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Researchers find Milne Point polymer injection

The researchers are studying the effectiveness of polymer injection for enhanced heavy oil recovery in the Milne Point field on Alaska’s North Slope is verifying significant benefits from the use of this injection technique. This project is led by the University of Alaska Fairbanks and includes a $9.7 million project, primarily funded through a $7.1 million grant from the U.S. The Department of Energy. This also involves the Milne Point operator Hilcorp Alaska, New Mexico Tech, Missouri S&T, and the University of North Dakota.

Abhijit Dandekar, professor, and chair of petroleum engineering at UAF said that it is a great example of government, academia, and industry collaboration. The Hilcorp has been implementing polymer injection at several good pads in the Milne Point field, to improve the production of heavy oil from the Schrader Bluff formation. The research project uses a four-well configuration, the two horizontal production wells and two horizontal injection wells which are located at the Milne Point J pad, to evaluate the characteristics of the injection technique.

The research includes building a reservoir model for designing the field tests and forecasting production results. These wells already in existence, operating using a waterflood oil production technique, have presented a major benefit for the project. He also added that there is an opportunity to try out injecting polymers.

This project began in June 2018 and is scheduled to run to the end of September 2022. The results indicate that polymer injection has increased oil production while also causing major reductions in the water cut from the production wells. The team also reported that the polymer injection technique could be as much as double Schrader Bluff oil production, relative to the use of waterflood.

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