Many oil wells in the Permian Basin have reported sludging problems associated with acid stimulations. The acid sludge is similar among wells and was identified as a viscous emulsion stabilized by asphaltene-rich organic solids. The sludging tendency of the oil increased with the concentrations of asphaltenes and resins, base number of the oil, and ferric ion content in the acid. Only three out of nine commercial acid systems tested were effective in preventing acid sludge formation; they all utilize the same novel iron control technology, i.e., catalytic reduction of ferric ions. Several commercial and generic solvent systems were effective in dissolving acid sludge, including mixtures of an aromatic solvent (e.g. xylene) with either isopropyl alcohol (2:1 volume ratio) or EGMBE (2:1 to 3:1 volume ratios). Selection of acid formulations and solvent systems was based on cost effectiveness and operation safety. Field implementation proved successful. If the results of this study had been implemented earlier in the lives of some of the Permian Basin properties, the recovery of 574 BOPD of lost or deferred production from 99 wells could have been realized. This would have resulted in an estimated increased revenue of over $3 million in one year.

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