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Rick Gdanski, Halliburton, rick.gdanski@halliburton.com

Copyright 2005, CIPM. Este artículo fue preparado para su presentación en el cuarto E-Exitep 2005, del 20 al 23 de febrero de 2005 en Veracruz, Ver., México.
El material presentado no refleja necesariamente la opinión del CIPM, su mesa directiva o sus colegiados. El artículo fue seleccionado por un comité técnico
con base en un resumen. El contenido total no ha sido revisado por el comité editorial del CIPM.

SUMMARY quarried limestone and dolomite during the 1970s

provided our first estimates of the temperature
Carbonate acidizing continues to be a vital process dependence of the reactivity of HCl on
for improving the production of oil and gas wells. carbonates.1,2 These experiments suggested that
Laboratory studies and field evaluations of limestones had incredibly high reactivity with acid
carbonate acidizing during the past 30 years have such that one could assume a mass transport-
shown a continually improved understanding of the limited process. Laboratory experiments during the
fundamental issues. This paper discusses the 1980s, however, did not support that conclusion
current state of the advances in carbonate and eventually it became evident that even the
stimulation. Average reactivity data for several reaction of HCl with limestones was a balanced
limestones and dolomites are presented and can be process.3 This means that while high reactivity
used as improved default values for simulators. The limestones may be mass transport-dominated, they
three fundamental issues of fracture acidizing are are never truly mass transport-limited. Furthermore,
addressed and are considered to be reactivity their reactivity seems to be about 1/100th the
control, fluid-loss control, and conductivity reactivity of the originally reported reactivity, and the
generation. Synthetic polymers for acid gellants temperature dependence of the reactivity is much
have made reactivity control easy, which usually lower than originally reported.4,5
makes fluid-loss control the most dominant issue to
be addressed in fracture acidizing. Wormhole The reactivity of various oilfield carbonates has
development and structure during matrix acidizing been measured with optimized rotating disc
are viewed as symmetry-dominated processes experiments for several years. Cores from
controlled by fluid flow that obeys the native producing carbonates in 13 countries have
permeability contrasts within the matrix. The undergone significant testing to provide
resulting simplification allows for rational treatment temperature-dependent reactivity data from 66
designs for matrix acidizing of carbonates. Zonal cores. Sufficient data has been collected to allow
coverage of long carbonate sections, whether analysis and averaging of the reactivities from those
vertical or horizontal, remains a challenge. cores. Fig. 1 reports the average reactivity of 29
However, using the “75-25” rule for horizontal wells, limestones and 19 dolomites, normalized to a
creating a “thief zone” at the bottom or toe of the reaction order of 0.30 for easy comparison. The
well, and utilizing the “top decade of permeability” carbonates for these subsets were chosen based
rule can aid in achieving reasonable designs for on having at least 93% composition as either
maximizing productivity. limestone or dolomite. Another 18 carbonates fell
into the category of being mixed carbonates. The
CARBONATE REACTIVITY average energy of activation, Ea, which represents
the temperature dependence, for the limestones
Several models are used to predict the spending of was 2.49 kcal/mole, significantly lower than the 15.2
acid on carbonates. Some models calculate the kcal/mole historically assumed. The average Ea for
spending during fracture acidizing while others the dolomites was 5.88 kcal/mole, again signif-
calculate the spending during matrix acidizing and icantly lower than the 22.4 kcal/mole historically
wormhole generation. The earliest spending tests assumed. Furthermore, notice that the reactivity of
were simple spending-time experiments in open the average limestone and average dolomite are
beakers. However, it soon became clear that this the same at 200°F. At 100°F, the reactivity of an
was an inadequate procedure since mass transport average limestone is about twice that of the
definitely plays a role. Experiments conducted on average dolomite.

average reaction rate constant (Rk at 100°F using
the average dolomite reaction order, Ro, of 0.44)
was 5.30E-5 with an Ea of 5.88 kcal/mole. This
average can be used as default reactivity data for
dolomites, if no reactivity information is available on
a specific formation. However, some dolomites are
as reactive as an average limestone.

