SPE 30320

Mechanisms of Formation Damage and Permeability Impairment Associated With the Drilling, Completion and Production of Low API Gravity Oil Reservoirs
D.B. Bennion, F.B. Thomas,D.W. Bennion and R.F. Bietz Hycal Energy Research LaboratoriesLtd

ABSTRACT The economicproduction of heavy oil reservoirsrequiresan indepth understandingof the specific mechanismsof fonnation damagewhich are unique to these types of formations. This paperwill provide a brief descriptionof someof the dominant mechanisms permeability impainnentwhich can occur in low of API gravity oil-producing zones. Theseinclude: Drilling induceddamage solids entrainment fines migration rock/fluid incompatibilities fluid/fluid incompatibilities Reactiveclay induceddamage Formationof emulsions(water-oil, oil-water) Foamy oil phenomena Sandcontrol and consolidationissues Completion induced damage,acidizing, solvent injection, etc. Thennally inducedformation damage mineral transformations mineral and formation dissolution wettability alterations Biologically inducedformation damageissues


Formation damage issues peculiar to the drilling and completionof horizontalwells in heavyoil producingmnes.

This paperprovidesa generaloverview of many of the potential types of fonnation damage which drilling, production and reservoirengineers well asgeologistsandgeophysicists as should be awareof when planning exploitation programsfor heavy oil plays. INTRODUCTION Heavyoil reservoirspresenta unique challengeto reservoirand exploitation engineers they exhibit propertiesnot commonly as found in normal more conventionalAPI gravity oil reservoirs. Theseinclude:
Properties associated directly with the heavy oil such as high asphaltene(and possibly paraffm) content, extreme viscosity, solids content and a propensity to fonn stable water in oil or gas in oil emulsions.

. . . .

1 3 4.

. . .

2 Many heavyoil producingfonnationsarecontainedin poorly
consolidated unconsolidated or sandstone fonnationsin many locationsin the world. Theseparticulartypes of formations posetheir own particularchallenge with respect contentof to reactive clays, potentially mobile fines, mineral transformationsand the physical problems associated with sand retention and control during nonnal production operations.

References illustrations at end of paper and

Bennion et al(7) provides a detailed discussion of gravel pack sizing criteria for the Rosary sands in the Battrum reservoir.potentially mobile clays can be stabilizedthroughthe use of chemical clay stabilization treatmentswhich have been describedby a number of authors(l). . openhole gravel packs. as well as velocity of the fluids flowing in the interstitial space.Due to the relatively high penneability of most low API producing gravity oil horizons. in many situations over the years. The authors also postulated. Finesmigration is controlled by a number of factors including wettability of the porousmedia (fines generallytend to migrate fairly exclusively in the phase that wets the rock). based on results in both Canadian and Bakersfield heavy oil producing operations. This phenomena illustrated in Figure 1. A number of different authors have investigated gravel packing as a technique for sand retention(3. in-situ fmes and particulates. formation consolidation treatments. This study illustrates significant reduction in gravel pack permeability and ultimate well productivity is achieved if poor gravel pack sizing is selected which allows the physical invasion of produced particulates and fines from the formation into the gravel pack. near wellbore consolidation and sand control problems were much less problematic resulting in significantly (500%) greater productivity on the post-gravel packed wells. frac and pack treatments. have also been observed in this type of reservoirapplication. etc.fluid loss control agentsor artificial bridging agents) or naturally occurring drill solids (silicate. Figure 2 provides a schematicillustration of the mechanismof solids entrainment into homogeneous matrix type systems which are commonly encountered most heavy oil applications. in Solids invasion is a common occurrence which happensduring overbalanced drilling and completion operationsdue to the fact that the hydrostatic pressurein the circulating fluid system is usuallygreaterthan the formation pressure. Poresizedistribution and is size of fines. in some situations. with varying degrees of success. oil productivity also tends to be significantly reduced. if invasive formation damage and near wellbore disturbance could be minimized during the original drilling and completion operations. General consensus among operators often is that. ranging from reducing apparent velocity by utilization of openhole completions. that many of the problems associated with restricted gravel pack production may be related to near wellbore disturbance and damage phenomena associated with problems in the original drilling and completion operations.and provide indicationsof potentialtechniques which may be considered attemptto reduceor eliminatesomeof the to concerns associatedwith these particular formation damage mechanisms. A variety of techniques to retain sand such as pre-packed screens. Heavy oils occurring in carbonate reservoirsare also not immune to fines migration phenomenaas documented instances of the migration of dolomite or carbonate fines.Thesecould include clays suchaskaolinite.thesebeing: Mechanicallyinducedfonnatjon damage Chemjcally inducedfonnation damage Biologically inducedfonnation damage Thennally inducedfonnation damage 2. weighting agents. etc. carbonate. 3. have been attempted. Each of thesewill now be discussed greaterdetail in Mechanically Induced Formation Damage Mechanisms PhysicalMi2ration of In-Situ Fines Many heavy oil reservoirsare clastic formations which contain a high concentrationof potentially mobile.2 MECHANISMS OF FORMATION DAMAGE & PERMEABILITY IMPAIRMENT SPE 30320 ASSOCIATED WITH DRilLING. It was discovered that. dolomite or other fonnation fines) into the formation. 4.also strongly control the severity of problems associatedwith fmes mobilization. detrital rock fragments.6). ~AJOR HEAVY OIL FORMATION RESERVOIRS ---- DAMAGE MECHANISMS IN Major formation damage mechanisms heavyoil reservoirscan in be subdividedinto four major classifications. pyrobitumen or other potentially mobile materials. when sand production is significantly reduced. Solids Entrainment Phenomena - This paperwill attemptto quantify in a brief descriptivemanner many of the common mechanisms formation damagewhich of should be consideredwhen drilling and completing heavy oil reservoirs. COMPLETION & PRODUCTION OF lOW API GRAVITY Oil RESERVOIRS SandControl and ProductionIssues A major problem associated with the production of heavy oils and bitumens from many low API gravity crude oil reservoirs is the fact that it is very difficult to produce the bitumen without producing large quantities of entrained formation fines and sand. pyrobitumen. selective fracturing jobs or. this results in relatively large pore throats and a significant propensityfor the physical invasion of both artificial solids (ie. Fines migration can be controlled in a number of fashions in heavy oil reservoirs.

