Oil exploitation in the Bachaquero field in east Maracaibo Lake has been occurring for more than 50 years. Sandstone is the primary formation type, and nonconsolidated and poorly consolidated sands are common in this field. Complex mineralogy and fines migration have become root causes of production decline and formation damage. This paper describes a comprehensive approach to reservoir characterization that has contributed to the successful stimulation of the sandstone formations in the field.

Chemical stimulation, specifically matrix acidizing with hydrofluoric (HF) acid systems that are customized and tailored to reservoir characteristics, has proven to be effective at enhancing production in this field. The types of clays that are present include kaolinite, illite, smectite, chlorite, and mixed-layer clays; feldspars are also present. An adequate analysis of each well helps to ensure that HF acid dissolves the clays to restore permeability without promoting nonsoluble fluorosilicates precipitation through reactions with aluminosilicates. Variations in mineralogy determine fluid performance and make customized fluid selection necessary. The high presence of feldspars requires more conservative treatments to avoid undesirable precipitations.

Reservoir characterization and fluid tailoring has helped ensure treatment success, but other good practices also have been applied to help achieve production goals. The stimulation treatment design includes pumping formation-conditioning fluids before and after the main acid; using different types of organic solvents to dissolve asphaltene deposits in the well; performing near-wellbore (NWB), hydrochloric (HCl) acid, and HCl/organic acid blend preflushes and post-flushes to treat calcium carbonate and control the pH and iron precipitation in the reservoir; achieving short-term clay inhibition and long-term clay stabilization; and using other fluids, such as relative permeability modifiers (RPMs) for water-control applications and diversion of treatment in laminar reservoirs with petrophysical heterogeneities. All of these combined practices have resulted in successful stimulation of the field.

This paper discusses in detail this comprehensive approach to reservoir characterization applied successfully in wells in the Bachaquero field. The workflow includes candidate analysis, from reservoir description and mineralogy and formation damage mechanism identification to stimulation treatment design, laboratory fluid systems tailoring, placement and diversion techniques, pretreatment operational task fulfillment, field execution, quality control, and post-job evaluation through analysis of records and statistics.

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