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AAPG GEO 2010 Middle East
Geoscience Conference & Exhibition
Innovative Geoscience Solutions – Meeting Hydrocarbon Demand in Changing Times
March 7-10, 2010 – Manama, Bahrain

Mobility Control Requirement in Enhanced Oil Recovery Processes

James Sheng1

(1) Total E&P, Houston, TX.

Mobility control is essential in any EOR process. We know that the displacing phase mobility should be less than or equal to the displaced phase mobility. If we take polymer flooding as an example EOR process, the displacing phase is polymer solution, and the displaced phases are oil and water phases. Based on the conventional concept, the polymer mobility should be less than or equal to the sum of oil and water mobilities.

The problem is that the conventional concept is based on the conditions that the displacing phase and displaced phase move at the same velocity and one fluid is displaced by another fluid. However, in the polymer flooding case, two phases, oil and water, are displaced by polymer. And the oil and water phases move at different velocities. Therefore, the conventional concept cannot be applied to the polymer flooding process or a general EOR process.

In this paper, we first demonstrate using simulation approach that the above conventional concept is invalid in polymer flooding case. Based on the theoretical stability analysis of displacement front, we propose that the displacing polymer mobility should be less than or equal to the oil phase mobility.

The above mobility requirement is validated by extensive simulation results at different conditions. It is also justified by field practices. The new concept helps us to select the correct polymer concentration for a practical EOR process.