An Improved Acid for Calcium Sulfate-Bearing Formations
- Peggy M. Dunlap (Socony Mobil Field Research Laboratory) | John S. Hegwer (Mobil Oil of Canada Ltd.)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- January 1960
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 67 - 70
- 1960. Original copyright American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers, Inc. Copyright has expired.
- 4.2.3 Materials and Corrosion, 2 Well Completion, 2.2.2 Perforating, 4.1.2 Separation and Treating, 3 Production and Well Operations, 4.1.5 Processing Equipment, 3.2.4 Acidising
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An improved acid for the treatment of sulfate-containing limestones and dolomites is described. The acid is designed to reduce the reprecipitation of dissolved calcium sulfate and the possibility of plugging permeable flow channels. In addition, this improved acid has a much lower reaction rate than that of regular acid; the advantages of a "retarded" acid are obtainable.
Field testing of the acid has shown it suitable for use in sulfate-containing formations. Substantial improvements in productivity generally resulted.
Acid treatments of limestones, dolomites and other formations bearing carbonate deposits are frequently unsuccessful when the calcareous formation contains sulfate, either as anhydrite (CaSO4) or gypsum (CaSO4 2H2O). Preliminary dissolution in acid followed by redeposition of calcium sulfate appears to be a major factor contributing to poor well performance after acidizing. The precipitate is usually the gypsum form of calcium sulfate, but in higher temperature formations it may be anhydrite. The freshly precipitated crystals are nearly always very small and needlelike. They may occupy a gross volume many times that of the original anhydrite crystals and will obviously constitute an impediment to flow through newly enlarged flow channels.
It is believed that the redeposition problem is most severe when anhydrite lines the fracture systems and large pores which supply the effective permeability of a formation. Microscopic inclusions of calcium sulfate also present large sulfate surface areas for dissolution in acid. In either case, great amounts of calcium sulfate may dissolve before the acid can be spent on formation carbonates. For regular spent acid (originally 15 per cent hydrochloric acid) the precipitate could be as much as 270 lb gypsum/1000 gal acid.
Two techniques have been applied by the industry for reducing sulfate plugging during acidizing. The method commonly employed in the field is the attempted removal of a quantity of regular treating acid before it has reacted completely with the formation. This is practiced because the solubility of calcium sulfate is greater in a solution that is still acidic than in one which has been largely spent on the formation rock. The chance of precipitative plugging is therefore reduced if the withdrawal is successful. However, it is often impossible to get the acid out of the formation before precipitation occurs.
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