SMG Microgels are pre-gelled polymers having a narrow size distribution and behaving like large polymer molecules. Their stability is strongly enhanced by internal cross-links. Several SMG microgels having different chemical compositions and cross-link density, with a size of around 2 μm were submited to laboratory corefloodtests. SMG propagation in reservoirs is driven by a size exclusion mechanism. Microgel size prevents invasion of low permeability zones and creates flow resistance in high permeability zones by adsorption on the rock. The permeability cutoff can be tuned by microgel size and chemistry. Permeability reduction generated by SMGs is determined by the thickness of the adsorbed layer which is roughly the size of the microgel in solution. It is little dependent of the adsorption level. Adsorption depends on the chemical composition of the microgel and on the nature of the rock.
An SMG Microgel with soft consistency was selected for a Conformance Control field application in a heterogeneous sandstone reservoir. Reservoir permeability ranges between 10 mD and 1200 mD with an average permeability of around 200 mD. The pattern consists of one injection well surrounded by eleven offset producers. The injection lasted 3 months with a total volume of 9,000 m3. After a few months, six offset producers showed increase in oil rate along with a reduction of a few points of water cut. One well lost both water and oil, thus proving diversion to the other wells. The trend remains steadily established in the pattern with continuous increase in additional oil production. After two years, more than 33,000 bbl of additional oil has been produced, giving a ratio of less than 0.7 lb of microgel per extra barrel of oil.