Polymer rheology can have either a positive or a negative effect on polymer flooding performance under varied circumstances. Many researchers have studied the effect of polymer rheology in a vertical well, but no field scale studies have been conducted to investigate whether polymer rheology is beneficial to polymer flooding in heavy oil reservoirs developed by horizontal wells. In this paper, we conducted a numerical simulation study to examine the effect of HPAM polymer rheology on a polymer flooding pilot, which is the first-ever project conducted on a heavy oil reservoir from Alaska North Slope (ANS) developed by horizontal wells. Three rheology types were considered in the study including the apparent viscosity measured during coreflooding of using a HPAM polymer, the bulk viscosity measured with a viscometer, and a Newtonian flow model. The results suggest that using the bulk viscosity in simulation underestimates the conformance control and the water-oil-ratio reduction capability of the HPAM polymer solution. When the apparent viscosity is used, the incremental oil and sweep were largely increased, and the optimal recovery period of polymer flooding was extended greatly, especially for the heterogeneous formations. Therefore, the rheology type of polymer plays a significant role in the incremental oil recovery and injection profile of the horizontal well system given the pilot testconditions. This study has provided practical guidance to field operators for the ongoing polymer flooding pilot on ANS and will also provide valuable information for other polymer projects conducted in similar conditions.

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