Fig. 1—Normalized and averaged reactivity of


Fig. 2 shows the reactivity data for all 29 limestones

at the average limestone reaction order of 0.36.
Notice that limestone reactivity can vary by a factor
of 10 at almost any temperature. As a
consequence, it becomes very important that the
reactivity data of each carbonate formation be Fig. 3—Normalized reactivity of dolomites.
measured. The average limestone reaction rate
constant (Rk, at 100°F using the average reaction The reactivity of acid systems gelled with synthetic
order, Ro, of 0.36) was 7.85E-5 with an Ea of 2.49 polymers has been well studied.6 In general, it was
kcal/mole. This average can be used as default found that the reactivity of acid on carbonates is
reactivity data for limestones, if no reactivity reduced by about a factor of 10 in acid gelled with
information is available on a specific formation. synthetic polymers. Acids gelled with surfactants,
However, the figure clearly shows that some however, do not exhibit lower reactivity data, though
limestones react as slowly as dolomites. they do spend slowly under application conditions
by reducing mass transport. All gelled acids provide
enhanced performance by reducing fluid loss during
fracture acidizing, or improving zonal coverage
during matrix acidizing. The Ea is not affected by
gelling the acid with either synthetic polymers or
surfactants. Therefore, plain acid reactivity data
properly generated with optimized rotating disc
experiments can be useful for a broad range of acid


The use of fracture acidizing to enhance the

production of carbonate formations continues to be
an effective process. Suggestions and claims about
Fig. 2—Normalized reactivity of limestones. important requirements for achieving a successful
treatment have fluctuated over the past 30 years to
Fig. 3 shows the reactivity data for all 19 dolomites include special acid systems, special placement
at the average dolomite reaction order of 0.44. techniques, etc. However, to achieve a successful
Notice that dolomite reactivities can vary by a factor fracture-acidizing treatment, three fundamental
of 3 at almost any temperature, and so are better issues must be addressed: reactivity control, fluid-
behaved than limestones. Still, the variation is loss control, and conductivity generation. Focusing
significant enough that it is important to measure on only one or two of these issues can result in poor
the reactivity data of each carbonate formation. The performance.

fracturing, a screen-out is incredibly difficult to
Reactivity Control achieve and rarely occurs, even with excessive fluid
loss. The absence of the feedback provided by a
The first fundamental issue involved in successful screen-out has made it easy for our industry to
fracture acidizing is reactivity control. Dissolution of ignore the issue of excessive fluid loss during
carbonate is the means by which conductivity is fracture-acidizing treatments. Yet, if fluid efficiency
generated. The dissolution is controlled by drops to the point where the treating pressure no
reactivity, which is affected by both carbonate longer stays above fracture-extension pressure,
composition and temperature. An improper then all the acid will leak off into the formation.
understanding of reactivity may lead to a choice of When this happens, the treatment has become a
fluid that is inappropriate for the reservoir large matrix acidizing treatment and the etched
conditions. Therefore, it is very important to length will be quite short. The result will be a well
understand the issues of reactivity discussed with a high flush production that falls to a much
earlier. There was a time when almost everyone lower value over the long-term. The properties that
considered reactivity control to be the single-most provide good long-term production increase are the
important issue in providing effective fracture conductivity and etched length. Although non acid
acidizing treatments. This assumption was based fluids might be used to create a long fracture,
on an improper understanding of both limestone excessive fluid loss (of acid) can result in a very
reactivity and the lack of effective fluid-loss control short etched length, and consequently, a
measures provided by synthetic polymer gelled disappointing long-term production increase.
acids. Currently, reactivity control has been
sufficiently achieved such that fluid-loss control has The single-most significant step to improve fluid-
been clearly exposed as the next dominant barrier loss control in fracture-acidizing treatments is to
to effective fracture-acidizing treatments. viscosify the acid. All other efforts to improve fluid-
loss control will be relatively useless unless the first
Guidelines have been developed for choosing an step is using viscous acid.
appropriate method for achieving reactivity control. There are a number of ways to viscosify acid,
Low-reactivity carbonates at cool reservoir including:
conditions require acid systems that will not further • natural polymers
lower the acid reaction rate constants. Foamed acid • synthetic polymers
and surfactant gelled acids are examples of • surfactants
systems known to be quite effective in low reactivity • foams
carbonates. • emulsions

