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PRODUCTION PRACTICE

This section contains five papers on production practice, as follows:

" Acid Treatment of Michigan Oil Wells "


By K. A. Covell,
.
The Pure Oil Company, Chicago, Ill. '
(Presented a t Pittsburgh Meeting, May 1934)
.

" Reduction of Lifting Costs Through Close Inspection of Prodqction and


Equipment Records "
By C. L. Moore * and H. S. Stark f
(Presented a t Pittsburgh Meeting, May 1934)

" Oil-Field Explosives-Their

Characteristics and Use "


By Paul F. Lewis,
American Glycerin Company, Tulsa, Okla.
(Presented a t Dallas Meeting, November 1934)

"

.4pplication of Thermodynamic Data to Production Problems "


By W. N. Lacey and B. H. Sage,
California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, Calif.
(Presented a t Dallas Meeting, November 1934)

" E a s t Texas Production "


By C. E. Reistle, Jr.,
E a s t Texas Engineering Association, Icilgore, Tes.
( A combination of a paper entitled " Effect of Different Production
Rates on Pressure Distribution in East Texas," presented a t
Dallas Meeting, November 1934, and of a paper entitled " East
Texas Production," presented a t Spring Meeting, Mid Continent
District, Oklahoma City, Okla., February 1934)
*

l ~ l i n n s l a ~ r - l ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ f i e l ~ lOil
- ~ ICi' Oa lI I~I IvI ~~ I~I yT , Fello\\-s l ' ; ~ l i f .
Honolulu C t ~ ~ ~ a v l i t l n tVil
e d ~ n r ~ , o r ; c t i v i lT. n f t , ~ i l i f .

'Development in Eastern Production Practice t 1


Acid Treatment of Miclligan Oil Wells
K. A. COVELL*
ABSTRACT
The use of
Michigan lime
acid treatment
to be treated,

acid to stiniulate oil production from


wells has shown a need for a study of
involving an analysis of the formation
the selection of a suitable type and

General
There a r e now about 900 producing oil wells in
Michigan, of which number about 700 a r e producing
from limestone formations considered favorable for the
stimulation of production by the use of acid. During
the past year and one-half over 450 wells have been
given more than 1,000 acid treatments, using approximately 1,000,000 gal. of hydrochloric acid. The net
result of these treatments has been the stimulation and
the conservation of oil production t h a t might have
otherwise been delayed or never produced because of
the economics of operating small wells.
While acid treatment of wells has been in progress,
laboratory research and field, tests have been continued
with a view of obtaining better results by the use of
a n acid suited to the formation to be treated, the determination of the am'ounts of acid to .use, the time for
initial and successive treatments, and the analysis of
the increase o r early recovery in oil production.

Acid Suited to Formation


Even though hydrochloric acid reacts to dissolve pure
limestones,'" operators have found i t advisable to furnish to the chemical-treating company for analysis a

aniounts of acid, the time of treatments with respect


to date of well conipletion, and an economic analysis
.
.
of the results.

or partially consist of materials not readily dissolved


by acid. The variation in the action of two types of
acid on the Traverse limestone i s indicated in Table 1.
I n Table 1, well " C " is a striking example of the
advantages of determining proper acid to use f o r the
formation to be treated. I t further develops t h a t the
producing formations of a well often vary in acidsoluble materials with depth. Table 2, showing the

TABLE 2

Depth

From
(Feet)

To
(Feet)

3,629
3,635
3,644
3,652

3,635
3,639
3,649.5
3,654

,.

Well

From
(Feet)

'

,
To
(Feet)

, --

Acid B
(Per
Cent)

sample of the producing formation to be treated, particularly if the treatment is to be made on a well in a
new area where the pay for~nationmay be dolomitic

Acid &' B "


( P e r Cent)

68.4
83.8
97.5
73.7

87.0
85.7
97.6
60.6

TABLE 3

Solubility In :

-4c1d A
(Per
Cent)

Acid "A"
( P e r Cent)

change in solubility of the pay formation with the depth


of a well, indicates t h a t acid " B " probably will dissolve more material and, thus, offer better possibilities
for increasing production by the use of acid.
Table 3 shows the wide variation in the percentage

TABLE 1
Depth

Solubility I n :

Time Sample Immersed


in Acid
Acid.