sized salt.B. an acceptable stimulation technique is available to remove the bridging agent without damagingthe formation. they may susceptible a non-pennanent to phenomenawhich is called an aqueousphase load. In many situations. This phenomena is illustrated in Figure 3. Figure 4 provides a schematicillustration of relative permeability curvesshowing the mechanism of an aqueousphase trap in an oil or gas situation. etc. can be avoidedby ensuring that filtered injection water is filtered to a size distribution of particulatesof lessthan approximately200/0 the medianpore of throat size diameterof the target formation. Strict filtration criteria must be maintained in order to avoid long-termplugging of the sandface by suspended solids. filtering out the majority of the entrainedsolids in an arearelatively closeto the wellbore. Bennion. Bietz 3 In general. the remaining zone of high skin induced by the invasion of artificially or naturally occurring drill solids remains a problematic barrier to production and must be physically produced through. This may result in impairedproductivity for a period of time andhence. if a cased and perforated completionis beingcontemplated. therebyinhibiting continuallosses small solidsand of potentially damaging mud filtrate into the fonnation. This problem can be obviatedin many situationsby appropriate designof a fluid systemwith the appropriate size distribution of granular bridging agents to create an effective. This createsan adverse relative permeabilityeffect in the highly water saturated zone which results in a significant reduction in the apparent relative penneability to oil.it is documented that invasive solids damage extend can a significantly greaterdistanceinto the fonnation. In this type of situation. F. Figure 5 provides a schematicexample showingdie relative severity of potential aqueous phasetrapsas a function of initial water saturationand permeability in porous media. tend to be either openhole. Past experience with laboratorystudiesand field studiesindicatesthat this particularmechanism formationdamage manyopenhole of in horizontal wells which have been completed in low API producing reservoirs plays a significant role in reducing productivity.due to the high permeability pre-existing in heavyoil reservoirs. This phenomena generally (if it is not accompanied with other damagemechanismssuch as the fonnation of emulsions. asperforationcharges will usually penetrate well beyond this radius. oil soluble resins. A. Thomas. sealing.many studiesconductedindicate that the fonnation acts very much like a large filter element. This phenomena further illustrated in Figure 2. relatively shallowamountof a invasivefonnation damage(less than 2 cm in depth) is usually not significant. In this situation.SPE 30320 D. Also.although permanent reductionsin penneability in heavy oil reservoirsdue to die establishment aqueous of phasetraps. is A variety of bridging agents are available for this purpose. Bennion(9. If a low penneability heavy oil play at a low water saturationis under consideration. Bennion(l) provides additional criteria with respect to water filtration and water quality concernsassociatedwith water injection and disposal operations. if extremely high permeability formations are encountered. Another potential mechanism of permeability impairment associatedwith solids entrainment can occur during water injection or water disposaloperationsin heavy oil applications.particularly with respectto horizontal wells.fines migration or clay reactions)canbe graduallycleaned over a period of time if a sufficient pressure up gradientcanbe mobilized within the formation over the invaded zoneto producedie fluid back to the wellbore. and therefore becomes of much greater significance with respect to impaired productivity. Care should be taken in the selection of a bridging agent with respect to the completion practices proposed the well to ensure for that.slotted liner or gravel pack type completions.W. short or medium term reductions in production rates can be readily apparent when wells areunnecessarily killed or subjected high to amountsof invasion with water-basedfluids.F. may occur.or if drilling and completion in highly overbalanced conditions in a pressure depletedformation occurs. 2 The majority of heavy oil reservoirs exhibit high permeabilityandporositycharacteristics correspondingly and low apparentcapillary pressures which also tend to reduce the propensityof damage associated with permanent aqueous phasetrapping. Relative PenneabilitvEffects Watertrappingand retentionor aqueous phase trapping (APT) is not usually considered be a significant permanent to problem in many heavyoil reservoirsdue to the fact that: The majority of heavy oil reservoirsexist at some initial watersaturationcomparable what would be considered to the ultimate irreduciblewater saturation. including calcium carbonate. Generalscreening criteria suggests the long-termbuildup of that an external stable filter cake causing significant reductions in penneabilityduring water injection. if pennanent entrainment of the bridging agent does occur.B. care should be taken to avoid . Bennion.a substantialamountof water-based fluid is lost to die fonnation directly adjacent to the wellbore. D. cellulosic materials. However. a large numberof completionsin heavyoil reservoirs. The lower the penneabilityof the fonnation. In general. impermeable filter cake very rapidly upon the face of the fonnation.the more significantthe propensity of aqueousphase trapping and permanentretention of water problems becomes.IO) further discussthis phenomena.

