Hydrofluoric Acid Stimulation of Sandstone Reservoirs
- C.F. Smith (Dowell Div. Of Dow Chemical Co.) | A.R. Hendrickson (Dowell Div. Of Dow Chemical Co.)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- February 1965
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 215 - 222
- 1965. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 12 in the last 30 days
- 1,221 since 2007
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Hydrofluoric-hydrochloric acid mixtures have been successfully used to stimulate sandstone reservoirs for a number of years. Hydrofluoric acid (HF) has a specific reactivity with silica which makes it more effective than HC1 for use in sandstone. Kinetics of the reactions of HF have been studied to determine the related effects of reservoir composition, temperature, acid concentration and pressure on the spending rate of HF. Secondary effects from by-product formation are noted and described. Predictions are made concerning the improvement in productivity resulting from HF treatment of skin damage. The kinetic order of HF reaction in sandstone was experimentally determined to be first order, i.e., the reaction rate is proportional to concentration. HF reacts faster on calcite than on clay, which, in turn, is faster than the reaction rate of HF on sand. Static conditions retard the HF reaction rate. As HF is forced into cores, there is a temporary reduction as a function of flow rate and acid concentration. Extensive deposition of calcium fluoride in acidized cores was not observed. Although some CaF, was detected, it was not considered a major source of damage in cores containing moderate amounts of carbonate. Other fluosilicates could be potentially more dangerous than CaF, in reducing permeability.
Hydrofluoric acid has been widely used in stimulation treatments since 1935, when mud acid was introduced to the petroleum industry. Originally, this hydrochloric-hydrofluoric acid mixture was intended to remove mud filter cake, but it has since been successfully applied to many other oilfield problems. Mud acid treatments have been unusually successful in sandstone reservoirs where hydrochloric acid is unreactive due to a lack of enough calcite in the formation. The relatively small amount of hydrofluoric acid present (2.1 per cent) reacts with sand grains, clays and traces of calcite which are generally present in sandstone reservoirs. Since hydrofluoric acid (HF) is the key to mud acid success, this research effort has been dedicated to gaining a more thorough understanding of the basic chemical and physical principles involved as HF reacts. Hydrofluoric acid's reactivity with silica makes it unique in application. Other mineral acids such as hydrochloric, sulfuric or nitric are unreactive with most silicious materials which comprise sandstone formations. A typical sandstone reservoir may contain 50 to 85 per cent silicon dioxide, more commonly called sand or quartz. Hydrofluoric acid reacts as follows:
4HF + SiO2 ->SiF4 + 2H2O
The silicon tetrafluoride (SiF4) is a soluble gas, in some ways similar to CO2, and is capable of undergoing further reaction when held in solution by pressure. These reactions will be considered in detail later. Kinetics of the reactions of HF have been studied to determine the effect of reservoir composition, temperature and pressure on the spending of the acid. Secondary effects from by-product formation have been noted and described. The individual reactions of HF on quartz, glass and clay are reported. Mathematical correlations have been drawn, then applied to studies of HF spending in cores obtained from actual producing sandstone formations. The research reported herein is only the beginning of a continuing approach to better understanding and use of HF in petroleum reservoirs.
THEORY AND DEFINITIONS
Through the years, a concentrated effort has been made to understand the effects of many variables on hydrochloric acid (HC1) spending in limestone. Hendrickson et al., have given mathematical relationships for HC1 reactions which made possible the engineered approach to acidizing. The same variables-temperature, acid concentration, formation composition, pressure and permeability-porosity relationships-which affect HC1 behavior in limestone also govern HF behavior in sandstone. Insoluble byproducts of HF reaction have been isolated and identified. Their effect on fluid flow has been measured under varying conditions in an attempt to evaluate the extent of possible damage and means of eliminating it. In general, HF follows the same reaction paths as HC1. It will react with limestone and dolomite with speed and ease. Thin sections of acidized cores show the reaction of HF with limestone or calcite faster than its reaction with either clay or sand. When HF reacts with calcite (CaCO3), theoretically, calcium fluoride (CaF2) is precipitated, and has been blamed as a major cause of reduced permeability. On the other hand, pH and pressure such as that encountered in an underground formation under acid treatment definitely retard CaF2 formation, so the whole question of CaF2 deposition in wells is a subject for study.
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