Insights into oil recovery mechanism by Nothing-Alternating-Polymer (NAP) concept

M. Battashi, R. Farajzadeh*, A. Bimani, M. Al Abri, R. Mjeni, V. Karpan, A. Fadili, J. van Wunnik

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
60 Downloads (Pure)


This paper introduces new oil recovery mechanisms for oil recovery by polymer injection in heavy oil reservoirs with strong bottom aquifers. Due to unfavorable mobility ratio between aquifer water and oil and the development of the sharp cones significant amount of oil remains unswept. To overcome these issues, for the case demonstrated in this paper, a polymer injection pilot was executed with three horizontal injectors, located a few meters above the oil/water contact. The injectivity issues resulted in frequent shutdowns of the injectors. Interestingly, the water cut reversal and oil gain continued during the shut-in periods. This observation has led to the development of a new cyclic polymer injection strategy, in which the injection of polymer is alternated with intentional well shut-ins. The strategy is referred to as Nothing-Alternating-Polymer (NAP). It was found that during polymer injection, the oil is recovered by conventional mobility and sweep enhancement mechanisms ahead of the polymer front. Additionally, during this stage the injected polymer squeezes the existing cones and creates a barrier between the aquifer and the oil column, suppressing the aquifer flux and hence the negative effect of the cones or water channels (blanketing mechanism). Moreover, injection of polymer pushes the oil to the depleted water cones, which is then produced by the water coming from the aquifer during shut-in period (recharge mechanism). During the shut-in or NAP period, the aquifer water also pushes the existing polymer bank and hence leads to extra oil production. The resistance caused by polymer adsorption reduces the extent of fingering of water into polymer bank. The NAP strategy reduces polymer loss into aquifer and improves the polymer utilization factor expressed in kg-polymer/bbl of oil, resulting in a favorable economic outcome.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110114
JournalJournal of Petroleum Science and Engineering
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Chemical EOR
  • Enhanced oil recovery
  • NAP
  • Nothing alternating polymer
  • Polymer injection
  • Strong aquifer


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