Yao, Chuanjin (China University of Petroleum) | Xu, Xiaohong (China University of Petroleum) | Wang, Dan (China University of Petroleum) | Lei, Guanglun (China University of Petroleum) | Xue, Shifeng (China University of Petroleum) | Hou, Jian (China University of Petroleum) | Cathles, Lawrence M. (Cornell University) | Steenhuis, Tammo S. (Cornell University)
Micron-size polyacrylamide elastic microspheres (MPEMs) are a smart sweep improvement and profile modification agent, which can be prepared controllably on the ground through inverse suspension polymerization using acrylamide crosslinked with an organic crosslinker. MPEMs can tolerate high temperature of 90 °C, high salinity of 20000 mg/L and wide pH value range of 4.0–10.3. MPEMs suspension almost has no corrosion effect on the injection pipeline and equipment. MPEMs can suspend in produced water easily and be pumped into formation at any rate. More importantly, MPEMs can reach the designed size after hydration swelling in oil formation and a reliable blockage can be formed; MPEMs can deform elastically and move forward step by step to realize a moveable sweep improvement and profile modification process in reservoirs. The pore-scale visualization experiment shows that there are four migration patterns for MPEMs transport in porous media and they are smooth passing, elastic plugging, bridge plugging and complete plugging. MPEMs can deform depending on their elasticity and pass through these pore-throats. Parallel-sandpack physical modeling experiment under the simulated reservoir conditions shows that MPEMs mainly enter into and plug high permeability layer whose permeability is reduced from 3.642 µm2 to 0.546 µm2, and almost do not clog low-permeability layer whose permeability is reduced from 0.534 µm2 to 0.512 µm2. Field application results of MPEMs treatment in a serious heterogeneous, high temperature and high salinity reservoir show that MPEMs can effectively improve swept volume and displacement efficiency. Because of the excellent properties, MPEMs treatment will become a cost-effective method for sweep improvement and profile modification to serious heterogeneous, high temperature and high salinity reservoirs with fractures and channels.