Moderate reactivity carbonates can also be treated Laboratory testing using hollow limestone cores
with foamed acid and surfactant gelled acids, but under severe fluid-loss test conditions, has clearly
synthetic polymer gelled acids provide a level of demonstrated that viscosity has a powerful effect on
reactivity control and fluid-loss control that makes providing the first level of fluid-loss control.7 This
them widely applicable. first level of fluid-loss control can be achieved with
as little as 20 cP of viscosity at 511/sec at BHST.
Treatments on high-reactivity carbonates, or This benchmark viscosity provides a good guideline
moderate-reactivity carbonates at high temper- when determining a sufficient viscosity for first-level
atures, should generally employ acid systems using fluid-loss control. The benchmark level is generally
synthetic polymers to viscosify the acid. These a sufficient viscosity in situations where matrix
systems provide excellent reactivity control and permeability is less than approximately 1 md. Under
mass transport control. such conditions, the choice of viscosifier will largely
be driven by the reactivity issues mentioned earlier.
Fluid-Loss Control
Some formation conditions require more fluid-loss
The second fundamental issue of successful control than that provided by first-level approaches;
fracture acidizing is fluid-loss control. This issue is these wells may therefore require a second-level of
perhaps the primary cause of failure for many fluid-loss control. The second level of improved
fracture-acidizing treatments. In sand fracturing, fluid-loss control can be achieved using either large
excessive fluid loss can result in “screen-outs” and solids or much higher fluid viscosities. Studies have
a premature shut-down of the treatment. In acid shown that large solids can be very effective in

providing this second level of fluid-loss control. The down a fracture well beyond 200 ft when proper
solids should be at least 100-mesh in size, and can reactivity control is addressed. This can lead to
easily be 40- to 60-mesh solids. The solids must be thinking that if acid gets there, conductivity will be
large because of the relatively larger diameters of there. Unfortunately, the situation is a bit more
wormholes caused by acid leakoff (as compared to complicated. Simple calculations can highlight the
the original pore-throats). Pore-throats can be issue.
bridged with particles of a few microns in diameter,
but wormholes require much larger particles. The Fig. 4 shows the results from calculations of
solids can be sand, oil-soluble resins, or anything created length based on simple mass balance. A
else deemed useful. Concentrations should start at fracturing simulator was used to estimate a nominal
0.25 lb/gal and should be increased in 0.25-lb/gal created width of 0.15 in. using a 20 cP fluid, which
increments if an acid stage does not maintain is the design criterion for the first level of fluid-loss
fracture-extension pressure. Fracture-acidizing control. Several fluid efficiencies from 5 to 30%
treatments using 1 to 2 lb/gal of solids have been were used to calculate the created length vs.
successfully conducted and provided significantly injected fluid volume. Notice that for a created
improved sustained production increases. length of 200 ft, it is relatively easy to create such a
fracture, even with poor fluid efficiencies. At a fluid
If higher viscosities are chosen for achieving the efficiency of only 10% (meaning 90% of the fluid is
second level of fluid-loss control, the target leaking off into the matrix), approximately 400 gal/ft
viscosities should be in the range of a few hundred is required to create two 200-ft fracture wings, but at
centipoise, perhaps 100 to 300 cP under downhole a fluid efficiency of 30%, only 130 gal/ft is needed to
conditions. This can be achieved with live acid create two 200-ft fracture wings.
crosslinkers, such as zirconium, and near-spent
acid crosslinkers. Live acid crosslinkers provide
high viscosity in the fracture itself, while near-spent
acid crosslinkers provide high viscosity in the matrix
after leakoff and at the leading edge of acid flow in
the fracture. Foams and emulsions can also provide
these higher viscosities. The choice of fluid may
depend on such factors as acceptable friction
pressures in the tubing, the availability of materials
such as nitrogen, and whether leakoff is perceived
to be dominated by matrix loss or natural fracture
loss. The higher live acid viscosities may be
preferable when leakoff is dominated by natural