There has also been someevidencethat the stable interfacesbetween the gas and oil phasesin the foamy oil emulsions can act as transportation sites for small fines which may exacerbate problems with fines migration. Foamy Oil Phenomena Considerable interest has been expressed recentyears in the in generationof stablefoamy oil emulsions. temperature has conditionsand oil compositionwhich existsin the reservoir.both at downholeand surfaceconditions. Foamy oil emulsions are created due to the high inherent viscosity andinterfacialtensioncharacteristics exhibitedbetween gasandcrudeoil. has been documented to cause significant reductionsin the apparent productivity and overall permeability to oil. due to both the difficulty in separating produced water and heavyoil emulsionsprior to re-injection and the tarry nature of heavy crude oils and their ability to rapidly wet and fonn high residualoil saturationsin porousmedia.asboth a mechanism the increased for and. The major problem associated with the formation of water in oil emulsions is the extremely high viscosity exhibited by these fluids. the radical expansioneffect causedby the entrapment the residualgassaturationis partially counteracted of by reducedproductivity and permeabilityimpairmentassociated with the entrainmentof the foamy oil.1400 kPa. been a function of the oil gravity. Some examplesin recent laboratory evaluations illustrated produced emulsion from Battrum areaftrefloods with reservoirtemperature viscositiesin the rangeof approximately3S 000 mPa. General researchat Hycal indicates that a certain critical threshold pressuremust be exceededto generatethe formation of a true foamy oil emulsion. the introduction of potentially damagingaqueousphasefluids into the formation. Over four orders of magnitude increasesin viscosity caused the generationof stable water and oil emulsionshas by been documentedin the literature. This also results in increased pressuredrawdownsand gradientsnear the weUbore. Bennion(IS) discusses fonnation of emulsionsinthe situ at elevatedtemperatures porous media.asphaltenes resins. iron sulphide.in somecases. In orderto eliminateconcerns with skim oil injection. Research generallyindicatesthat. Upon the formation of a stablegasin oil emulsion. althoughemulsions do tend to fonn in-situ in porous media. the majority of the extremely tight and highly viscous emulsions that are often encounteredon surface appear to be generatedin downhole pumping and surfacetransferequipment. sand transport and formation consolidation. and the lessproblematicoilto in-water emulsion. The fonnation of emulsionsdownhole results in the generation of a high viscosity block which canimpair fluid flow towardsthe wellbore. aspressures reduced are below the bubblepoint pressure. Further infonnation on this phenomenais contained in Bennion(l).can be entrappedin the porous media as a residual oil saturation. Emulsions Emulsions are a problem associatedwith many heavy oil operationswhere both oil and water are simultaneouslybeing produced.ratherthan a nucleated solution wherefree oil droplets can coalesce and. Therefore.4 MECHANISMS OF FORMATION DAMAGE & PERMEABILITY IMPAIRMENT SPE 30320 ASSOCIATED WITH DRilLING. and and a variety of organic acids and cyclic and aromatic hydrocarboncompounds.but generallyfalls in the pressure rangeof approximately700 . suspended oil in water content should be kept lessthan 100 ppm with the suspended being injected as a finely divided oil in water oil emulsion. paraffins.two different types of emulsionsare possible. past in experience. This increasein viscosity. particularly if the targetedinjection zoneis an aquiferor entirely water saturateddisposal zone.a large portion of gas which would otherwise be liberated as free gas remainsentrappedin the oil in an emulsion form. In-situ viscosity measurements indicate that foamedoil emulsionscan exhibit significant increasesin apparentviscosity due to the entrainmentof the gas in solution. and as a critical free gas saturationwithin the .which tends to be the most problematic as it exhibits very high apparent viscosity in comparison cleanoil. A number of authorshave discussed foamy oil behaviotll-14). coupledwith the presence the gas saturationboth entrapped of within the oil.the presenceof sand. in With respectto water in oil emulsions. This phenomenais schematically illustratedasFigure6 and is especiallyproblematic with heavyoils.s. Waterin oil emulsionsaregenerated a numberof documented by phenomena including turbulence. This causes a reverse formation volume factor phenomenaand a rapid expansionin swelling of the crudeoil which is postulatedto be the primary mechanism associated with the high productionrates which are often associated with foamy oil reservoirs. Slugs of skim oil or enb'ajnedoil during water injection and waterdisposalcanalsohaveadverse relativepenneabilityeffects. silt or dispersed fines.sin comparison clean to oil viscositiesfrom the samefield of 190 mPa. This pressure. reducedproduction of oil from heavyoil reservoirs. andmay aggravate problemsassociated with sandcontrol. insteadof moving with the bulk injectedfluid stream. COMPLETION & PRODUCTION OF lOW API GRAVITY Oil RESERVOIRS porous media.the water-in-oil emulsion.

