Polymer flooding is a well-known enhanced oil recovery (EOR) technique, commonly deployed after water flooding as tertiary recovery. Management of the water produced is an important aspect in production operations, particularly in terms of flow assurance. There has been a great deal of attention to impact of water cycle in production facilities, in terms of inorganic mineral scale deposition, hydrate formation and corrosion. However, the interaction of the water produced and the injected EOR chemicals has not been as thoroughly studied, despite the fact of the significant impact on surface production facilities. Fouling in heat-exchangers is not commonly considered in polymer flooding EOR strategies at the front end engineering and design (FEED) stage. The structure of EOR polymers makes them susceptible to multiple factors within a reservoir environment, such as thermal hydrolysis and the presence of divalent ions the produced water. Polymers in the presence of divalent cations precipitate, known as cloud point, where compatibility reduces with temperature. Therefore, fouling in heat exchangers is expected, when polymer breaks through, and as a consequence the rate of heat transfer decreases. Although, the exact mechanism is extremely complex, due to the numerous chemical and physical phenomena, it depends mainly on the nature of the crude oil and the composition of the produced brine, particularly the concentration of divalent ions. In this study, the impact of fouling in the production facilities is described by the Fouling Index (FI), which is the product of divalent ions concentration in the produced water and the produced polymer concentration.

