Two new DPI projects studying adsorption during polymer flooding have recently started within the area Polymers for oil & gas, one at the University of Bordeaux and the other at the University of Twente.
The goal of this research is to obtain a better understanding of the adsorption/retention mechanism (and possible options to minimize and prevent these) by investigating the dependency on polymer structure and composition as well as the impact of the different reservoir rock and reservoir fluid properties. At the University of Twente adsorption will be studied down to molecular level, whilst at the University of Bordeaux, reservoir conditions will be mimicked by core flooding experiments. In both projects, the behavior of the same model polymers will be investigated, so as to be able to connect molecular interactions with adsorption behavior under practical conditions.
Adsorption/retention is an undesired effect in polymer flooding technologies since it removes polymer from the solution where it is no longer active as displacing agent. Moreover, adsorption can reduce effective rock permeability and, at very low permeability, lead to complete blockage of the pore network.