Effect of small-scale heterogeneity on biopolymer performance in carbonates

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    Polymer flooding is a well-established chemical method for enhancing oil recovery in sandstones; however, it has a limited application in carbonates. This is due to the harsh reservoir conditions in carbonates including high temperature, high salinity, and high heterogeneity with low permeability. This paper numerically investigates the effect of Schizophyllan biopolymer on oil recovery from carbonates. The effect of biopolymer on oil recovery was predicted by running several 1D simulations. Biopolymer flow behavior was modeled based on experimental data. The results showed that the effect of the investigated biopolymer on oil recovery was not much pronounced compared to conventional waterflooding. This is due to small-scale heterogeneity, which increased effective shear rate and hence, decreased in-situ polymer viscosity. Formation permeability, polymer viscosity, and oil saturation maps were consistent in justifying this observation. The findings of this study were supported by fractional flow and mobility ratio analyses. This work highlights the importance of small-scale heterogeneity of the core in modeling polymer flooding, particularly the shear effect on polymer viscosity.

    Original languageBritish English
    Pages (from-to)2907-2922
    Number of pages16
    JournalJournal of Petroleum Exploration and Production Technology
    Issue number7
    StatePublished - 1 Oct 2020


    • Biopolymer modeling
    • Chemical enhanced oil recovery (CEOR)
    • Fractional flow analysis
    • Mobility ratio
    • Small scale heterogeneity


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