The performance of these systems is strongly influenced by the chemical group inserted in their structures, polymer concentration, salinity and temperature, among other factors. Furthermore, the application of nanoparticles is being investigated to improve the performance of injection polymers applied in EOR. In general, these systems have excellent thermal stability and salinity tolerance along with high viscosity, and therefore increase the oil recovery factor. Thus, these systems can be considered promising agents for enhanced oil recovery applications under harsh conditions, such as high salinity and temperature. Moreover, stands out the use of genetic programming and artificial intelligence to estimate important parameters for reservoir engineering, process improvement, and optimize polymer flooding in enhanced oil recovery.
© K.L.N. Pinho de Aguiar et al., published by IFP Energies nouvelles, 2021
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