The damaging effect of calcium sulfate precipitation on the permeability of carbonate cores when mixing hydrochloric acid with seawater for matrix acid treatments has been identified in our recent work (SPE 143855). The objective of this work is to mitigate calcium sulfate precipitation by using a suitable scale inhibitor in hydrochloric acid. Another objective is to determine the scale inhibitor type, concentration, and whether it is needed in the preflush or post-flush stages.

Core flood tests were conducted using Austin Chalk cores(1.5 in. × 6 in.) with a permeability of 5 md, to investigate the effectiveness of scale inhibitor. A synthetic seawater was prepared according to the composition of seawater in the Arabian Gulf. Calcium, sulfate ions, and scale inhibitor concentrations were analyzed in the core effluent samples. The minimum concentration of scale inhibitor was determined over a wide range of temperatures (77 to 210°F).

A scale inhibitor (sulfonated terpolymer) was found to be compatible with hydrochloric acid systems, and can tolerate high concentrations of calcium (30,000 mg/l). Analysis of the core effluent indicated that the new treatment successfully eliminated calcium sulfate scale deposition. The concentration of scale inhibitor ranged from 20 to 250 ppm, depending on the scaling tendencies of calcium sulfate. This work confirms that an appropriate scale inhibitor can be added to acid, to avoid calcium sulfate precipitation when seawater is used to prepare hydrochloric acid for matrix acidizing.

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