Mexico, the world's fourth largest producer of geothermal energy, generates 965 MW of electricity. One field alone produces 195 MW. However, to maximize the steam production of geothermal wells it is often necessary to perform matrix stimulation treatments. The temperature and mineralogy of the naturally fractured volcanic formations and scales tendency present some unique challenges.
The potential of many geothermal wells is limited by formation damage. Drilling fluid invasion, fines migration, silica plugging, and scaling being the most common. Mineral scale deposition occurs in the wellbore or in the natural fractures through which water is either injected or produced. In producing wells, the composition of scale is dependent on the mineralogy of the metamorphic formation. In injection wells, the scale is dependent on the composition of the injected water. With limited information regarding the mineralogy of the scale and the formation, many conventional matrix treatments are unsuccessful.
A hybrid design methodology, combining sandstone and carbonate acidizing techniques has proved to be the first step to successfully treating Mexico's and Central America's geothermal wells The treatments are then further customized for each field to optimize productivity and injectivity. The final fluid composition is often very different from that used in conventional treatments due to different selection criteria and placement techniques.
Identifying and understanding this concept has helped producers in Mexico and Central America increase their energy production per well by an average of 65%. While in some cases energy production has increased 300%.
The hybrid design methodology has been successfully used to stimulate more than 50 geothermal wells in Mexico and Central America - Humeros (Puebla), Tres Virgenes (Baja California), Azufre's (Michoacan), Berlin (El Salvador) and San Jacinto (Nicaragua). The results of these campaigns demonstrate that it is possible to consistently improve the productivity of geothermal wells through the correct treatment.