Matrix acidizing is used in carbonate formations to create wormholes that connect the formation to the wellbore. Hydrochloric acid (HCl), organic acids, or mixtures of these acids are typically used in matrix-acidizing treatments of carbonate reservoirs. However, the use of these acids in deep wells has some major drawbacks, including high and uncontrolled reaction rates and corrosion to well tubulars, especially those made of chromium-based tubulars (Cr-13 and duplex steel); and these problems become severe at high temperatures. To overcome problems associated with strong acids, chelating agents were introduced and used in the field. However, major concerns with most of these chemicals are their limited dissolving power and negative environmental impact.

L-glutamic acid diacetic acid (GLDA), a newly developed environmentally friendly chelate, was examined as a replacement for acid treatments in deep oil and gas wells. The solubility of calcium carbonate (CaCO3) in the new chelate was measured over a wide range of parameters. Coreflood tests were conducted using long Indiana limestone cores 1.5 in. in diameter and 20 in. in length, which allowed better understanding of the propagation of this chemical in carbonate rocks. The cores were X-ray scanned before and after the injection of chelate solutions into the cores. The concentration of calcium (Ca) and chelate was measured in the core effluent samples. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to examine the fate and propagation of chelating agents in coreflood studies.

GLDA has a very good ability to dissolve Ca from carbonate rocks over a wide pH range by a combination of acid dissolution and chelation. The addition of 5 wt% sodium chloride (NaCl) did not affect the GLDA performance at pH = 13 but significantly accelerated the reaction at pH = 1.7. Compared with other chelating agents, GLDA dissolved more Ca than ethanoldiglycinic acid (EDG) but less than hydroxyethyl ethylenediamine triacetic acid (HEDTA) at high pH values. GLDA of pH = 1.7 was able to form wormholes at 2 and 3 cm3/min. GLDA was found to be thermally stable at temperatures up to 350°F.

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