A
B
C
D
E
F

(Hours)
................. 24
................. 96
.................. 96
................. 96
................. 24
................. 24
'

Solubility
( P e r Cent)
3.9
27.4
31.0
23.6
61.7
32.4

of solubility of a well core sample in various blends of


acid, indicating the necessity of making analysis t o
determine the proper acid to obtain best results.
The Dundee limestone, which is probably the most
prolific oil-producing formation in Michigan, has been
found to be about 92 to 97 per cent soluble in a 15-per-

cent concentration of hydrochloric acid. One 42-gal.


barrel of this strength acid' is calculated to dissolve
about 0.4 cu. ft. of fornlation and leave a resultant
calcium-chloride solution about 71 per cent saturated.
It is considered good practice to use a properly-inhibited acid, which practically eliminates the reaction
of acid with steel, and yet does not appreciably retard
the action of the acid with li~nestone. The treating
company, for example, can furnish an inhibited acid
of 15 per cent concentration which has no appreciable
corrosive action 011 steel during the time required for

tion requiring only one-tenth a s much pressure to force


i t back out of the formation and into the well a s the
usual calcium-chloride solution requires. These, and
other acids being developed, may increase the scope of
treatment to include many wells that are now considered
unfavorable for treatment.

Technique
The technique of treating wells with acid3 requires
the use of equipment such a s illustrated by Fig. 1, and

FIG. 1
treatment, while a n equal strength of uninhibited or
raw acid dissolves a s much a s 0.286 lb. of steel per
square foot per day. Hydrochloric acid has no reaction
with oil or natural gas.
Acids now can be furnished having various reaction
speeds and intensities, and research work on the part
of the chemical company has developed a blend of acid
with which the reaction, when introduced into the formation, can be delayed for the most part until pressure
is relieved in the well bore. This acid is as yet too costly
for general use. Another interesting project being
introduced is the development of a non'-aqueous base
acid which, with the limestone, forms a resultant solu-

requires esperienced supervision in injecting acid under


pressure with an oil or gas seal into the formation
and determining the time necessary to keep the well
shut in for complete reaction. The time required for
acid to react depends upon the formation and blend of
. acid. Some wells have been produced a s early a s G hours
following treatment, and in other wells the chemical
reaction has not been completed after 72 hours.
Pre-treatment bottom-hole conditioning in the forni
of paraffin cleaning or the use of special "blanket " or
" seal " prepafations to protect water-bearing forma, tions from the action of the acid may be recomn~ended
by the well treater after formation and producing

conditions a r e known. Another type of preparation


which is now in use is in the form of a thin coating or
filler which temporarily seals the pores of the formation, permitting low-pressure wells to be filled with fluid
and, thus, have available a t the bottom of the hole a
fluid pressure head to force the acid back into the formation after the coating has been dissolved.

ably in the period shown would have produced more


oil above the normal decline if the first treatment had
been 25 to 30 days a f t e r date of completion, with the
second treatment the same a s shown, and with a third
treatment of 48 bbl. of acid about 200 days a f t e r
con~pletion.

Quantity of Acid and Time of Treatments


A study of the results of more than 350 acid treatments of wells producing from the Dundee limestbne
indicates amounts of acid and time of treatments which
a r e consistent with good practice to result in a maximum increase in oil production. These wells will average about 3,550 ft. in depth, have from 10 to 50 lineal
feet of formation exposed below the oil casing string, and
produce a 38-deg. A.P.I. oil with practically no water.
The thickness of the pay formation varies from a few
TIME IN DAYS SINCE COUPLETlON

Effect of Successive Acid Treatments in Well " B "Producing Formation, Dundee Limestone.
FIG. 3
While Fig.4, for well " C," shows a high accunlulated
return a s a result of acid treatment immediately following the completion of the well, it is probable that even
better results might have been obtained if the first
treatment ha'd been delayed 10 days, giving the well
a chance to clean itself and establish movement of oil

Effect of Successiye Acid Treatments in Well "A"-.


