With the expanding offshore rig activity in United Arab Emirates leading to an increased number of horizontal wells and longer drains, coupled with changing rock fabrics, it became imperative to diverge from the existing stimulation methods to deliver more consistent and reliable results. These results were achieved via the introduction of single-phase retarded acid (SPRA) and viscoelastic diverting acid (VEDA) to both active and shut-in wells offshore.
The introduction of SPRA and VEDA was possible after extensive laboratory testing including core flow tests, solubility tests, emulsion tendency testing, and corrosion inhibition tests to evaluate and benchmark the performance of these blends in comparison to the existing acid recipes such as plain HCl and polymer-based diverted acid. These tests showed that a combination of SPRA and VEDA would allow maximizing lateral coverage and enhance acid penetration due to the reduced rate of reaction and chemical diversion capabilities from thief zones.
Combining the introduction of SPRA and VEDA with a shift to bullheading and higher pumping rates enabled the delivery of previously unachievable production results at sustainable wellhead pressures or even well revival of shut-in wells. In addition, reduction of acid content for dolomite stimulation was possible due to the implementation of acid retardation, which also allowed protecting wellheads from exposure to higher acid concentrations while bullheading. Treatment parameters such as volumes, rates, and acid/diverter sequence and ratio were then adjusted for optimal wormhole penetration across all zones using a new carbonate matrix acidizing modeling software.
Post-treatment evaluation for the cases of previously shut-in wells has proven the success of the SPRA and VEDA combination. Shut-in wells that were unable to produce sustainably at the required tubing-head pressure (production flowline pressure), were able to produce sustainably with a 100% increase in production compared to prestimulation testing. Similarly, for gas wells, the combination of SPRA and VEDA resulted in a 50% increase in production at a similar bottomhole pressure. In addition, water injectors have also exhibited sustainably increased levels of injectivity compared to prestimulation levels, leading to better sweepage.
The novelty of this paper is the comparison between historical carbonate stimulation results in UAE using plain HCl acid with polymer-based diverted acid and using SPRA with VEDA. It also sheds light on the game-changing solutions that suit the ever-increasing challenges observed in offshore oil and gas wells including well placement, lithology, permeability contrast, and type of hydrocarbon within the various target sublayers.