Increasing Sweep Efficiency by Shutting Off Water Flow Through Thief Zones in a Heterogeneous Reservoir

Matveev, Sergei (Idzhat Innovation) | Gazizov, Aidar (Idzhat Innovation) | Gazizov, Almaz (Idzhat Innovation) | Garipov, Renat (Idzhat Innovation) | Galaktionova, Lydia (Idzhat Innovation)



With high reservoir heterogeneity in terms of permeability and fluid properties, substantial amounts of oil are produced along with water. At water cuts higher than 96–98%, wells become uneconomic and are shut in or undergo water shut-off treatments. For this reason, shutting off water flow through thief zones in flooded reservoirs to prevent it from entering wells is one of the biggest technical challenges in enhancing oil recovery from mature multi-reservoir oil fields.

As the water cut increases, water flow through thief zones must be reduced, along with the amount of water entering the well, to enhance sweep efficiency in lower-permeability portions of the reservoir. A new technology employing polymer dispersed systems (PDS) shuts off formation and injected water flows by increasing flow resistance in thief zones. This process redistributes the energy of the injected water in the reservoir and helps produce oil from unswept zones, thus increasing flooding efficiency and oil recovery. PDSs do not require drastic changes in existing development systems and are employed together with conventional water-flooding methods.

This paper presents studies of basic and modified PDS versions for oil recovery enhancement adapted for conditions existing in the Vyatka area of the Arlan oil field containing poorly continuous reservoirs with lithofacies heterogeneity. This depleted area had a stable, high water cut.

The new method for enhancing water flooding efficiency using polymer dispersed systems presented in the paper selectively increases flow resistance in the thief zones of productive formations with a resulting increase in sweep efficiency.