Producing Formation, Dundee ~imestonk.
FIG. 2
feet to as much a s 10 ft. or 15 ft., and sometimes occurs
in a s many a s three zones. Fig. 2 to 6, inclusive, sllo\ving the effect of acid treatment in increasing the rate of
production from representative wells, are given herein
better to illustrate the quantity of acid to use and the
best time for treatment.
Fig. 2 shows that well "A" produced about 17,865
bbl. of oil more than i t would have produced if the
well had not been treated with acid during the first
year. The application of acid treatnient being consistent, this well would probably have show'n a greater
accuinulated increase in production if the first treatment of 24 bbl. of acid had been about 30 days after
the well was completed, and if the second treatment
of 24 bbl. had been increased to about 48 bbl. of acid a t
about the same time a s shown.
Pig. 3, f o r well " B," shows a n increase of 8,540 bbl.,
o r about 36 per cent, in the accumulated recovery over
the first seven months that the well produced. This well
might have responded equally a s well on the first treatment using $2 bbl. instead of 24 bbl. of acid, and prob-

Effect of Successive Acid Treatments i n Well " C "Producing Formation, Dundee Limestone.

FIG. 4
towards the hole. I t may be noted that the second treatment of 12 bbl. of acid did not materially increase the
accumulated production, and i t is believed t h a t a second
treatment of 24 bbl. to 36 bbl. of acid about 90 days
after the first treatment would have netted higher returns. The fourth treatment, a s shown by Fig. 4, was
profitable.

A n example of acid treatment on settled production is


shown by Fig. 5, where well " D," producing only 5 bbl.
of oil per day 660 days a f t e r completion, with the

about 7,800. bbl. with its nonnal r a t e of decline. I t is


probable t h a t wells of this type will respond to still
f u r t h e r acid treatment.

Conclusions
'

1. Results show t h a t i t is advantageous to have analysis made of formations to be treated.


2. Work should be given experienced supervision,
including both a technical and practical knowledge of
t h e subject.
3. Amounts of acid f o r treatments can be approximated by t h e thickness and porosity of the formation
and a consideration of results from previous practical
experience.
4. The number of successive acid treatments t h a t will
yield profitable returns cannot be generally established.
5. Fig. 2 to 6, inclusive, indicate a quick return on.
t h e cost of acid treatment, which means a higher early
recovery of oil than would be expected without. treatment; and in some cases production curves indicate t h a t
acid h a s opened u p flow channels t o lenses of porosity
which might not otherwise have drained into the well.
'

'

.so

at4

7w

720

7.0

7m

.ca

820

U O

rm

szo

TlYL IN D A I S SINCE COUPLETION

Effect of Acid Treatment on Settled Production, Well


'' D "-Producing Formation, Dundec Limestone.

FIG. 5
prospect of only 1,216 bbl. f o r a nine months' period,
was increased by t h e use of a 12-bbl. and a 48-bbl.
acid treatment to produce about 8,700 bbl. more than

Acknowledgment is due The P u r e Oil Company for


production d a t a ; R. B. Newcombe, Michigan Geological
Survey; and t h e Dow Chemical Company, Midland,
Mich., f o r suggestions and comments.

2 350
Z

300

?j

2,o

A
.

0 I00

P0

B. A . C u ~ ~ n i u g h n m"Aci~l
.
Trentlnellt of Linie F o r n i a t i o ~ ~ s . "
preselited a t s p r i n g ~lleetirlg. Auler. , l ' c t . Illst.. Div. o f . Prod.,
I-Iouston. T e s . , April 7-8, 1933.
R. B. Ka\vcolnbe, "Acid Treatlllent f o r Incrensilig Oil F r o d~lctiou." Oil I l ' e c P l ~ ,69, no. 11, 1:) I 1'J:jH ) .
" S . A. Best. " T r e a t i n g Li111er;toneFormation," etc.. Oil G n s J.,

'30

,.,

32, no. 46, 54 ( 1 9 3 4 ) .

T I Y E IN DAYS SINCE COUPLETON

Effect of Acid Treatnlent on Settled ~rocluction,Well


" E "-Producing
Formation, Dundee Limestone.