Conductivity Generation
Fig. 4—Created fracture length.
The third fundamental issue of effective fracture The situation is much different when considering the
acidizing is the generation of acceptable rock-dissolving power. Fig. 5 shows the results of
conductivity. The first two issues, proper reactivity calculations of etched length based on simple mass
control and proper fluid-loss control are pre- balance. A nominal etched width of 0.10 in. was
requisites for obtaining good conductivity. The first used based on laboratory observations that
two issues assure that it is possible to dissolve rock conductivity doesn’t usually rise above 2000 md-ft
at a significant distance from the wellbore in the unless the etched width reaches 0.10 in., or 0.05 in.
created fracture. However, they are not sufficient to from each face of the fracture. It was assumed that
assure that good conductivity is truly generated. 15% HCl was used to etch the fracture, and so a
Conductivity generation requires that two additional rock-dissolving power of 1.8 lb/gal was used in the
goals be met: (1) sufficient carbonate must be calculations. Finally, several rock dissolving
removed, and (2) the carbonate must be removed in efficiencies ranging from 20 to 70% were used to
an uneven manner, so that good conductivity can calculate the possible etched length vs. injected
be generated. acid volume. The rock-dissolving efficiencies
Sufficient rock removal is an easy issue to overlook. recognize that under high fluid-loss conditions,
Simulations readily show that live acid can travel

much of the rock-dissolving power goes to creating MATRIX ACIDIZING
wormholes and not etched width.
In 1979, SPE published Monograph Volume 6 of the
Henry L. Doherty Series entitled Acidizing
Fundamentals, which was coauthored by Bert
Williams, John Gidley, and Robert Schechter.8
Matrix acidizing of carbonates is extensively
discussed in the Acidizing Fundamentals
Monograph. A method is given for calculating the
spending of acid down a dominant wormhole in
either turbulent or laminar flow. Calculations of acid
spending lengths can be performed with or without
fluid leakoff. Unfortunately, three fundamental
questions remained unanswered at that time that
prevented use of the published concepts:

1) How many dominant wormholes are generated?

Fig. 5—Over-simplified etched length.
2) What is the spatial distribution of these dominant
Suppose that at 30% fluid efficiency, the acid is able wormholes?
to mostly spend on the fracture face before leaking
3) What is the leakoff profile from the dominant
into the matrix such that the dissolving efficiency is
high at 70%. Fig. 4 shows that it will require about
450 gal/ft of 15% HCl to dissolve exactly 0.10 in.
Considerable laboratory work has been conducted
(0.05 in. from each face) down the length of two
during the intervening years,9-13 but almost
200-ft fracture wings. However, suppose that fluid-
loss control is poor, fluid efficiency is only 10%, and exclusively in short-core tests. These tests suffer
from restrictions imposed by linear flow and the
the dissolving efficiency is low at 30%. In such a
small dimensions of the core. The linear flow tests
case, approximately 1,000 gal/ft of 15% HCl would
indicate the following answers to the three
be required to create a 0.10-in. etched width in the
200-ft fracture. questions above:

1) There is only one dominant wormhole.

Figs. 4 and 5, when taken together in a simplified
fashion, suggest that a small fracture-acidizing
treatment of about 250 gal/ft, even with good 2) The single dominant wormhole extends linearly
through the length of the core.
efficiencies, will probably only reach about 75 ft.
Long-term production increase is not likely to be
impressive with such a treatment. However, a 3) Leakoff is linearly out the end of the core.
serious fracture-acidizing treatment of about 500
Clearly these answers are of limited use in field
gal/ft will be capable of 150- to 200-ft etched
applications of radial flow. A new theory has
lengths. Of course, modern computer simulators are
capable of modeling the realities much better than recently been introduced and discussed14,15 that
relies on the existence of symmetry patterns first
this simplistic approach, but the point remains that
published by Daccord.16 The presence of symmetry
conductive length can only be created by pumping
in matrix acidizing of carbonates was assumed in
sufficient dissolving power.
the development of the new model that proposes to
answer the three questions left unanswered 25
In brief, good fracture-acidizing designs should
years ago. The numerical results from the model
recognize that creating good conductivity means
are in qualitative agreement with generally held
pumping sufficient dissolving power to remove the
amount of rock necessary to create conductivity, guidelines for matrix acidizing. The model has been
validated by field treatments and indicates that only
and so will probably be about 500 gal/ft or greater in
fractions of a pore volume (PV) are required to
reach a certain distance from the wellbore. This
stands in stark contrast to predictions from linear
experiments that suggest no less than 1 PV will be

