Hybrid engineered water-polymer flooding in carbonates: A review of mechanisms and case studies

Mariam Shakeel, Peyman Pourafshary, Muhammad Rehan Hashmet

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


The fast depletion of oil reserves has steered the petroleum industry towards developing novel and cost-effective enhanced oil recovery (EOR) techniques in order to get the most out of reservoirs. Engineered water-polymer flooding (EWPF) is an emerging hybrid EOR technology that uses the synergetic effects of engineered water (EW) and polymers to enhance both the microscopic and macroscopic sweep efficiencies, which mainly results from: (1) the low-salinity effect and the presence of active ions in EW, which help in detachment of carboxylic oil material from the rock surface, wettability alteration, and reduction in the residual oil saturation; (2) the favorable mobility ratio resulting from the use of a polymer; and (3) the improved thermal and salinity resistance of polymers in EW. Various underlying mechanisms have been proposed in the literature for EW EOR effects in carbonates, but the main driving factors still need to be understood properly. Both polymer flooding (PF) and EW have associated merits and demerits. However, the demerits of each can be overcome by combining the two methods, known as hybrid EWPF. This hybrid technique has been experimentally investigated for both sandstone and carbonate reservoirs by various researchers. Most of the studies have shown the synergistic benefits of the hybrid method in terms of two- to four-fold decreases in the polymer adsorption, leading to 30-50% reductions in polymer consumption, making the project economically viable for carbonates. EWPF has resulted in 20-30% extra oil recovery in various carbonate coreflood experiments compared to high-salinity water flooding. This review presents insights into the use of hybrid EWPF for carbonates, the main recovery driving factors in the hybrid process, the advantages and limitations of this method, and some areas requiring further work.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6087
JournalApplied Sciences (Switzerland)
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2020


  • Carbonates
  • Hybrid engineered water
  • Interfacial tension
  • Low salinity
  • Mobility ratio
  • Polymer
  • Surfactant
  • Wettability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Instrumentation
  • General Engineering
  • Process Chemistry and Technology
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


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