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Measuring the viscosity during chemical enhanced oil recovery – Westech

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L-Vis 510: Polymer Flooding

Inline Polymer Flooding Liquid Viscosity Robust and accurate viscosity measurement under harsh process conditions is a challenging task made easy by Anton Paar’s unique,  fluid dynamic inline viscometer, L-Vis 510.

L-Vis 510 has a nanometer-resolution inductive displacement sensor which measures the deflection of a flexible cuff subjected to shear in a tapered gap. The wide gap tolerates particle sizes up to a few hundred micrometers and allows a thorough sample exchange. These features, along with excellent repeatability under sufficiently stable process conditions, open new opportunities for automatic viscosity based process and quality control in demanding industrial processes.

Measuring the viscosity during chemical enhanced oil recovery - Westech 1

Polymer Flooding

The production history of a petroleum reservoir may be divided into different phases. The first, where oil is flowing freely from the reservoir to the production well is the best known, but in most cases also the shortest. Very early in the life of a reservoir, energy must usually be supplied to the porous medium which bears the crude oil, so that it continues to flow to the producing wells.

The secondary methods which comprise water or gas injection help in maintaining the reservoir pressure to ensure hydrocarbon flow to the production wells. Approximately half of the oil production nowadays is a result of waterflood and a major concern of this process is mobility control of the injected phase. With the unfavourable mobility ratio channelling through permeable zones and the fingering effect can occur. That leads to an early water breakthrough and inefficient flooding. The recovery factor at the end of this stage often remains below 40% of the oil originally in place. Tertiary methods are then developed to overcome this issue and reach recovery factors above 60%.

Polymer flooding belongs to chemical enhanced recovery; it is a well-known method with low risk and application over a wide range of reservoir conditions. It consists in dissolving polymer in the injected water to increase its viscosity and to improve the sweep efficiency in the hydrocarbon reservoir.

A typical polymer flood project involves adding polymer to the injection water and, consequently, increasing the water viscosity, the displacement becomes more stable and greater flood efficiency can be achieved.

Measuring the viscosity during chemical enhanced oil recovery - Westech 2

Enhanced Oil Recovery Polymer

The two most general polymer types used in the enhanced oil recovery process are a synthetic material polyacrylamide, in its partially hydrolysed form (HPAM), Hydroxyethyl Cellulose and the biopolymer, Xanthan. These kinds of polymers are extensively used in several industries as the thickening agents or as part of the manufacturing process.

For the evaluation the polyacrylamide polymer FLOPAAM 3630S by SNF Floerger, France was used.

Please download our L-VIS 510: Polymer Flooding Application Report for the rest of this article or contact our Westech Industrial team for further information on Anton Paar’s product line go to

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