required, and that most often multiple PVs may be the leading edge of invasion is near the optimum.
required to reach a certain distance from the Sets of wormholes die out as their length from the
wellbore. In addition, the simplification brought wellbore to the tip become the same as their
about by the new theory made general matrix separation along the length of the wellbore.
acidizing treatment designs a simpler process. Wormhole die-out occurs due to pressure
interference between the sets from the 3-D leakoff,
The new theory is in fact complementary to the as manifested by 3-D wormhole branching. As a
detailed understanding of wormhole development result, the number of dominant wormhole sets
that was revealed by the years of linear flow decreases during the course of fluid injection. Fluid
experiments. The effect of the Damköhler number loss is dominated by 3-D wormhole branching and
on wormhole structure and the existence of an not really by wall leakoff, as is the case in fracture
optimum Damköhler number are clearly correct. acidizing.
However, the primary revelation of the modeling
work from the new theory is that wormhole The fundamental driver for all these manifestations
penetration distance is not really controlled by in the new theory is that wormhole patterns and
reactivity, but by volumetric invasion issues that are symmetry arise as a consequence of normal fluid
controlled by the accessible porosity of the matrix, flow through the porous media. Wormholes are not
the rheological nature of the acidizing fluid, and the created in an independent fashion that follows
native permeability contrasts of the matrix. paths of unpredictable direction. Stated differently,
Furthermore, permeability improvement of a wormholes follow behind fluid invasion, and fluid
carbonate above 100-fold renders that portion of the invasion is controlled by the native permeability
matrix “invisible” from a production viewpoint. This contrasts in the formation.
principle is shown in Fig. 6 by comparing the
calculated skin at several levels of permeability
improvement. As such, knowing the exact nature
and structure of the wormhole pattern becomes a
moot point. It is sufficient just to know that the
permeability has been improved by at least 100-fold
by the acidizing process.

Fig. 7—Acid design chart.

Many of the predictions of the model are in good

agreement with classical guidelines of matrix
acidizing normal carbonates. For example, typical
acid designs that produce good stimulation under
matrix-flow conditions use about 100 gal/ft of 15%
Fig. 6—Effect of permeability improvement on skin. HCl as a reasonable optimum. Calculations show
that this volume should generate a 3 to 3.5 skin,
The new theory proposes specific answers for the depending on porosity and permeability contrasts,
three remaining questions left unanswered 25 years as shown in Fig. 7. Doubling the acid volume will
ago. The spatial distribution around the wellbore is give a 50% increase in wormhole distance, but it will
as sets-of-six. The overall invasion pattern of the not dramatically decrease the skin. As another
sets is governed by the native permeability contrast. example, nominal zonal coverage rates for plain
This means that the patterns elongate in the most acid are about 10 ft of zone for every bbl/min of
permeable directions. The sets of wormholes are injection rate. Calculations show that once the acid
spaced along just enough of the length of the has penetrated about 1 ft from the wellbore, this
wellbore to satisfy that the Damköhler number at classical zonal coverage rate is situated near the

optimum Damköhler number. As such, a 30-ft zone cumulative zone height vs. permeability. The
requires an injection rate of 3 bbl/min or higher for average permeability for the formation is approxi-
good zonal coverage. A pump rate of 10 bbl/min mately 5 md, but the permeability ranges from 0.1
to 280 md. The dashed lines show that only 10% of
into a long horizontal well will probably only treat the the total zone height is in the range of 28 to 280 md,
first 100 ft of zone, unless extraordinary efforts are or the top decade of permeability. As a result,
taken to achieve diversion. achieving good zonal coverage will be an
extraordinary challenge with non-mechanical
ZONAL COVERAGE approaches. In addition, it can readily be under-
stood that about 30% of the zone, with permeability
An important aspect of acidizing carbonates is ranging from 0.1 to 3 md, will probably not
contribute significantly to production until the higher
achieving good zonal coverage with the acid. If the permeability sections have been substantially
zones are relatively short, this can likely be depleted.
accomplished simply with rate, or perhaps rate and
a little viscosity in the acid.17 However, once the
zone becomes longer than about 100 ft, zonal
coverage becomes much more difficult. If the
producing interval is in the range of 1,000 ft, not
only is good zonal coverage difficult, it is also very
expensive. Questions naturally arise: (1) How much
of the zone is really going to be productive? (2)
Does the entire horizontal interval need to be
acidized well?, and (3) What is the best way to get
acid all the way to the bottom (or toe) of the well?

