A polymer hydrolysis model and its application in chemical EOR process simulation
Polymer flooding is a commercial enhanced oil recovery (EOR) method used to increase the sweep efficiency of water floods. Hydrolyzed polyacrylamide (HPAM), a synthetic commercial polymer, is widely used in commercial polymer floods and it is also used for mobility control of chemical floods using surfactants such as surfactant-polymer flooding and alkaline-surfactant-polymer flooding. The increase in the degree of hydrolysis of HPAM at elevated temperature or pH with time affects the polymer solution viscosity and its adsorption on rock surfaces. A polymer hydrolysis model based on published laboratory data was implemented in UTCHEM, a chemical EOR simulator, in order to assess the effect of hydrolysis on reservoir performance. Both 1D and 3D simulations were performed to validate the implementation of the model. The simulation results are consistent with the laboratory observations that show an increase in polymer solution viscosity as hydrolysis progresses. The numerical results indicate that hydrolysis occurs very rapidly and impacts the near wellbore region polymer injectivity.