Acidizing with Swellable Polymers
- N.F. Carpenter (Dowell Div. Of The Dow Chemical Co.) | E.A. Ernst (Dowell Div. Of The Dow Chemical Co.)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- September 1962
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 1,041 - 1,047
- 1962. Original copyright American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers, Inc. Copyright has expired.
- 2.2.2 Perforating, 3.2.4 Acidising, 1.10 Drilling Equipment, 4.1.2 Separation and Treating, 2.5.2 Fracturing Materials (Fluids, Proppant), 5.1 Reservoir Characterisation, 2.2.3 Fluid Loss Control, 1.8 Formation Damage, 1.6.9 Coring, Fishing, 1.2.3 Rock properties
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The benefits derived from an acidizing treatment are a function of the penetration achieved by the acid before complete spending. Additional penetration may be achieved by (1) controlling acid leak-oft into formation pores in the channel faces, and (2) retarding the reaction rate of the acid. A recently developed chemical additive consists of a synthetic polymeric material which absorbs hydrochloric- acid solutions, when suspended therein, swelling up to 40 times its original volume. These swollen particles have the ability to de form and seal-off formation pores, providing fluid-loss control. In addition, they provide a diffusion barrier between the fracture face and the acid solution, prolonging the spending time of the acid. Field applications of this new technique have shown promising results. A method of conducting acid fluid-loss tests, using carbonate cores, is believed to provide fluid-loss data that are more representative of formation conditions than the conventional filter-paper determinations.
The concept of oilwell acidizing has changed since its first commercial application, 30 years ago. Originally, it was visualized that the acid penetrated thousands of tiny pores and flow channels in the matrix rock, enlarging them by dissolving the carbonate walls. The resultant permeability increase was assumed to be the responsible factor in increasing production from the well. Recent laboratory studies, however, have shown that this does not provide the complete picture. Although this type of individual pore penetration by the acid does take place during acid "soaks", designed to overcome "skin effect" due to mud invasion in the immediate vicinity of the wellbore, many years of experience have shown that considerable pressure is required to attain any appreciable injection rate into the fine capillary pores of the rock. During most acidizing treatments, the bottom-hole pressure build-up due to the restriction of flow into the formation exceeds the "breakdown" pressure of the rock so that a fracture is induced. In most cases, such fractures open up along natural, incipient fissures and zones of weakness in the rock and, therefore, tend to follow the natural stress pattern of the rock-whether it be horizontal, vertical or inclined. Because of the comparatively greater permeability of the channel in relation to that of the matrix, the bulk of the acid volume is diverted into the newly opened fracture. Here it quickly penetrates the formation, opening and extending the fracture in much the same manner as a conventional fracturing fluid. Unlike the fracturing fluid, however, most acidizing solutions contain no propping agent; thus, the open fracture will again close when the injection pressure is relieved. Laboratory studies have shown that in many cases the etching of the fracture faces, resulting from the reaction between the acidizing solution and the carbonate rock, is nonuniform due to the heterogeneity of the rock structure. As a result, the two fracture faces no longer match when pressure is released, and support pillars and intermediate voids remain, forming a high-conductivity channel for well fluids. Unfortunately, this is not true over the entire area of the fracture, but only over that portion of the fracture where the rock has been partially dissolved by the acid. The acid solution spends as its travels away from the wellbore; once it has completely spent, even though it may provide additional mechanical fracture extension, no additional benefit due to etching of fracture faces can be expected. Studies of acid reaction rates under formation conditions, observing the effect of different variables upon spending time, have shown that the reaction was often so rapid that very little penetration of the formation occurred before the acid was spent. Study was undertaken to devise methods of increasing the penetration of the acid before spending, so as to provide greater benefit from the acidizing treatment by etching a greater portion of the fracture faces. Several techniques were devised to accomplish this purpose. First, chemical additives were developed which were designed to retard the reaction rate of the acid, causing it to penetrate a greater distance from the wellbore before finally becoming spent. Another method was to increase the injection rate of the acid. However, it was found that the resultant increased shear tended to accelerate the reaction rate of the acid, partially offsetting the benefits of the higher injection rate insofar as achieving increased penetration before spending was concerned. Another approach to the problem of achieving increased penetration was the development of fluid-loss additives for acid solutions, which would minimize the volume of acid lost into formation pores in the fracture faces and provide maximum fracture extension for the volume of acid injected during the treatment. The use of fluid-loss additives is now considered the most effective method of providing maximum fracturing-fluid efficiency. Unfortunately, this latter technique does not solve the problem of rapid reaction rate, with consequent limitation of the fracture area benefited by reaction with unspent acid.
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