The purpose of this manuscript is to identify optimum polymer flooding strategies in a five-spot pattern heterogeneous synthetic reservoir model, minimizing the level of fouling in the heat exchangers, by minimizing FI. Fouling in heat exchangers prevent the efficient production of hydrocarbons; with the corresponding halt in production and loss of revenue. The optimization results identified the optimum injection polymer concentration and optimum injection water salinity. The results highlighted that reducing the salinity around 50% of the original value, the project net present value (NPV) was optimized, minimizing FI and therefore achieving an optimum oil production. The reduction of salinity can be achieved economically using nano-filtration at the lowest level of rejection, 60%. In conclusion, the results identified optimum polymer flooding strategies, where oil recovery and NPV is maximized, fouling is minimized, aiming for the most efficient continuous oil production.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Argillier, J., Henaut, I., Darbouret, M., Jermann, C., Vinay, G. and Energies, I. F. P.
    (2018) ‘Evaluation of EOR Chemicals Impact on Topside Operations’, in Katsikis, P. V. (ed) SPE EOR Conference at Oil and Gas West Asia, pp. 26–28.
    [Google Scholar]
  2. Awad, M. M.
    (2011) Fouling of Heat Transfer Surfaces, Heat Transfer - Theoretical Analysis, Experimental Investigations and Industrial Systems. Edited by A.Belmiloudi. InTech. doi: 10.5772/13696.
    https://doi.org/10.5772/13696. [Google Scholar]
  3. Ayirala, S. C. and Yousef, A. A.
    (2016) ‘A critical review of water chemistry alteration technologies to develop novel water treatment schemes for smartwater flooding in carbonate reservoirs’, in SPE Symposium on Improved Oil Recovery. doi: https://doi.org/10.2118/179564-MS.
    [Google Scholar]
  4. Deng, S., Bai, R., Chen, J. P., Jiang, Z., Yu, G., Zhou, F. and Chen, Z.
    (2002) ‘Produced water from polymer flooding process in crude oil extraction: Characterization and treatment by a novel crossflow oil-water separator’, Separation and Purification Technology, 29(3), pp. 207–216. doi: 10.1016/S1383‑5866(02)00082‑5.
    https://doi.org/10.1016/S1383-5866(02)00082-5. [Google Scholar]
  5. Fakhru’l-Razi, A., Pendashteh, A., Abdullah, L. C., Biak, D. R. A., Madaeni, S. S. and Abidin, Z. Z.
    (2009) ‘Review of technologies for oil and gas produced water treatment’, Journal of Hazardous Materials, 170(2–3), pp. 530–551. doi: 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2009.05.044.
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhazmat.2009.05.044. [Google Scholar]
  6. GaryA. Pope
    (2011) ‘Recovery, Recent Developments and Remaining Challenges of Enhanced Oil’, Journal of Petroleum Technology, 63(7), pp. 65–68.
    [Google Scholar]
  7. Ibrahim, H. A.-H.
    (2012) Fouling in Heat Exchangers, MATLAB - A Fundamental Tool for Scientific Computing and Engineering Applications. Edited by V.Katsikis. InTech. doi: 10.5772/46462.
    https://doi.org/10.5772/46462. [Google Scholar]
  8. Igunnu, E. T. and Chen, G. Z.
    (2014) ‘Produced water treatment technologies’, International Journal of Low-Carbon Technologies, 9(3). doi: 10.1093/ijlct/cts049.
    https://doi.org/10.1093/ijlct/cts049. [Google Scholar]
  9. Jensen, T., Kadhum, M., Kozlowicz, B., Sumner, E. S., Malsam, J., Muhammed, F. and Ravikiran, R.
    (2018) ‘Chemical EOR Under Harsh Conditions: Scleroglucan As A Viable Commercial Solution’, SPE Improved Oil Recovery Symposium, Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA, 14–18 April. doi: 10.2118/190216‑MS.
    https://doi.org/10.2118/190216-MS. [Google Scholar]
  10. Juri, J. E., Ruiz, A., Pedersen, G., Bernhardt, C., Vazquez, P., Eguia, V. and Schein, F.
    (2017) ‘Grimbeek-120 cP oil in a multilayer heterogeneous fluvial reservoir. First successful application polymer flooding at YPF’, in IOR NORWAY 2017 - 19th European Symposium on Improved Oil Recovery: Sustainable IOR in a Low Oil Price World. doi: 10.3997/2214‑4609.201700242.
    https://doi.org/10.3997/2214-4609.201700242. [Google Scholar]
  11. Kalbani, H. Al, Mandhari, M. S., Al-Hadhrami, H. and Philip, G.
    (2014) ‘Impact on Crude Dehydration Due To Back Production Of Polymer’, in SPE EOR Conference at Oil and Gas West Asia, pp. 1–8.
    [Google Scholar]
  12. Kazi, S. N., Teng, K. H., Zakaria, M. S., Sadeghinezhad, E. and Bakar, M. A.
    (2015) ‘Study of mineral fouling mitigation on heat exchanger surface’, Desalination. Elsevier, 367, pp. 248–254. doi: 10.1016/J.DESAL.2015.04.011.
    https://doi.org/10.1016/J.DESAL.2015.04.011. [Google Scholar]
  13. Leonhardt, B., Visser, F., Lessner, E., Wenzke, B. and Schmidt, J.
    (2011) ‘From Flask to Field–The Long Road to Development of a New Polymer’, 16th European Symposium on Improved Oil Recovery, (April 2011), pp. 12–14. doi: 10.3997/2214‑4609.201404775.
    https://doi.org/10.3997/2214-4609.201404775. [Google Scholar]
  14. Levitt, D. B., Pope, G. A. and Jouenne, S.
    (2011) ‘Chemical Degradation of Polyacrylamide Polymers Under Alkaline Conditions’, SPE Reservoir Evaluation & Engineering, 14(3), pp. 281–286. doi: 10.2118/129879‑PA.
    https://doi.org/10.2118/129879-PA. [Google Scholar]
  15. Moradi-Araghi, A. and Doe, P. H.
    (1987) ‘Hydrolysis and Precipitation of Polyacrylamides in Hard Brines at Elevated Temperatures’, SPE Reservoir Engineering, 2(2), pp. 189–198. doi: 10.2118/13033‑PA.
    https://doi.org/10.2118/13033-PA. [Google Scholar]
  16. Morel, D., Vert, M., Total, E., Jouenne, S., France, T. P. and Nahas, E.
    (2008) ‘Polymer Injection in Deep Offshore Field?: The Dalia Angola Case’, Polymer, (SPE 116672), pp. 21–24. doi: 10.2118/116672‑MS.
    https://doi.org/10.2118/116672-MS. [Google Scholar]
  17. Sandengen, K., Widerøe, H. C., Nurmi, L. and Hanski, S.
    (2017) ‘Hydrolysis kinetics of ATBS polymers at elevated temperature, via 13 C NMR spectroscopy, as basis for accelerated aging tests’, Journal of Petroleum Science and Engineering, 158(August), pp. 680–692. doi: 10.1016/j.petrol.2017.09.013.
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.petrol.2017.09.013. [Google Scholar]
  18. Sheng, J. J.
    (2013) Polymer Flooding—Fundamentals and Field Cases. Elsevier. Available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/book/9780123865458/enhanced-oil-recovery.
    [Google Scholar]
  19. Sorbie, K. S.
    (1991) Polymer Improved Oil Recovery. 1st edn. Glasgow: Blackie.
    [Google Scholar]
  20. Standnes, D. C. and Skjevrak, I.
    (2014) ‘Literature review of implemented polymer field projects’, Journal of Petroleum Science and Engineering. Elsevier, 122, pp. 761–775. doi: 10.1016/j.petrol.2014.08.024.
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.petrol.2014.08.024. [Google Scholar]
  21. Su, B., Dou, M., Gao, X., Shang, Y. and Gao, C.
    (2012) ‘Study on seawater nanofiltration softening technology for offshore oilfield water and polymer flooding’, Desalination. Elsevier B.V., 297(May), pp. 30–37. doi: 10.1016/j.desal.2012.04.014.
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.desal.2012.04.014. [Google Scholar]
  22. Swiecinski, F., Reed, P. and Andrews, W.
    (2016) ‘The Thermal Stability of Polyacrylamides in EOR Applications’, in SPE Improved Oil Recovery Conference. doi: 10.2118/179558‑MS.
    https://doi.org/10.2118/179558-MS. [Google Scholar]
  23. Wylde, J. J., Mcmahon, J., Mayner, S., Inc, C.-C. and Corp, C.
    (2011) ‘Scale Inhibitor Application in Northern Alberta: a Case History of an Ultra High Temperature Scale Inhibition Solution in Fire Tube Heater Treaters’, SPE Oilfield Scale International Conference, (201039). doi: 10.2118/130307‑MS.
    https://doi.org/10.2118/130307-MS. [Google Scholar]
  24. Zheng, F., Quiroga, P. and Sams, G. W.
    (2011) ‘Challenges in Processing Produced Emulsion from Chemical Enhanced Oil Recovery -Polymer Flood Using Polyacrylamide’, in SPE Enhanced Oil Recovery Conference.
    [Google Scholar]

Data & Media loading...

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error