Project Information

Study and Pilot Test of Preformed Particle Gel Conformance Control Combined with Surfactant Treatment


Primary Performer
Missouri University of Science and Technology (Rolla, MO)

Additional Participants
Blue Top Energy
Colt Energy
TMD Energy
Baker Hughes Company

This project will systematically investigate a novel technology that was initiated under a previous RPSEA project (07123-02) by conducting extensive lab experiments and field demonstration tests. This technology couples preformed particle gel (PPG) and surfactant into one enhanced oil recovery (EOR) process. When surfactants and PPG are injected into a well together, PPG will preferentially enter fractures or fracture-like channels to reduce their permeability, while the surfactant solution will be squeezed into non-swept matrixes or zones/areas to reduce interfacial tension (IFT) and alter wettability. Gel treatment alone is limited to sweep efficiency improvement, and surfactant EOR is limited to microscopic displacement efficiency improvement. Together, however, they can significantly reduce water production and improve both displacement and sweep efficiency, thus yielding a more cost-effective EOR method. The ultimate objective of this project is to provide a comprehensive understanding of the combined technology and to identify where and how the technology can be applied most acceptably through laboratory experiments and field demonstration tests.

The project involves eight tasks, the first four of which are required by RPSEA. The 5th task is to test the extent to which the proposed forced imbibition technology can reduce water production and improve oil production, and to identify where the novel technology can be applied most acceptably through a series of lab tests. The 6th task is to screen PPGs and surfactants for pilot testing in the wells operated by Blue Top Energy and provide an optimized treatment design by diagnosing reservoir problems and analyzing field data. The choice of surfactant will be based on both its ability to reduce heavy oil viscosity by forming water-in-oil (W/O) emulsion and the stability of the emulsion, which will be enhanced by adding nano-particles. The 7th task is to execute field pilot tests and monitor production performance after treatment. The 8th task is to evaluate the feasibility of PPG treatments or PPG combined with surfactant for the wells provided by small producers: Colt Energy and TMD Energy in Tennessee.

Principal Investigators: Baojun Bai, PhD and Lester Birbeck, Chair Professor

Project Cost:
DOE share: $863,452
Recipient share: $898,863

Project Duration: 2 years