Well stimulation with acid has from its conception in 1895, been conducted almost as a black art. Through the years, many developments have helped to make it more of a science.

In just the last few years, research reported from several areas has advanced the science of acidizing perhaps more than all the previous years combined.

A summary of the significant advances will be given with a look towards needs for better stimulation in the future.


Thirty thousand years ago, the lamps of the world flickered on when cavemen started making drawings on the wall of caves during the paleolithic period, possibly as part of a religious ceremony to ensure better hunts.

Animal oil and vegetable oil provided most of the fuel for lamps until the 1800's at which time a shortage of whale oil sent people scurrying to find a new source of oil to light the world.

Coal oil was substituted for the whale oil until petroleum was found to be a cheaper source of oil for lamps. Although crude petroleum had been used for thousands of years primarily for medicinal purposes, it was either skimmed from oil seeps or from wells drilled or dug Ear salt or fresh water.

The first wells on the North American Continent dug intentionally to produce petroleum, were in Lambton County, Ontario, Canada. In about 1855, Charles Tripp started digging the wells and by 1858 James Miller Williams was exploiting the oil produced This oil production was reported in the Sarnia Observer on August 26, 1858.

Col. Drake drilled his well at Titusville, Pennsylvania, about one year later and struck oil on August 29, 1859. Within a few years, it was obvious that a new industry had been born.

Production of crude oil has continued to increase from that day to this. One of the major contributions to increased production of both existing wells and new wells was made by Herman Frasch, the inventor of acidizing.

On October 10, 1895, the Oil City, Pa Derrick gave a glowing report of what is thought to be the first acid treatment of an oil well.

Only a few wells were acidized at this time and not until 33 years later in 1928, did the Gypsy Oil Co., a division of Gulf, use inhibited hydrochloric acid for scale removal in oil wells. Three years later, in December, 1931, W. A. Thomas, an employee of Pure Oil Co., independent of prior art, decided that hydrochloric acid could be used to stimulate oil wells producing from limestone formations" Grebe & Poffenberger with Dow Chemical Co. had previously stimulated injection and brine wells with acid and worked with Pure on their oil wells. In February, 1932, Pure Oil Co. successfully treated their first well.

In June, 1932, The Oil Makers Company was organized in Michigan. Between 1932 and 1935, a number of oil well acidizing companies were formed, several of which are still in business. From that time until today, acidizing has been a major stimulation tool for calcareous formations.

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