Viscoelastic surfactant (VES) based self-diverting acid system has been developed for better matrix treatment of carbonate formations. Literature survey indicates that the highly viscous fluid acts as a temporary barrier to reduce further fluid loss into the wormholes and allows complete stimulation of all treating zones. After acid treatment, the viscous fluid is broken by either formation hydrocarbons or pre-flush fluids. However, recent lab work confirmed that a significant amount of surfactant was retained inside the core even when mutual solvent was used. The present study was conducted to better understand these acid systems and determine factors that impact their viscosity build-up and performance inside the carbonate formations.

A series of coreflood tests were conducted using carbonate cores at different injection rates. Propagation of the acid, surfactant, and reaction products inside the cores was examined in detail. Samples of the core effluent were collected and the concentrations of calcium, surfactant, and acid were measured. Permeability enhancement and location of any precipitation was detected using CT scanner to the core before and after the acid injection. Material balance was conducted to determine the amount of surfactant that retained in the core.

Experimental results show that VES acid was not able to buildup pressure drop across the core when it was injected inside 70 md permeability cores at various acid concentrations and injection rates when only one fourth pore volumes was injected. At high concentration of HCl, Calcium and the surfactant propagated with the same velocity. When low concentration of HCl was employed, Calcium propagated faster. Surfactant retention is higher when the acid concentration and the injection rate were lower. This number could be up to 100%. CT scan confirmed only small and short wormhole branches at the area near the inlet and one wormhole dominated till the end with a decreasing diameter. Reaction rate and extension of wormhole decreased when lower concentration HCl was used and injected at a higher rate.

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