Water shutoff treatments with polymers that selectively reduce the water permeability can be effective to reduce water production from hydrocarbon wells that cannot be treated with conventional approaches. In this paper we present an analysis that starts from the principal operative questions and defines the main physical-chemical issues to be understood in order to develop a reliable technology. These issues are discussed by showing results from a number of experimental and simulation studies conducted in our laboratories with the goal to link the understanding of basic mechanisms to the development of operational rules. This work shows the elaboration of understanding-based rules for candidate and chemical selection to be an effective strategy for the application of this technology in the field.

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