Project Information

Water Management in Mature Oil Fields Using Advanced Particle Gels


Primary Performer
The University of Texas (Austin, TX)

Additional Participants
Missouri University of Science and Technology
Legacy Reserves
Hilcorp Energy Company

Excess water production is a major problem leading to early well abandonment and unrecoverable hydrocarbons for mature wells. Current remedies of gel treatments of injection wells to plug thief zones are cost-effective methods to improve sweep efficiency in reservoirs and reduce excess water production during hydrocarbon production. However, the current technology has limitations and the results of these treatments have been sporadic and unpredictable. A recent interest in gel treatments uses particle gels to overcome some of the distinct drawbacks inherent in in-situ gelation systems. This proposal will provide a better understanding of recent particle gel processes based on systematic laboratory experiments and will develop a numerical tool to solve excess water production taking into account the reservoir heterogeneity and operating conditions. The ultimate purpose of the project is to provide a simulation tool to optimize particle gel treatments to increase oil recovery and reduce water production. This has direct economic benefits by increasing income and saving routine operating costs, in addition a reduction in the water production rate serves to decrease the injection water usage and associated environmental risks.

In this project researchers will design and perform coreflood experiments to obtain a deep understanding of the process and mechanisms to aid in developing mechanistic and predictive models of the process, and develop a numerical simulator to model the particle gel treatment processes and validation against coreflood experiments. The eventual outcome is a feasibility study of particle gel conformance control for a specific reservoir with data provided by small producer(s) supporting this research.

Principal Investigators: Drs. B. Bai and K. Sepehrnoori

Project Cost:
DOE share: $902,609
Recipient share: $264,445

Project Duration: 2 years