Paraffins are more problematic in some situations with heavy oils and are generally conuolled by reductions in temperature. In many situations. completion. temperature remains sufficiently high enough to inhibit the formation of crystalline waxes. particularly in the presence high concentrations of of acid. Asphaltenes are typically destabilized by reductions in temperature and pressure or by contact with precipitative agents such as unsequesteredhydrochloric acid or a variety of organic materials such non-compatible oils or diesels or gaseous treating agents such as LPG or carbon dioxide gas. Mixed layer or smectitic clays (Figure 7) are susceptible swelling caused contactwith either low salinity to by or fresh water. Thomas(17. Kaolinite clay. chlorite and illite. Aerobic bacteria require a constant source of dissolvedoxygento survive and are usually only problematicin long-term water injection operations. by Another potentially significantly damaging mechanism of permeability impaimlent in unconsolidated sandstone reservoirs containing heavy oils is that of clay deflocculation. Bietz 5 A variety of other potential agents may result in the formation of stable in-situ emulsions. before any type of acidiZBtion or chemical stimulation b'eatment is attempted. The expansionof the smectitic or mixed layer lattice can causea constriction in the pore systemand result in substantial reductionsin permeability.producing heavy oil formations are inadvertently damaged by the use of low salinity or fresh water simply because preliminary petrographic analysis indicates an absenceof classical fresh water swelling clays such as smectite. Wax and AsohalteneProblems Many heavy crude oils contain a high concentration of aspbaltene. A. In many cases. can be susceptible to detlocculation induced damage and this can have significant results with respect to impaired productivity. as already mentioned.W. Bacterially inducedfonnation damageis a particularly insidious type of fonnation damagein that the apparentdeliterious effects of the introduction of the bacterial agentsare usually not readily apparent.but are of a delayedand usually significant onset. One of these agentswhich will be discussed greaterdetail later is hydrochloric acid which. It is only when the asphaltenes are destabilized and flocculate from solution as solid bodies that significant reductions in both in-situ penneability and plugging in surface production and treating equipment may become problematic.B. ThorT8S. A variety of other particulates. Clay Reaction Sinceof the majority of heavyoil producingformationsareoften containedin clastic formations. Bennion. Bennion. Most heavy crude oils do not naturally destabilize asphaltenes with nonnal reductions in temperature or pressure. Bacteriawhich can be problematicin heavyoil reservoirsfall into two types.SPE 30320 D. crude oils).mixed layer clays. Anerobic bacteriarequire no dissolved oxygen and tend to be more widespread and problematicin a numberof different scenarios. classifiedas aerobicand anaerobic. at reservoir temperature conditions.This may not necessarily a significant problem if be the asphaltenes peptized (suspended solubilized in the are or . including kaolinite clay. This phenomena been has well documented a number of authors(16). Detailed cloud and pour point measurements can be undertaken on produced heavy crudes to ascertain the precipitation characteristics of the crudes as well as solid hydrocarbon analysis to quantify the fraction of white vs black wax can be undertaken to ascertain whether wax treatments are better accomplished using thermal or chemical suppression treatment methods. Clay deflocculation is less well understoodthan clay swelling and represents disruption of electrostaticbondswhich are holding a the claystogetherin a boundor flocculatedstate.F. has a propensity to be susceptibleto velocity inducedmigration associated with high flow ratesand pressureshocks.11) provides additional insight into the methods of the prediction and mitigation of problems associated with solids precipitation in porous media. but may be fairly susceptible to the fonnation of asphaltic sludges when contacted with some of the aforementioned precipitative agents. D. F. Each of these particularclayshastheir own potentialsensitivity with respect to differenttypesofformation damage mechanisms. Biologically Induced Formation Damage Mechanisms Bacteriacanbe introducedinto the fonnation at any time during drilling. in a in spentfonn. a variety of different types of authigenicand detrital clays may be presentsuch as kaolinite. smectite. it is usually advisable to conduct extensive compatibility tests to ensure that the fonnation of either asphaltic based sludges or emulsions does not occur in-situ upon contact with the potential stimulation or treating fluid. stimulation or workover operationswhen aqueousphasefluids are utilized and improper bacteriological control is maintained. This phenomena is discussed in detail in the literature(8)and is schematically illustrated in Figure 8.B. can spontaneouslyemulsify with many heavy oils to generateextremely viscous emulsions which may result in a temporary or permanentblocking effect in the near wellbore region. paraffin problems tend to be more of a production issue rather than a downhole issue as generally. Abrupt contact with a pH shockor significant alterationin brine chemistry(such as the introduction of fresh or low salinity water) can causea disruptionof theseelectrostatic forcesand result in dispersionof the clays and subsequent migration and significant reductionsin permeabilitydue to blocking and bridging. Therefore.

