Alberta's petroleum industry produces six barrels of water for every barrel of
oil recovered. Handling and disposing of the water costs about $1 billion a
year, making water shut-off one of the industry's biggest challenges.
developed a new technology using swelling clays to improve the economics of
water shut-off. ARC's system mixes clay into a solution to form a slurry, which
is then injected into a reservoir. The slurry spontaneously turns into a clay
gel that plugs the water conduits.
Clay gel is
environmentally friendly and cheaper than commercial chemical gels. The clay gel
system has been tested in field trials with some success. ARC is now working
closely with operators to apply the technology to various reservoirs. In
addition, ARC is parlaying its years of lab and field experience into an
expanded role advising industry members in water shut-off and conformance
Alberta Research Council. Alberta Research Council 1999 Annual Report.
Edmonton: Alberta Research Council, 1999 with permission from the Alberta