Chen, Zhao (New Mexico Inst-Mining & Tech) | Du, Cheng (New Mexico Inst-Mining & Tech) | Kurnia, Ivan (New Mexico Inst-Mining & Tech) | Lou, Junjie (New Mexico Inst-Mining & Tech) | Zhang, Guoyin (New Mexico Petroleum Recovery Research Center) | Yu, Jianjia (New Mexico Petroleum Recovery Research Center) | Lee, Robert L. (New Mexico Petroleum Recovery Research Center)
Hydrodynamic retention is one of the contributors to polymer loss in porous media. In this study, effects of flow rate, polymer molecular weight, and core permeability on hydrodynamic retention were investigated. To quantify hydrodynamic retention, injection of two identical polymer banks at different rates separated by 100 pore volumes of brine flushing was performed. Three HPAM polymers with molecular weights of 6–8 million, 12 million, and 20 million Daltons were tested in a 135 mD sandstone core and xanthan polymer with molecular weight of 2–2.5 million Daltons was tested in an 87 mD sandstone core. The retention of 6–8 million Daltons HPAM in a 1,650 mD sandstone core was also measured. Polymer retention in a fresh core was first measured at low injection rate of 3.11 ft/day. Then, 100 PV of 2% NaCl brine was injected to displace all the mobile polymer molecules in the core till pressure drop across the core became stable. Hydrodynamic retention at elevated flow rates was determined after the completion of retention at lower rates and comparisons with the initial polymer retention were made.
Retention of 96.1 µg/g in the 135 mD core was detected for the 6–8 million HPAM at a flow rate of 3.11 ft/day. Increase of flow rate from 3.11 ft/day to 6.22 ft/day and 12.4 ft/day resulted in incremental retention of 2.27 µg/g and 5.38 µg/g, respectively. The injection of a higher molecular weight polymer at the same rate was performed after retention was satisfied with a lower molecular weight polymer. It was found the degree of hydrodynamic retention was greater when higher molecular weight polymers were injected. When core permeability was changed from 135 mD to 1,650 mD, both the initial and hydrodynamic retention were dramatically decreased. The initial retention of xanthan was 66.7 µg/g in an 87 mD sandstone core, which was smaller compared to the retention of HPAM in the similar core. However, hydrodynamic retention measurements of xanthan gives 3.26 µg/g and 6.38 µg/g increments with the increase of flow rate from 3.11 ft/day to 6.22 ft/day and 12.4 ft/day, which suggested that the retention of xanthan is slightly more sensitive to the change of injection rate than HPAM. This study also implied that measurement of residual resistance factor after polymer injection should be completed after sufficient brine flushing (around 100 PV), otherwise, an overestimated residual resistance factor might be provided.