Study of CO2 Mobility Control Using Cross-linked Gel Conformance Control and CO2 Viscosifiers in Heterogeneous Media



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CO2 has been widely used as a displacement fluid in both immiscible and miscible displacement processes to obtain tertiary recovery from the field. There are several problems associated with the application of CO2 flooding, especially when there is a significant presence of heterogeneous elements, such as fractures, channels and high permeability streaks within the reservoir. With flooding, CO2 will finger through the target zone while leaving most of the residual/trapped oil untouched. As a result, early gas breakthrough has been a very common problem in CO2-related projects, reducing the overall sweep efficiency of CO2 flooding. This research aims at improving the CO2 flood efficiency using cross-linked gel conformance control and CO2 viscosifier technique. A series of coreflood experiment studies have been performed to investigate the possibility of applying CO2 mobility control techniques. Corresponding simulation works have also been carried out to predict the benefits of applying CO2 mobility control techniques in the field. In the laboratory study, the CO2 coreflood system was integrated with the CT (Computed Tomography)-scanner and obtained real-time coreflood images of the CO2 saturation distributions in the core. This system was applied to the research of both cross-linked polymer gel treatment and CO2 viscosifier study and produced images with sharp phase contrasts. For the gel conformance study, promising results were obtained by applying cross-linked gel to eliminate permeability contrast and diverting CO2 into low permeability regions to obtain incremental oil recovery; also studied were the gel strength in terms of leak-off extent with the aid of CT (Computed Tomography) images. For the CO2 viscosifier research, we tested several potential viscosifier chemicals and found out PVAc (Polyvinylacetate)/toluene combination to be the most promising. The follow-up study clearly demonstrates the superiority of viscosified CO2 over neat CO2 in terms of sweep efficiency. This research serves as a preliminary study in understanding advanced CO2 mobility control techniques and will provide insights to future studies on this topic.