Subsequent contact of fresh steam condensatewith the newly transfonned fresh water reactive clay can result in significant swelling and expansion and large reductions in apparent penneability of the pore system. the mineral saturated brine. but also any fluids used for drilling.bacteriaproduceextremelyhigh molecularweight polyacharridepolymer and fonn a biofilm upon the surface of the fonnation to protectthemselves from fluid shear. This is particularly beneficial in cyclic stearnflood projects where the mobility ratio Thermally Induced Formation Damage Thermally induced formation damage is a family of potential damage mechanisms which are unique to the production of heavy . Secondly. metabolize elemental sulphate which may be present in naturally occurring formation water or injection waters and create toxic hydrogensulphide gasas a by-product. The nature of mechanisms of thermally induced formation damage would fall into the following classifications: Mineral Transformations At temperatures in excess of approximately 200°C. This generally has favorable connotations in that the relative permeability to oil is generally increased while the relative permeability to water is reduced. thereby releasing previously immobilized fmes which subsequently migrate to pore throats and cause reductions in perDleability and productivity.bacteria. This can result in the dissolution of portions of the forDlation. Therefore. form small electrochemical cells which result in a hydrogenreduction reactionwhich causes corrosionand the pitting problemson surfaces suchasdownholetubing. This reaction has been documented by various authors(19. This adsorption is governed by temperature considerations. This is schematically illustrated in Figure 10. 2 Co"osion problems . encounterscolder forDlation material and subsequently cools and loses the ability to maintain the materials dissolved in solution. There are three major problems associatedwith the introduction and propagationof bacteriain porous media. This phenomena has been well documented in many thennal operations throughout the world. the potential for mineral transformations is present. completion.steamor in-situ combustionenhanced by oil recovery mechanisms.a particularly troublesome family of anaerobic bacteria. Firstly. A schematic illustration of both these phenomena appears as Figure 9. the best technique associated with biologically induced damage is to ensure continuous and diligent monitoring of surface and downhole bacterial levels using rapid detection field kits and an aggressive biocide and treating program for not only continuously injected fluids such as injection water. the amount of physical adsorption decreasesand many of the heavy polar constituents tend to be physically desorbed from the surface of the rock. Biological damage problems are extremely difficult to remediate. As temperature becomes higher. This generally results as temperature increases in formations tending to become more and more water-wet. COMPLETION & PRODUCTION OF lOW API GRAVITY Oil RESERVOIRS oil reservoirs hot water. 3. The physical adsorptionof this biofilm can causea significant reduction in injectivity or productivity of a given well over an extendedperiod of time.000 ppm havebeenillustrated in areassuchas of the EastWilmington field in California andthe Kuparik field in the North Slope in Alaska. the dissolution may dissolve partially soluble clasts of carbonaceous or silicate material. This results in re-precipitation of calcium. This HzSgas is highly soluble in oil or water and can be potentially toxic or lethal to human beings in concentrations greaterthan of approximately 1000 ppm. Oxidants such as bleach or peroxideare commonly usedto both reduceand desorbthe polymer and kill coloniesof growing bacteria. Documentedcasesof sulphate reducing bacteria producing in-situ HzS concentrationsin excess 20. Thesebeing: Plugging . Toxicityconcerns. Bacteria thrive best at a temperature range between approximately40°C to approximately70-800Cbut can actively propagate temperturesas low as 200Cand at temperatures at of up to 13SoCfor very hardy strains. when colonized on metal surfiM:es.6 MECHANISMS OF FORMATION DAMAGE & PERMEABILITY IMPAIRMENT SPE 30320 ASSOCIATED WITH DRilLING. as it moves further into the forDlation. workover or stimulation operations is rigorously implemented. particularly with sour gas once the gas has propagated a considerable distance into the reservoir. pumps and in surf~ facilities. magnesium or silicate based solids and the magnitude and location of this reprecipitation can also result in potential reductions in perDleability and productivity. This can have a twofold effect. This occurs when a relatively inert clay such as kaolinite is transfonned into a fresh water sensitive clay such as a smectite. Wettabilitv Alterations Wettability of porous media is strongly controlled by the physical adsorption of heavy polar constituents on the surface of the rock.Z0). SolubiliDtion and Precioitation Another potential mechanism ofthennally induced damage is that the solubility of both carbonates and silica increases in aqueous solution as temperature is elevated.sulphatereducingbacteria.

