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Improved Approaches to Design of Polymer Gel Treatments in Mature Oil Fields: Field Demonstration in Dickman Field, Ness County, KS
Project Number

The project goal was to accelerate adaptation and evaluation of new technologies, such as gelled polymer technology, specifically for decreasing water production in producing wells through collaboration among independent producers and service companies operating in Kansas. The project will demonstrate the use of these cost-effective tools and techniques to characterize the heterogeneous reservoir in Dickman oilfield in Kansas and predict its performance with various polymer gel treatments.

This project was selected in response to DOE's Research with Independents solicitation, DE-PS26-02NT15377. The focus area was Enhanced Oil Recovery.


Grand Mesa Operating Company 
Wichita, KS

Englewood, CO

University of Kansas
Lawrence, KS


The Mississippian reservoir at Dickman Field, discovered in 1962, has produced about 1.6 million barrels of oil. Mississippian reservoirs in Kansas such as that in Dickman Field are naturally fractured, solution-enhanced, multi-layered, shallow-shelf carbonates with strong bottom-water drives. Water channels through the natural-solution enhanced karst fracture system from the underlying aquifer. High water influx prevents adequate drawdown pressure from being exerted on the oil-bearing matrix, and the very high water cut increases operating costs. Arbuckle and Mississippian production in Kansas occurs at or near the top of karsted carbonates below a regional sub-Pennsylvanian unconformity surface. These Arbuckle and Mississippian reservoirs are a major source of Kansas oil production and account for about 58% of the state's current production. Across Kansas, there are a large number of small- to medium-size Mississippian reservoirs (1,785 fields reported production from the Mississippian in 2002).

The success in the Arbuckle has spurred renewed interests in other natural water-drive reservoirs, such as the Mississippian. Up until now, gel-polymer for fracture treatment in Mississippian reservoirs has not been attempted. Basic technical or empirical guidelines do not exist for treatment design. This has inhibited the use of polymer gel treatments in Mississippian reservoirs in Kansas. This would be the first application of large-volume polymer gel treatments in Kansas Mississippian carbonate reservoirs.

Project Results
The Mississippian reservoir at Dickman Field was characterized. A polymer gel treatment was conducted and performed successfully. This is the first large-scale gel polymer field test of a Mississippian carbonate reservoir in Kansas.

The project benefit will stem from demonstrating the feasibility of polymer gel technology to increase the recovery of reserves from Mississippian reservoirs in Kansas. The increase in recoverable reserves can be accomplished by 1) reducing water production from Mississippian producers and the well operating cost, 2) increasing the drawdown on Mississippian producers while boosting oil production and remaining recoverable reserves, and 3) enabling uneconomic producers to be returned to production.

Project Summary
TIORCO equipment and personnel arrived on location on December 4, 2003. A tailgate safety meeting was held to discuss all potential hazards specific to the jobsite. TIORCO's portable polymer pumping unit No. 14 was used to perform this treatment. A gauge on the end of a wireline was used to allow for real-time monitoring of bottomhole pressure.

Representative samples of cross-linked polymer solution were collected during all treatment stages to ensure that the intended gels ultimately would form. Pre-gel samples were stored at a temperature of 120 F. in an oven onboard the TIORCO portable polymer injection unit. All samples indicated that gels formed as intended.

Current Status

The project is complete.

Project Start
Project End
DOE Contribution


Performer Contribution

$106,319 (51% of total)

Contact Information

NETL - Jesse Garcia ( or 918-699-2036) 
Grand Mesa - Ronald Fowler ( or 316-265-3000)