Review on polymer flooding: Rheology, adsorption, stability, and field applications of various polymer systems

Muhammad Shahzad Kamal, Abdullah S. Sultan, Usamah A. Al-Mubaiyedh, Ibnelwaleed A. Hussein*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

308 Scopus citations


Polymer flooding is one of the most promising techniques for the recovery of remaining oil from light oil reservoirs. Water soluble polymers are used to enhance the viscosity of displacing fluid and to improve the sweep efficiency. In this paper, water soluble polymers used for chemical enhanced oil recovery are reviewed. Conventional and novel modified polymers are discussed along with their limitations. The review covers thermal stability, rheology, and adsorption behavior of various polymer systems in sandstone and carbonate reservoirs. Field and laboratory core flooding data of several polymers are covered. The review describes the polymer systems that are successfully applied in low-temperature and low-salinity reservoirs. Comprehensive review of current research activities aiming at extending polymer flooding to high-temperature and high-salinity reservoirs is performed. The review has identified current and future challenges of polymer flooding.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)491-530
Number of pages40
JournalPolymer Reviews
Issue number3
StatePublished - 3 Jul 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Copyright © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


  • Polymer flooding
  • adsorption
  • enhanced oil recovery
  • rheology
  • thermal stability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • General Chemistry
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Materials Chemistry
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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