when steam temperature is achieved and the connate water layer present in the porous media is vaporized and removed.dueto depositionalenvironment. 4. particularly when spent and in the presenceof high concentrations of iron. with the use of 2. In general. If damage does occur. HeaVY Productionand Horiztonal Wells Oil Heavy oil production in many areasof the world has increased substantially in recent years with the advance of horizontal drilling. this is not a concern as at high temperature the viscosity reduction associated with the increased temperature with the injection water or steam is sufficient to overcome the corresponding reduction usually noted in the relative permeability. detailedcompatibility a program and an extensivedesign program and stagedacid job. the use of hydrochloric acid or hydrofluoric acid in predominately quartose heavy oil bearing reservoirs is not advised as a primary completion treatment due to the potential problems which can often be associated by adverse interaction of acid both with the fonnation and with the in-situ crude in the porous media. particularly in heavy oil applications. a portion of the residual oil saturation is allowed to directly contact the rock and establishes an oil-wet film on the surface of the formation. These problems would tend to include: A propensity for most acids. A. Conflicting evidence exists in the literature on the effect of temperatureon absolutepermeability. Additional detailed discussionon potential severity of permeability impairment . In this situation it is postulated that. Thomas. complete with pre-flush treatment of carbonaceous material. This causesa rapid transition from a strongly water-wet to a strongly oil-wet scenario and a large increase in the water phase relative permeability and subsequently degrades the performance of any type of a cyclic steam operation resulting in high produced water cuts and poor recovery to oil. F. 3.are either openhole or slotted liner type completions and production must occur through the damaged zone. This is often the case in many heavy oil situationswhere. D. Previously mentioned problems such as dissolution and reprecipitationcan also result in motion of in-situ particulatesand changes poregeometrywhich may haveincreasing reducing in or effects on the apparent absolute permeability of the porous media. In some situations. This phenomena has been documented in the laboratory on both a permanent and a transitory basis and is discussed in Bennion(19). In general. Acidiziol! in HeaVY Reservoirs Oil Well designed acid treabnents can be of benefit in some situtations when heavy oil reservoirsare being producedfrom carbonate dolomite fonnations or from sandstone or formations containing a high fraction of carbonaceous material. If the relative permeability to water is severely depressedby temperature induced wettability alterations. For this reason. eliminating the possibility for reproducible repeat control permeability measurements. should likely be conductedin order to minimize potentialconcerns associated with fluoride based precipitates. Even shallow invasive damagecan often be significant in horizontal wells due to the fact that the majority of horizontal wells. obtaining penetrating stimulation treatmentsis difficult and expensivedue to the size of the exposed areaand the limited ability to obtain zonal isolation in many situtationswhere slotted liners are present. Horizontal wells are more susceptible fonnation damagefor the following reasons: to Increased propensityfor invasion of both liquids and solids during overbalanceddrilling operations due to extended exposure times. to spontaneously emulsify with many heavy crude oils creating extremely high viscosity tight emulsions and asphaltic based sludges which tend to have a plugging effect in the porous media. Horizontalwells areparticularly susceptible a variety to of fonnation damage inducedmechanisms to their geometry due and completion characteristics. This generallyhas a moderateto slight reducingeffecton the effectiveabsolute permeabilityof the rock. Fonnation damageeffects are accentuated penneability by anisotropy effects in lower K to ~ penneability ratio fonnations. Bietz 7 is dramatically increased resulting in higher oil production on the production cycles. Potential precipitation problems associated hydrofluoric acid and reaction with carbonate or other potentialmaterialswhich arepresentin the porousmedia. however.increases in temperature result in an increase compression the grain to in on grain contactscausedby thermal expansioneffects associated with the porousmedia.SPE 30320 D. elevated temperature absolute permeability measurementsare difficult to conduct in a reproduciblefashion due to the fact that a considerable amount of permanentphysical alteration in the rock characteroccurs from the start to the conclusionof the test sequence. Bennion.W.B. If hydrofluoric acid is to be considered.B. Absolute PerDleabilitv Chane:es induced damage in unconsolidated sandstone fonnations. Bennion. it may result in reductions or restrictions in injectivity of hot water or steam into the formation.well designedhydrofluoric acid treatments havealso beeneffective in decomposingand removing clay and drilling 2. Generally. There have also been some isolated incidences of significant long-term wettability alterations caused by steamflooding operations.F.laminated vertical permeability barriers exist.