The Top Decade Rule

One of the first principles to understand regarding

acid diversion, or zonal coverage, is the purpose of Fig. 8—Broad permeability distribution.
diversion. Specifically, the purpose of diversion is to
make zones having similar permeabilities produce Fig. 9 shows a hypothetical formation with a narrow
similarly by the removal of damage and/or distribution of permeabilities. The average perm-
stimulating to about 3 to 3.5 skins. Diversion cannot eability is still approximately 5 md, but the
induce a 0.1 md zone to produce the same as a permeability only ranges from about 1 to 22 md.
1 md zone, unless the 0.1 md zone has 10 times The dashed lines indicate that nearly 90% of the
zone is within the 2.2 to 22 md range, indicating that
the pressure or 10 times the thickness. typical diversion techniques should be quite
Furthermore, laboratory experiments attempting to effective at covering the entire interval. In addition,
divert from one core to another have shown that the most of the zone will contribute production
maximum flow contrast that can be diverted is about throughout the life of the well.
10 to 20.18 However, if both cores have nearly the
same permeability and one is damaged by a fairly
thin “skin,” diversion can be very effective and can
easily penetrate the damage, even at high initial
flow contrasts.

Taking these two concepts together, we can

develop a guideline for deciding how much of an
interval is likely to contribute well, and how much is
likely to be within the grasp of acid diversion. (An
exception to this discussion would be the use of
mechanical diversion.) The approach is to create a
normalized cumulative permeability distribution plot
to identify how much of the zone is in the top
decade of permeability.
Fig. 9—Narrow permeability distribution.
Fig. 8 shows a hypothetical semi-log plot of

The 75-25 Rule zones of 3 skin (or better), and (2) the resistance of
forcing the original non-acid wellbore fluids into the
Horizontal wells present a unique challenge due to damaged or unstimulated sections at the bottom of
the extended lengths of interval as compared to the well before the acid arrives.
typical vertical wells. Acid designs based on vertical
guidelines, such as 100 gal/ft of 15% HCl to achieve Simulations suggest that an effective solution to this
a skin of -3 or better, become prohibitively problem is to pre-acidize the bottom of the well to
expensive for a 3,000-ft horizontal well. Several create a “thief zone” of 3 skin or better. The zone
investigators have used numerical simulations to will not act as a true thief zone, such as that of a
study ways of optimizing acid designs for horizontal highly naturally fractured section, but it will more
wells.19,20 These and other studies are in general easily enable the original wellbore fluids to be
agreement with one another and indicate two quickly displaced by the acid treatment. The thief
important results. zone at the bottom can be created using coiled
tubing and a small amount of acid. A typical design
First, suppose that costs restrict the size of an acid would include pumping 2,000 gal of 15% HCl at 2
treatment to only 15 to 35% of a full classical bbl/min through coiled tubing positioned at the
design. The question arises as to whether it is bottom (or toe) of the well. The tubing is then
better to treat the entire zone evenly with the acid, retrieved and the acid treatment pumped at high
or acidize a few places well. The results from the rates using viscous acid and effective diverting
calculations clearly indicate that it is far better to methods. This method has been applied
acidize a few places well than to acidize everything successfully in long vertical wells and can be used
poorly. in horizontal wells of perhaps less than 1,000 ft of
Second, a decision must be made as to how much
of the zone to acidize properly, perhaps 15%, 25%, CONCLUSIONS
or 35%. The calculations indicate that the more
horizontal length that is acidized, the more The study of carbonate acidizing has progressively
production is possible. However, an evaluation of improved the success of acid stimulation
the trends indicates that acidizing 25% of the treatments. While much of the science can be
horizontal length properly will provide approximately considered quite complex, a number of simplifying
75% of the productive potential if all of the length guidelines have been developed that can improve
has been acidized properly. For this author, this the application of modern acidizing theories. These
important result became the 75-25 rule. theories have provided the following conclusions:
Furthermore, technical conversations with others • The reactivities of oilfield carbonates have been
who have independently verified these calculations measured in the laboratory and exhibit fairly low
suggest that the 25% of length should be broken energies of activation, consistent with a mass
into 5 to 9 pieces along the length of the horizontal transport dominated process.
well. The choice of the number of pieces and their • New default reactivity values for limestones and
positions may be dependant on identifying preferred dolomites have been proposed.
locations with logging techniques, or may be
• The average limestone and dolomite have
selected by simply choosing locations of conven-
similar reactivities above approximately 200°F.
ience, or may be based on other design
considerations. • Carbonate spending is often a mass transport
dominated process, but it is not a mass
Create a Thief Zone at the Bottom transport limited process.
• The three fundamental issues that must be
Experience has demonstrated that during bull- addressed for successful fracture acidizing are
headed treatments of long intervals, it is difficult to reactivity control, fluid-loss control, and
get acid to travel much beyond the end of the pipe conductivity generation.
without effective diversion. Even with effective • Reactivity control is most easily achieved by the
diversion, experience and numerical simulations proper choice of acid viscosifier.
demonstrate that the bottom 30% of the zone can
• The first level of fluid-loss control must be to
be very difficult to stimulate. The source of this
viscosify the acid to at least 20 cP at BHST
challenge is considered to be a combination of (1)
the ease of continued acid flow into stimulated

