Injection and Production Profile Modification for Enhanced Oil Recovery: Mechanical or Chemical Methods?

Kim, Amos S. (Halliburton) | Thornton, Kim V. (Halliburton) | Boothe, Michael L. (Halliburton)


Enhanced oil recovery (EOR) is fundamental to increasing the ultimate recovery of a reservoir. Among several parameters that govern the success of an EOR project, profile modification is a key factor when flooding heterogeneous reservoirs with multiple zones. Given the time and economic constraints, simultaneous flooding of all zones of interest is preferred although it can be difficult for reasons such as a varying pressure and fluid injectivity/productivity profile caused by permeability contrasts between zones. Injection fluids can bypass low-permeability oil-saturated zones, not achieving the full benefit of injection if the profile is not properly modified. Failure to modify production profiles can lead to early water and gas breakthrough. To mitigate these problems, various approaches such as mechanical downhole equipment or chemical treatments have been used.

This paper presents a comparison of the use of mechanical versus chemical conformance control systems in different scenarios. Conformance control is defined as the process that helps improve the drive mechanism for better sweep of reservoir. The basic premises of both mechanical and chemical systems are introduced. Their applicability, operational benefits, and disadvantages are also described. A 3D reservoir simulator is used to illustrate the varying sweep efficiencies, depending on the conformance control method used. The result from the best case with both injector and producer profile modification demonstrated nearly double the oil recovery compared to the base case with no treatment.