: "Stabilizing Clays With Potassium Hydroxide".: "Some Considerations in the Selection and Installation of Gravel Packs For Oil Wells". R.: "Sand Control Methods Using a Particulate Pack With External and Internal Particle Size Distribution Relationships". 1969)..F.D.. A proper understandingof the petrology and geology of the reservoir coupled with the flow characteristics the rock. .February7-10. 10. Thomas. Bennion.Diagnosis. W. Saucier. In the majority of operations in heavy oil.F. and Bennion. s. K.F. M.B. injectivity . R. paper CIM 95-69 to be presentedat the 46th Annual Technical Meeting of the Petroleum Society of CIM. COMPLETION & PRODUCTION OF lOW API GRAVITY Oil RESERVOIRS REFERENCES Sydansk.: "Field Test Results With Alkaline PotassiumSolutions to Stabilize Clays Pennanently". Bennion. in JPT (Aug.B.: "Water and Hydrocarbon PhaseTrapping in PorousMedia . completion. 9. CONCLUSIONS A wide range of different potential types of fonnation damage mechanisms have been discussed for heavy oil reservoirs.D. 1994. production or operation scenarios.J.S. emulsificationpotentialof of the crude oil and specific tests with relationship to pore size distribution and solid size distribution of the fluid systemsand composition of the fluid systems proposed for drilling. F . Bietz. Alberta. and Bietz. 1994)44. for pennission to publish this paper. O. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The authorswish to expressappreciationto the management of Hycal Energy ResearchLaboratories Ltd.: "Considerations Gravel Pack Design".F. A proper understanding of the rock character involved in a particular heavy oil reservoir coupled with a proposed fluid program and the interaction of the fluids and contained solids within the porous media is essential in understanding and minimizing potential problems associatedwith formation damage which will result in apparent reduction in the productivity or 7. Additional information on specificlaboratoryprocedures utilized for both conventionaland heavy oil formation damage operations is contained in the literature(2I-24).. Stein.J. Hill.8 MECHANISMS OF FORMATION DAMAGE & PERMEABILITY IMPAIRMENT SPE 30320 ASSOCIATED WITH DRilLING. paper SPE 27355 presented at the SPE Symposiumon Formation DamageControl. 434. Louisiana. API Drilling and Production Practice (1941) 134. C. and Wagner.B. R.E.B. ). Bennion. These have been broadly classified into the subclassifications of mechanical.W. 6. with respect to anisotropic permeability impainnent is containedin the referencesfll-24). JCPT (Nov.Preventionand Treatment". Patent 3.D. JPT (Aug. R..W.. D. paper CIM/AOSTRA 94-60 presented at the 46th ATM held June 1994. N. F. wettability... LaboratoryTeststo EvaluateFonnationDama2e Mechanisms in Heavy Oil Reservoirs A wide suiteof avajlablelaboratorytechnologyexiststo evaluate many of the potential fonnation damage mechanisms which have been discussedin this paper. O. completion or stimulation can be evaluated in controlled laboratorysituationsto obtain a significant degree confidence of in the proposed viability of specific drilling. 2. A Key Factor to Successful Waterflooding".205.R. B.M. JPT (Aug.Banff. 1938). Calgary. Thomas.B. biological and them1al1yinduced formation damage.: "Injection Water Quality. 540 (March 25. chemical. Bietz. 8. May 14-17.B.F. D. 1974). SPERE(May 1990) 143.: "Minimizing Formation Damage to Gravel Packs: Laboratory and Field Case Studies in the Battrum Field". Sanders. much of the formation damage is typified to be of the mechanical nature with physical invasion of solids and the formation of emulsions being some of the more problematic offenders in many operational situations. R. Bennion. 4. and Cimolai.B. Coberly. 1984) 1366. 1995. Thomas. and Thomson.: "Reductionsin the Productivity of Oil and Low Permeability Gas Reservoirs Due to Aqueous Phase Trapping". Alberta.: "FactorsAffecting The Useof Gravel in Oil Wells". Lafayette.F.S. Sloat. Bennion. U.

