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Performance evaluation of starch based polymer for enhanced oil recovery
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Ever since the first petroleum well was drilled, water production has been a deterring force in maximizing an oilfield's hydrocarbon reserves. To satisfy the ever increasing global demand for petroleum, many different techniques for enhancing oil recovery have been investigated. One such technique is the application of a polymer solution to the near-wellbore area. The polymer solution lowers the relative permeability of the reservoir water thus increasing the amount of water left in formation. Although polymers can be beneficial, many environmental and economical concerns are also associated with their use. A starch based polymer would provide an environmentally harmless solution while using readily available and inexpensive agricultural products such as grains and cereals. This study uses numerical simulation to analyze the starch based polymer's performance in the near-wellbore area. Simulations are performed on two separate single-well, radial models. The first model covers a water influx at the circumferential edge of a reservoir, the second covers water influx from the bottom of a reservoir. Two different rock samples are adapted to each single-well model. The two rock samples are the Elgin and Okesa Sandstones. Within the models, a multitude of reservoir conditions are investigated to better evaluate the polymer's ability to enhance oil recovery. The Western Atlas' VIP simulator is used for this study. Application of the starch based polymer treatment to the near-wellbore is shown to be an effective agent in enhancing a well's oil recovery. For the edge water influx model, the polymer performed well for a wide range of variables, including penetration depth, production rate, radial permeability, application time, reservoir temperature, perforation interval, aquifer strength, porosity, and bottomhole pressure constraints. The bottom water influx model also produced good results for many of the simulation runs however, the effects of the penetration depth and production rate proved to be the most important factors in a successful polymer treatment. The variables investigated in the bottom water influx model are polymer penetration depth, production rate, permeability ratio, application time, reservoir temperature, aquifer strength, perforation height above the oil/water contact, porosity, and bottomhole pressure constraints.
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Skurner, James Andrew (1997). Performance evaluation of starch based polymer for enhanced oil recovery. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from
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