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Arbuckle Gel Polymer Treatment Website

The Tertiary Oil Recovery Project (TORP) at the University of Kansas has a long history of research and field applications related to gelled polymers. Gel polymer treatments are nothing new to the mid-continent; however, post-1997 treatments in Kansas Arbuckle producing wells have proven to be more effective in controlling water production and increasing oil production than earlier treatments.

TORP is working with service companies and oil operators to develop a database on these latter treatments and is investigating areas where university engineers and scientists can be of assistance in better defining where and how to apply this technology. Questions looking to be answered include candidate well selection, treatment volumes pumped, and modeling what actually occurs during and after the treatments.

Two significant differences exist when comparing recent treatments to pre-1997 treatments. Current treatments use improved gel systems and pump larger volumes of gel than pre-1997 treatments (from 1,500 to 5,000 barrels today versus a few hundred barrels previously).

Currently, two gel systems are used when treating Arbuckle producing wells. They are the MARCITSM gel system and the PRODSM gel system. MARCITSM is the acronym for MARathon Conformance Improvement Treatment. This polymer gel was developed in the mid-1980's by Marathon Oil Company and licensed to various service companies in the early 1990's. The MARCITSM technology consists of mixing dry polymer [Cr(III)carboxylate/acrylamide] in water and crosslinking it at surface with chromium triacetate. The PRODSM gel system was developed by Chevron/Phillips Chemical Company and consists of mixing dry polymer [Cr(III)carboxylate/acrylamide] in water and crosslinking it at surface with chromium propionate.

Since 2000, operators have treated about 500 Central Kansas Arbuckle producing wells with the improved gel systems. To one degree or another, the wells have successfully responded to the treatments. For some wells, oil production has increased from approximately 5 BOPD to over 200 BOPD for several days after the treatments (+/- 14 days) and has stabilized at between 10 and 30 BOPD for six months or longer. For the same wells, water production has dropped from over 1500 BWPD in many cases to between 100 and 200 BWPD and has remained at the lower volumes for a year or longer. Other wells have not responded as favorably, but have still seen an increase in oil production and a decrease in water production. In some cases no significant oil benefits are seen, but water production is still reduced. Operators indicate that the $40,000 to $50,000 gel treatments pay out in weeks to months in most instances.

With assistance from the Kansas Geological Survey (KGS) at the University of Kansas, TORP has converted its gel polymer database to an interactive, web-based database that links into KGS's Oracle database. TORP's goal is to document and place on-line the performance of all Arbuckle and related gel polymer treatments pumped in Kansas from approximately 2000 onward.

TORP's objective is to provide an on-line repository of gel polymer treatment and production data that can be used 1) by oil operators to research and evaluate gel polymer treatments that have been pumped in their areas, 2) by individuals (vendors, operators, researchers) to study past treatments in hope of spotting trends, anomalies, etc. that lead to better candidate selection and new treatment ideas, and 3) to promote gel polymer treating in Kansas and other areas of the country.

The interactive Arbuckle Gel Polymer website is accessed through TORP's A quick link called Arbuckle Gel Polymer is provided in the upper right of the TORP homepage. The Arbuckle Gel Polymer website is entered upon clicking the Arbuckle Gel Polymer link.

Tertiary Oil Recovery Project at the University of Kansas, Gel Polymer Treatments
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Updated March 30, 2005; data added periodically.
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