It is well known that the use of hydrochloric acid to clean up and restore permeability of open holes drilled in limestone formations is a questionable procedure. It is necessary to remove, not only the filter cake at the well bore face but, more importantly, the low permeability crushed zone created during the drilling operation. To achieve uniform treatment of the entire openhole section with hydrochloric acid is difficult: the rapid reaction of the acid in downhole conditions often creates a localized loss zone, through which most of the treating fluid is lost so that treatment of the entire section is inefficient.

Traditional completion practice on Al Khalij field (Qatar) involved cemented casing, perforations and subsequent stimulation of the limestone with retarded emulsified hydrochloric acid and ball sealers. This paper describes a new and different approach, which involves leaving drains in openhole condition and using a slow acting stimulation treatment for damage removal and stimulation. The stimulation treatment comprises a starch enzyme to degrade the most troublesome polymer and an organic compound that reacts with the carrier brine to release organic acid in situ over a period of several hours. The breaker fluid is introduced to the openhole section in a neutral pH condition, thus enabling it to be distributed over the entire interval of interest. Enough acid is generated over the subsequent 12 hours to remove the filter cake and clean up the crushed zone.

This system has recently been used on several occasions on this field, with openhole drain length ranging from 530 to 1890 m (1,740 to 6,200 ft) and treatment volumes ranging from 20 to 115 m3 (125 to 725 bbl). Losses from these wells occurred after the predicted elapsed time. Details are provided of how the jobs were carried out and the results achieved.

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