Abstract

The new method to assess permeability damage in geothermal reservoirs and predict well productivity decline is presented. The laboratory methodology developed aims to determine permeability decline from mobilisation, migration and straining of natural reservoir fines. Laboratory coreflood testing with constant and stepwise decreasing ionic strength has been performed with measurements of the pressure drop along the core and accumulated effluent particle concentration. Stabilisation of rock permeability occurs after injection of numerous pore volumes, suggesting slow drift of mobilised particles if compared with the carrier water velocity. Low ionic strength water increases electrostatic repulsion forces between clay particles and sand grain surfaces, further mobilising particles and resulting in formation damage. Kaolinite and illite/chlorite mixed layer clay minerals are identified by SEM-EDAX analysis and are the minerals primarily responsible for the permeability damage. The competitive effects of decreasing water viscosity and weakening electrostatic attraction on the attached particle concentration during temperature increase have been observed. The micro-modeling of the fine particle mechanical equilibrium shows that the water viscosity effect on the fine particle attachment dominates. It results in decreased fines detachment and permeability decline at high temperatures.

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