FIG. 6
could be reasonably estimated by the normal decline
curve. Although this well had a n initial of 420 bhl. per
day, t h e production might have declined in three more
years to a point where i t would not be economical to
operate-necessitating
t h e abandonment of the well
without the recovery of oil a s stimulated by acid
treatment.
Another example illustrating t h e effect of acid treatment on settled production is shown.by Fig. 6 f o r well
" E," which had a n initial production of about 615 bbl.
per day, and was producing about 35 bbl. per day
almost three years after completion. A 12-bbl. and a
24-bbl. acid treatment show a n increase in accumulated
production of 12,460 bbl. over a period of eight months,
and i t is estimated t h a t t h e well would have produced

DISCUSSION
Don Knowlton (Phillips Petroleuln Corporation) :
W h a t a r e t h e effects on gas-oil ratios of these various
treatments with acids?
H. J. Lowe (The P u r e Oil Company) : Initially, there
is a decrease in gas-oil ratio; but within a reasonable
time a f t e r t h e acid treatment, i t gradually works u p to
about the same a s i t was before.
Mr. Knowlton: Do you think t h a t in most instances
i t will actually increase the ultimate recovery to a n y
g r e a t extent?
Mr. Lowe: T h a t is a n open question. I think i t can
be said t h a t where we open up new lenses, we undoubtedly increase t h e oil recovery. A s I see t h e thing, the
only advantage t h a t we a r e sure of at the present time
is t h a t we get w h a t would be called a normal ultinlate
recovery in a shorter period of time.
Mr. Knowlton: Does t h a t depend upon t h e type of
reservoir, on the type of sedimentation, whether i t is
more or less continuous, o r in streaks?

'

Mr. Lowe: The limestone is very spotty. For instance, we have drilled wells with widely varying initials
practically offsetting each other, and the effects will undoubtedly vary with the reservoir conditions.
Mr. Pierce: We have made microscopic studies in
the laboratory on cores from a certain lime formation,
before and after treating the core with acid, which
demonstrated that some sections of the core were opened
up, disclosing new oil sources that were not apparent
before treating with acid. Not only were the original
openings increased in size, but new openings were made.
Member: I n which case you would increase the
amount of oil available to production from the well.
Chairman Robinson: Do you have a n average figure
of what i t costs per barrel for treating?
Mr. Lowe: ~ s s u m i nthat
~ the treatment would cost
$200 or $300, and resulted in 12,000 bbl. recovery, a s
indicated on the production curves shown, the resultant
cost per barrel would be but a fraction of a cent for the
use of the acid.
Chairman Robinson: I wondered whether i t was average, or whether those were usual conditions.
Mr. Lowe: We have had very phenomenal results in
acid-treating some wells in Michigan. The production
graphs submitted with this paper a r e from representative wells where average results have been obtained.
Norman E. Maswell (Crew-Levick Company) : I s
-this limestone, or has i t a porosity?
Mr. Lowe: I t is filled with small holes which -vary
from the size of a pinhead to the size of a pea or larger.
As f a r a s I know, the drilling has not disclosed any
large caverns.
Mr. Maxwell : Can the limestone be said to be porous?
Is it similar to sandstone?
Mr. Lowe: Not a t all. Some is very tight. The limestone is porous, but not in the sense that sand is porous.
The pores a r e much larger. I t could be compared to a
sponge in its general characteristic.
C. E. Burt (Baker Oil Tools, Inc.) : I n the old wells,
where the cores may have been lost, how a r e the formations sampled in order to make the analysis?
Mr. Lowe: In the first place, there a r e no old wells
in this pool; i t was developed initially some seven or
eight years ago. There, hasn't been a great deal of
coring done.
The Dundee limestone is more or less blanket formation. Cores have been taken in selected wells which
seem-to give the desired information.
Mr. Burt: I s pressure applied from the casinghead,
or i s pressure used a t all?
Mr. Lowe: The well is filled with oil, balancing the
column inside and outside the tubing. After installing
suitable casinghead connections, the acid is introduced
in the tubing. A volume of oil equal to the volume of
acid is permitted to escape through the casinghead,
which is then closed. A volume of oil equivalent to the
volume of the acid is then introduced into the tubing

under pressure, which forces the acid back into the formation to be treated. Of course, this is a n ,ideal situation subject to change t o meet individual conditions.
The well is then shut in f o r a period necessary t o complete chemical reactions, which is from a few hours t o
a s much a s three days.
.