• The second level of fluid-loss control can be 6. Gdanski, R.D. and Norman, L.R.: “The Effect
either choosing large solids or acid viscosities in of Filterable Solids on Acid Reaction Rates,”
the few hundred cP range. SPEPE (March 1986) 111-116.
• Proper conductivity generation requires 7. Gdanski, R.D.: “Fluid Properties and Particle
pumping sufficient acid volume, good zonal Size Requirements for Effective Acid Fluid-
height coverage, and uneven etching of the Loss Control,” paper SPE 25894 presented at
fracture face. the 1993 Rocky Mountain Regional/Low
• A new matrix acidizing theory based on Permeability Reservoirs Symposium, Denver,
symmetry has significantly improved the CO, April 12-14.
understanding of the performance acid 8. Williams, B.B., Gidley, J.L. and Schechter,
treatments. R.S.: Acidizing Fundamentals, Monograph
• Wormhole length in matrix acidizing is Volume 6, Henry L. Doherty Series, SPE-
dominated by volumetric issues such as AIME, Dallas (1979).
accessible porosity, permeability contrast, and 9. Hoefner, M.L. and Fogler, H.S.: “Pore
acid volume. Evolution and Channel Formation During Flow
and Reaction in Porous Media,” AIChEJ 34 1
• Acidized permeability improvement is provided
(1988) 45-54.
by the wormhole diameters and is dominated by
spending issues such as reactivity, carbonate 10. Fredd, C.M., Tjia, R. and Fogler, H.S.: “The
composition, acid strength, and contact time. Existence of an Optimum Damköhler Number
for Matrix Stimulation of Carbonate
• Potential zonal coverage for diverting matrix
Formations,” paper SPE 38167 presented at
acidizing treatments is often subject to the Top
the 1997 European Formation Damage
Decade Rule.
Conference, The Hague, The Netherlands,
• An optimum length of horizontal well to be June 2-3.
acidized can be calculated by the 75 25 Rule. 11. Wang, Y., Hill, A.D. and Schechter, R.S.: “The
• Creating a thief zone at the bottom of a well Optimum Injection Rate for Matrix Acidizing of
with a small amount of acid can significantly Carbonate Formations,” paper SPE 26578
improve the success of bull-headed, diverted presented at the 1993 Annual Technical
acid treatments. Conference and Exhibition, Houston, TX,
October 3-6.
REFERENCES 12. Bazin, B., Roque, C., Chauveteau, G. and
Boutéca, M.: “Acid Filtration in Dynamic
1. Lund, K., Fogler, H.S., McCune, C.C., and Conditions to Mimic Fluid Loss in Acid
Ault, J.W.: “Acidization - II. The Dissolution of Fracturing,” paper SPE 38168 presented at the
Calcite in Hydrochloric Acid,” Chemical 1997 European Formation Damage
Engineering Science, Vol. 30 (1975) 825-835. Conference, The Hague, The Netherlands,
2. Lund, K., Fogler, H.S., and McCune, C.C.: June 2.
“Acidization - I. The Dissolution of Dolomite in 13. Buijse, M.A.: “Understanding Wormholing
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