Decision Making Tool to Assist in Choosing Between Polymer Flooding and Infill Well Drilling: Case Study

Armih, Khari (Heriot Watt University) | Alusta, Gamal Abdalla (Heriot-Watt University) | Mackay, Eric James (Heriot-Watt University) | Fennema, Julian (Heriot Watt University)


In previous publications, we introduced a methodology to assist in choosing between polymer flooding and infill well drilling. The method has been firstly applied to a synthetic scenario with constant economic parameters, which has demonstrated the impact that oil price can have on the decision making process (Alusta, et. al. SPE 143300) and the method is then applied and tested with varied operational and economic parameters to investigate whether it is better to start polymer flooding earlier or later in the life of the project (Alusta et al., SPE 150454).

The method was then applied to actual field data where the choice of infill well drilling has already been made, to test the robustness of the method against a conventional decision making process for which there is historical data. Application of the method identified that polymer injection would indeed be economically unfavourable (Alusta et al., SPE 163298).

The approach is then carried out in a field where the choice has yet to be made, a field which is currently under waterflood management, and where the operator is considering polymer flooding as an alternative (or in addition) to infill well drilling. Application of the method has identified that under certain technical conditions (related to polymer concentration and duration of polymer injection) and certain economic conditions (related to oil price and operating costs) polymer flooding entails a significant risk of failure, but that if appropriate technical choices are made, and under prevailing economic conditions, polymer flooding is very beneficial for this field, and a combination of polymer flooding and infill well drilling is optimal.

We consider that this approach will be very useful to the industry in helping to make the appropriate choice between potentially various EOR techniques and infill well drilling, taking full account of reservoir engineering AND economic considerations TOGETHER.