Mangala field has been under polymer flood since 2015. The polymer flood has been more successful in accelerating recovery compared to waterflood. As the flood matured, field performance indicated that part of the injected polymer was degrading in the reservoir. Laboratory studies and polymer samples collected from the reservoir suggest that the most likely reason for the degradation is increased hydrolysis due to thermal aging. This degradation compels higher dosing of polymer to make up for the lost viscosity and increases operating costs. Polymer precipitation in the reservoir may also lead to loss of reservoir permeability.
Literature surveys and preliminary laboratory studies showed that polymers with acrylamide-tertiary-butyl-sulfonic acid monomer units (referred to as ATBS polymers) could be a suitable option for Mangala. To evaluate the hypothesis, the team did a series of laboratory and coreflood studies. The studies include accelerated thermal ageing, rheology, dynamic adsorption, injectivity, waterflood with fresh and degraded samples, and compatibility studies with topside chemicals. Two hydrolyzed polyacrylamide (HPAM) polymers with different degrees of hydrolysis (DOH) and two ATBS polymers were evaluated. The selected ATBS polymer was then tested for compatibility with surface topside chemicals.
The studies show that the classic 20 to 25% DOH HPAM suffers viscosity degradation and possible precipitation in Mangala reservoir conditions. ATBS polymers and a lower DOH HPAM provide superior results to the incumbent HPAM with an acrylamide (AM) (86)-ATBS (14) copolymer providing the best results. ATBS polymers were especially resistant to cloudpoint lowering and provide some superiority in shear degradation. The ATBS monomer was resistant to hydrolysis during the period of testing. Contrary to the published literature, ATBS polymers showed higher adsorption and their propagation through cores required a higher pressure drop. ATBS polymer seemed to plug a low-permeability section of the core stack. All polymers reach their peak viscosity at 30 to 40% hydrolysis and decline sharply after 40%, but viscosity and cloudpoints measured during accelerated aging are possibly conservative. A large-scale pilot of ATBS injection in Mangala is under way to validate the laboratory test results.
ATBS polymer can be a suitable polymer for some layers of Mangala with a high residence time and permeability. The choice is driven by the economics of the incremental cost of ATBS for the benefits it offers. In some sands with shorter interwell spacing, a lower DOH HPAM may be a more cost-effective solution.
The study results in this paper provide insights to operators to understand the reservoir performance of existing polymer floods and plan for future polymer floods.