J. G. Montgomery (United National Gas Company) :


Has this treatment been applied to sands?
Mr. Lowe: The information that I personally have
on sands is rather negligible. We had a sad experience
in a Clinton sand well in Ohio, and I know of two or
three other similar wells that were treated with acid
without any satisfactory results.
I suppose a n improvement in technique and further
research work in types of acid will develop something
which will give us some results in sands.
I think one of the chief causes for failure in the Ohio
wells was the fact that we had low. rock pressure and
were unable to expel the precipitates from the formation. The acid treatment has been used for a long time
in sand, and I do not know of any place yet where i t
has been successful.
H. R. Pierce (Oil and Gas Recovery): We treated
one lime-impregnated sand of which we had the core,
and knew the amount of lime a t various depths in the
sand. We neither expected nor obtained a n increase in
oil production, because we had only 35 lb. or 40 lb. pressure in the sand, and there was no water produced
with the oil. When injecting the acid, we left in the
sand the water that we put in with the acid, together
with the formed water. The treatment did not help the
oil production.
We treated this well to open i t up a s a n injection well,
and it accomplished that purpose admirably. The well
now takes suitable quantities of gas. We did not have
enough pressure in the sand to expel the water and
acid that remained, but we did have enough injection
pressure to push i t back in the sand. Therefore, we feel
that the treatment was successful.
Mr. Lowe: Would you consider i t feasible to inject
air into the well prior t o acid treatment until you had
built up a n area of relatively high pressure around the
well, and then put the acid in and release the pressure
suddenly after reaction had ceased? I t might be of
some benefit in low-pressure areas.
Mr. Pierce: What we did in this well was this: We
had enough pressure in the sand. We had, I will say,
38 lb. rock pressure in the sand, and we pushed the acid
back in the sand with gas, not with water, and then
allowed i t to be pushed back into the well. Then we
pushed i t back again, and worked the acid back and
forth through the face of the well until i t was neutralized.
We didn't want openings f a r back in the sand; we
wanted the face of the well opened; and with our method
of procedure that is what we accomplished. That is, we
removed the lime from within the sand grains immediately around the well bore.

,
,

ACIDTREATMENT
OF
In the laboratory tests the acid treatment opened up
a core from this well so that, using the same pressure,
i t was four times more permeable after the acid treatment than before.

Mr. Wittmer: You would expect to increase the water


in the satne proportion you would increase the oil?
Mr. Lowe: Yes, sir.

George Wittmer, Jr. (American Natural Gas Cornpany) : I understand that practically all of the Dundee
wells in Michigan a r e wet. I s i t your thought or experience that acid treatment is practical and recommended for wells that a r e producing a s much a s 25
per cent water?
J. Bennett (The Pure Oil Company) : I have seen
acid put in wells t h a t were producing a small amount
of water, and they produced a greater amount of water
afterwards.
Mr. Lowe: I would be inclined t o think where wells
were making a considerable amount of water, you might
have to use more concentrated acid to take care of possible dilution a s a result of the presence pf the water;
but I think the results would be just a s satisfactory.
The usual procedure is to plug off the water before acid
treatment.

Raymond B. Kelly (.The Pure Oil Company) : I


should like to know if there is any distinct advantage
in high temperature of the acid, heating i t prior t o
treatment.
Mr. Lowe: We have not used any heated acid.
Mr. Fitzgerald (Do\vell, Inc.) : We f o u n d - n o advantage in heating the acid before treatment. In the
first place, i t is rather difficult to introduce a hot acid
into the well; and, in the second place, there is always
a possibility of increasing corrosion tin the pipe with
hot acid.
In one or two cases a chemical has been added to the
acid a t the time of treatment to increase the temperature, but our idea was not to make the acid more effective; rather i t was a study on inhibitors. So f a r we have
found that by blending acids to fit the case, we can g?t
maximum solubility without the use of heat.