New insights into guar gum as environmentally friendly polymer for enhanced oil recovery in high-salinity and high-temperature sandstone reservoirs

Tagwa A. Musa, Ahmed F. Ibrahim, Hisham A. Nasr-El-Din, Anas M. Hassan

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Chemical enhanced oil recovery (EOR) processes are usually used as additives for hydrocarbon production due to its simplicity and relatively reasonable additional production costs. Polymer flooding uses polymer solutions to increase oil recovery by decreasing the water/oil mobility ratio by increasing the viscosity of the displacing water. The commonly used synthetic water-soluble polymer in EOR application is partially hydrolyzed polyacrylamide (HPAM). However, synthetic polymers in general are not attractive because of high cost, environmental concerns, limitation in high temperature, and high-salinity environment. Guar gum is an environmentally friendly natural water-soluble polymer available in large quantities in many countries and widely used in various applications in the oil and gas industry especially in drilling fluids and hydraulic fracturing operations; however, very limited studies investigated on guar as a polymer for EOR and no any study investigated on its uses in high-temperature and high -salinity reservoirs. The objective of this study is to confirm the use of guar gum as a natural polymer for EOR applications in sandstone reservoirs and investigate its applicability for high-temperature and high-salinity reservoirs. The study experimentally investigated rheological characteristics of a natural polymer obtained from guar gum with consideration of high temperature (up to 210 °F) and high salinity (up to 20% NaCl) and tested the guar solution as EOR polymer. The results of this study show that the guar solution can be used as an environmentally friendly polymer to enhance oil recovery. Based on the results, it can be concluded that guar gum shows shear-thinning behavior and strongly susceptible to microbial degradation but also shows a very good properties stability in high temperature and salinity, where in low shear rate case, about 100 cp viscosity can be achieved at 210 °F for polymer prepared in deionized water. Guar polymer shows good viscosity in the presence of 20% NaCl where the viscosity is acceptable for temperature less than 190 °F. Also, the flooding experiment shows that the recovery factor can be increased by 16%.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1905-1913
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Petroleum Exploration and Production
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Chemical EOR (chemical EOR)
  • Guar gum
  • High salinity
  • High temperature
  • Polymer-flooding
  • Sandstone reservoirs


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