The development of chemical enhanced oil recovery projects throughout the world is on a fast pace, led by a will to increase the final recovery of mature and newly developed hydrocarbon reservoirs The validation of the process is usually achieved by implementing an injection pilot; the goal is to understand, secure, and optimize the technology and to assess its efficiency on increasing final oil recovery for carefully determined capital and operational expenditures.
One of the key factors for a successful polymer flood is the polymer solution viscosity that must remain on target during the transport from its initial preparation, to the well head and down to the reservoir. Thus, a reliable method is required to measure and monitor the polymer solution viscosity on different points along the dissolution, dilution, mixing, and injection lines. This method must take into account the polymer solution characteristics among which the non-Newtonian behavior and sensitivity to mechanical and chemical degradations.
This paper presents recent developments of a specific in-line viscometer, which can measure the viscosity at low shear-rate, as per real reservoir conditions, with pressures ranging up to 250 barg. The equipment consists in a low flow, non-shearing pump, which circulates the solution through a given tube (length and diameter) where the pressure drop is measured and allows low-shear viscosity to be extrapolated. Calibration methods and first results are presented in this paper to illustrate the accuracy of the technology and potential installation benefits for chemical enhanced oil recovery operations. The viscometer is made of highly resistant material and can be implemented in all hazardous areas in remote mode without manual operations, no waste and very little maintenance.
This new device has been designed to solve the common issues encountered with the vast majority of commercial equipment that is not compatible with currently injected polyacrylamide solutions. It will also allow operators to gather reliable data compared to manual sampling methods that, in addition to requiring manpower, are not easy to conduct without degrading the polymer solutions.