Acid stimulation of horizontal wellbores in high temperature and/or low permeability formations is complicated due to the need to balance acid reaction rates with the rate of formation penetration. At high bottom hole temperatures, uncontrolled acid spending rates result in inefficient or even damaging treatments. It is advantageous to add materials which slow the reaction of HCl or use alternative acids which are useful as alternative stimulation fluids, such as organic acids and chelants due to their inherently lower reaction rates. The slower reaction rate with carbonate minerals allows for optimal wormhole growth at the limited rates available in long horizontals. This study investigates the complementary use of acid or chelant systems together with a microemulsion delivery system to achieve the desired performance. These delivery systems can significantly increase the efficiency of HCl and chelant stimulation treatments of low-permeability carbonates by optimizing diffusivity and minimizing pressure to cleanup.
Horizontal core flow experiments were conducted by injecting solutions of 15 wt% HCl and 10–20 wt% alternative acids through low permeability (< 10 md) limestone cores. High permeability cores were also investigated by injecting 15 wt% HCl through high permeability (150–200 md) Indiana limestone cores. These experiments were conducted with and without the addition of a microemulsion additive and at core injection rates from 0.2 – 20 cm3/min corresponding to 0.25 to 5 BPM per 100 ft of a horizontal wellbore.
Significant performance advantages were found with the addition of the microemulsion delivery system. The treatment volume required for wormholes to propagate the length of the test core was reduced at all flow rates at or above the optimum rate. Core penetration was more efficient when using the microemulsion, without an increase in pumping pressure. Initiation and extension of wormholes was improved, as compared to the experiments without the microemulsion, in which more conical wormholes tended to form at the inlet face. The reduction in treatment volume necessary to reach breakthrough with the microemulsion present also suggested a more efficient treatment.
The complementary use of a microemulsion delivery system with acids and chelants has been shown to enhance acid stimulation treatment potential in long horizontal wellbores with high temperature or low permeability formations. This system can be used to optimize wormhole penetration while maintaining an optimum injection rate across long horizontal intervals where the maximum achievable injection rate is relatively low.