of Bitumen-Water Stable Emulsions in PorousMedia During Thermal Stimulation".Houston.B. . D.. 1993. Calgary.B. 21.F.W. HoK. G.W. paperCIM 95-46. W.Alberta.: "Procedures for Minimizing Drilling and Completion Damage in Horizontal Wells . JA. 1992).B. Thomas. et al: "Minimizing Formation Damagein Horizontal Wells: Laboratoryand Field CaseStudies". B.Lafayette. D. D. Feb. 1994..B. and Hirata. Bennion.. X.B. SPE 15094(1986). Beatty. 1S.B.Louisiana.B. R. McCaffery. Bennion.W. Bennion. 14.B. and Saltuklaroglu.E. 22. Sanna.B. 23.. Sarioglu. Loughead. presentedat the 3rd International Conference Horizontal Well Technology.: "Detailed Laboratory Studies of Chemically and Biologically Induced Formation Damage in the East Wilmington Field".D. 1994. Bennion. Moore. 1991. 24. 18. paper CIM 92-44 presented the at ATM of the Petroleum Society of CIM (May 7-10.Calgary.l. and George. paper CIM 93-16. Kraus. Alberta. et al: "Effective Laboratory Coreflood Teststo Evaluateand Minimize Fonnation Damagein Horizontal Wells". et al: "UnderbalancedDrilling of Horizontal Wells: Does It Really Eliminate Formation Damage?".B. Vol..Nov.Why So Unusual". 1993). June7-10.M.Calgary.. Alberta..Loujsjana. SPE 27352. Alberta. F.. D.E. Alberta.SPE 30320 D. paper ClM 93-46. presented at the 1993 Annual TechnicalMeeting.F. 12on 14. D. Scott. 19. D. D. Thomas. F. and Bennion.Eo: "Significance of Foam-Oil Behavior in Primary Productionof Heavy Oils". paper235.Texas.: "The In-Situ Fonnation J.. JCPT (1992). G. presentedat the SPFlCIM 4th Annual One Day Conference on Horizontal Wells. and Sheppard. 12. at Alberta. Bennion. Wansleeben. I. Thomas. Courtnage. Bennion. Calgary.M.: "Fonnation Damage Due to Mineral Alteration and Wettability ChangesDuring Hot Water Injection and SteamInjection in Clay-BearingSandstone Reservoirs".747.B. and Boyd.. Bennion. 16. Thomas. presented the 1993A TM (May 9-] 2.P. presented at the SPE Internatjonal Symposium FormatjonDamage on Control. D. 1992.. paper SPE23783 presented the 1992 Symposiumon at Formation Damage Control. February 26-27.D. Zhou. 1992). May 14-17. Nov.A. Hutcheon.: "Fluid Flow and Sand Production in Heavy Oil ReservoirsUnder Solution GasDrive". W. Hunter.: "Psuedo-Bubble Point Model for Foamy Oils". 20.: "Modelling of Solids PrecipitationFrom ReservoirFluids". paperCIM 92-77 presented at the CIM ATM..LaboratoryandField CaseStudiesin the Virginia Hills Belloy Sands". 1995. Alberta.Calgary. Lafayette. B.: "Experimentaland TheoreticalStudiesin Solids PrecipitationFrom PorousMedia". 22. Bennion. W. Chan.: "Lloydrninster Heavy Oil Production . T. Calgary. 2.. 1992. 7. May 9-12. Banff. 7-10.B.W. D.B.J. 1993 ATM. D. 4th UNITAR/UNDP Heavy Crude and Tar Sands Conference. et at: "A Comparison of Folmation Reactivity in Quartz Rich and Quartz Poor Reservoirs During Stearn-Assisted Thennal Recovery".F. D. Smith. paper CIM 93-45 presentedat the May 9-12. Bennion. 9th Oil Sands Technology Symposium (March 11.Bietz 9 Maini. A. G. and Jones. T. to be presentedat the 46th Annual Technical Meeting of the PetroleumSocietyof CIM.G. A. Bennion.



8dcIIkJfW dam8ge be~) mey almpatible n-.~ t. f I --+ "" +- Water &ms~ --- ....abIe~ die n FIGURE 8 MECHANISM OF CLAY DEFLOCCULATION -High 8aIk*Y -~ -~ .Low I8InIy -~ -DeIDcxxMI8d ~ . .0 H .FIGURE 7 EXPANSION OF SWELLING CLAYS Stabilized - Expended ~ted - Dehydrated ".-k_-tQnC! -- (N*:~ It8WkIg8 -diekIjed8cI ~ oils ~~ .H / t..-k_-tQnC! .