waterflooding with polymer

Injecting water into a reservoir sweeps out some extra oil, but adding a gel-like polymer to waterflooding – a type of non-thermal enhanced oil recovery (EOR) – can safely sweep out more.

At Chevron’s Captain Field in the U.K. North Sea, injecting water alone was bypassing rich oil zones (after all, oil and water don’t mix). Now, thanks to Chevron’s powerful reservoir modeling technologies, chemical analysis and EOR know-how, horizontal wells pump water thickened with polymer, sweeping more oil to production wells.

Chevron designed the polymer to not break down in Captain’s hot, salty environment, creating a more efficient sweep in Captain’s reservoirs. Years of planning and teamwork set the stage for this project, but the effort should pay off: 70 percent of Captain’s original 1 billion barrels of oil is still down there.

Updated: July 2015