The Effect of Flow on Acid Reactivity in a Carbonate Fracture
- A.N. Barron (Dowell Div. Of The Dow Chemical Co.) | A.R. Hendrickson (Dowell Div. Of The Dow Chemical Co.) | D.R. Wieland (U. Of Tulsa)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- April 1962
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 409 - 415
- 1962. Original copyright American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers, Inc. Copyright has expired.
- 5.5.11 Formation Testing (e.g., Wireline, LWD), 3.2.4 Acidising, 3.2.3 Hydraulic Fracturing Design, Implementation and Optimisation, 4.2.3 Materials and Corrosion, 5.8.7 Carbonate Reservoir, 4.1.2 Separation and Treating, 1.6.9 Coring, Fishing
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A definite relationship has been found between the reactivity of flowing hydrochloric acid and its shear rate in a carbonate fracture. Both flow velocity and fracture width affect the acid reaction rate. Laboratory studies were conducted on acid reactivity at different flow velocities through horizontal-linear fractures, using 15 per cent hydrochloric acid at 80F and approximately 1,100 psi. Fracture width varied from 0.02 to 0.20 in. These data provide a new basis from which the spending time and penetration of the acid can be estimated. Equations were derived expressing the relationship between injection rate, fracture width, acid concentration, time and fracture height, for linear and radial fracture systems. Because the penetration of the acid before spending is closely related to the extent of productivity increase resulting from an acidizing treatment, these data provide a valuable insight into some of the controlling factors that must be taken into consideration during treatment preplanning.
Acidizing of carbonate reservoirs to improve production characteristics has been widely practiced since 1932. Originally, it was assumed that the acid uniformly penetrated natural formation pores and flow channels, enlarging them and thereby increasing their flow capacity. Little consideration was given to the reaction rate of the acid, or how far it would penetrate away from the wellbore into the formation, before spending. It has been shown recently that, unless fractures are present in the rock, very little penetration is attained before spending, and the benefits of the acidizing treatment are largely confined to the immediate vicinity of the wellbore. Therefore, acid treatments may be classified into two categories: (1) matrix acidizing, in which the acid flows through multiple formation pores; and (2) fracture acidizing, in which the bulk of the acid travels through fractures in the rock, whether natural or induced. When acidizing treatments are conducted at pressures of sufficient magnitude to open and extend such fractures, it is often desirable to inject a propping agent to hold the fracture open after the treating pressure has been released, thus providing a highly conductive flow channel through the rock. In some cases where acid attack produces surface irregularities, the resulting flow passages can be sufficient to provide high conductivity without use of a propping agent. During injection, the acid dissolves the carbonate rock with which it comes in contact until it is spent. Deeper penetration of the spent acid into the formation produces no appreciable benefit (if no propping agent is used) because the unetched fracture faces will rejoin when treating pressures are released and the fracture will "heal", with negligible resultant conductivity. The spending time of the acid thus becomes important in determining how far from the wellbore the improved- conductivity zone extends. The spending time of acid after injection into carbonate rock depends on the rate at which the acid reacts with the rock. This in turn is controlled by a number of factors, as previously reported. These include temperature, pressure, acid concentration, rock composition, injection rate and the area-volume relationship between the acid solution volume and the surface area of the formation flow channels through which it penetrates. Thus, in matrix acidizing, where an extremely large area is exposed to the acid, spending is rapid. In contrast, spending time is prolonged in open fractures, where the area-volume ratio is much lower. Thus, greatest penetration of the acid before spending will be achieved in acid-fracturing treatments where fractures are held open by hydraulic pressure. Perkins and Kern have presented equations for fracture-width determinations which, for hard formations such as limestone or dolomite, indicate that high injection rates and viscous fluids are required to create wide fractures. Increasing the injection rate will, in itself, produce faster reaction rates. Because this type of reaction can be considered to be first-order diffusion-controlled, the rate of movement of fluid past the rock surface affects the thickness of the diffusion layer, in turn affecting the reaction rate. Staudt, et al, report the results of tests in which a rotating marble cylinder was immersed in acid, and the weight loss at different speeds determined. Such test conditions, however, are not truly indicative of the situation in a formation during an acid-fracturing treatment.
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