Effect of Pressure Drawdown on Clean-Up of Clay- or Silt-Blocked Sandstone
- R.G. Krueger (Union Oil Co. Of California)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- March 1967
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 397 - 403
- 1967. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 2 Well Completion, 4.3.4 Scale, 1.6 Drilling Operations, 5.1 Reservoir Characterisation, 4.1.2 Separation and Treating, 5.1.1 Exploration, Development, Structural Geology, 6.3.6 Chemical Storage and Use, 4.1.5 Processing Equipment, 5.2 Reservoir Fluid Dynamics, 1.11 Drilling Fluids and Materials, 1.8 Formation Damage, 3 Production and Well Operations, 2.4.3 Sand/Solids Control, 4.3.1 Hydrates, 1.6.9 Coring, Fishing
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Previous studies have shown that the permeabilities of sandstone cores are markedly reduced following exposure to drilling fluid and subsequent clean-up with oil at high-pressure gradients. Laboratory experiments reported in this paper indicate that permeability damage from drilling mud or water can be substantially avoided through use of an initial low-pressure gradient followed by gradually increasing gradients during clean-up by reverse oil flow. On the other hand, attempts to improve the permeability of damaged Berea and oil formation cores with high-rate oil back flush (simulated well stimulation) and low-rate clean-up gave erratic results. Essentially complete permeability repair was achieved in most of the fresh water-damaged cores from Miocene and Pliocene oil-producing formations; only minor improvement was noted generally in tests with both water- and mud-damaged Berea sandstone. Field well stimulation treatments using high-rate backflush resulted in long-term productivity improvement when production was brought in at gradually increasing production rates and then restricted to a steady value less than the maximum possible rate. Wellbore plugging at high production rates correlated with increasing solids content in the produced oil. Observations and results from these tests agree with current concepts that formation damage in water-sensitive rocks results from movement and bridging of formation fines, rather than from clay swelling alone.
Many laboratory studies's have shown that the permeabilities of sandstone cores are often markedly reduced following exposure to fresh water or water-base drilling mud filtrate. However, work with cores in the restored state has demonstrated that, although permeabilities to water may be very low for sandstones containing hydratable clays, flow of oil can often restore a substantial portion of the effective permeabilities to oil. Nevertheless, water invasion into water-sensitive sandstone cores results in varying degrees of permanent reduction in permeability to oil. Based on field data, Wade's statistical studs of well completion effectiveness also indicated a correlation between productivity damage and water invasion during completion. Similar damage can result from fluid invasion during workover. Nowak and Krueger and Bertness observed in their early work (1951-53) that formation damage in water-sensitive sandstones was associated not only with swelling of expandable clays but also with movement of dispersed particles. Subsequent work by Monaghan et al. (1959), Atwood (1964), Mungan (1965) and Gray and Rex (1965) has led to general acceptance of the hypothesis that permeability damage in water-sensitive formations is caused by migration of finely dispersed minerals and bridging in "brush heap" arrangements at pore constructions. In laboratory studies, Monaghan et al. found the use of chemicals to be of only minor value for repairing formation damage. Atwood, however, was successful in substantially repairing damage in a number of low-permeability cores using an n-hexanol flush. In the field, except for treatments with acids, the use of chemical washes to reduce wellbore damage has had limited and sporadic success and generally is unpredictable. A statistical analysis of stimulation treatments in silt-blocked wells has shown that physical manipulation of wash materials is more important than chemical composition. The recent work reported on formation damage in water-sensitive sands brings to mind the results of some unpublished exploratory work done in 1954 in connection with drilling fluid studies. This laboratory work and subsequent field stimulation treatments indicated a beneficial effect of controlled pressure drawdown and the associated production rate on formation clean-up. This paper reports the results of this work and more recent supplemental experiments on the clean-up of water-sensitive sandstones damaged by water or filtrate invasion.
PERMEABILITY RECOVERY AFAR DAMAGE BY DRILLING MUD
APPARATUS AND TEST SAMPLES
A drilling mud circulating system was used to expose cores to simulated wellbore conditions.
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