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SPE 73703

Application of Two Methods to Evaluate Matrix Acidizing Using Real-Time Skin Effect
in Saudi Arabia
A.M. Al-Dhafeeri, SPE, T.W. Engler, SPE, New Mexico Tech., H.A. Nasr-El-Din, SPE, Saudi Aramco

Copyright 2002, Society of Petroleum Engineers Inc.


This paper was prepared for presentation at the SPE International Symposium and Exhibition
on Formation Damage Control held in Lafayette, Louisiana, 2021 February 2002.
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Abstract
The effectiveness of acid treatment is commonly evaluated by
a reduction in skin factor determined through pre-and/or postwell test analysis. However, mathematical models have been
developed to monitor the change in skin while injecting acid
and therefore obtaining real time skin values. This work
demonstrates the application of monitoring real change in skin
effect during the acid treatment with several field examples in
carbonate formation.
Two real-time monitoring methods1,2 were used to capture
the effect of treating fluids on the formation. The field
applications using the two methods were conducted on two
water injectors in Saudi Arabia to evaluate stimulation
performance with in-situ Gelled Acid systems. From the
calculated bottomhole pressure and injection rate, skin effect
was determined as a function of time. In this manner, the
effectiveness of acid injection into the formation
was estimated.
The Paccalonis method, which is a direct result of the
steady state assumption, was conducted to monitor the skin
factor during the acid job. The second method, by Prouvost
and Economides was also used to illustrate the effect of the
treating fluid on formation damage, but is based on transient
flow equations. Both methods can readily be included in acid
treatment monitoring; however, the latter method is preferred
due to the better agreement in the field cases.
This study provides a field application comparing the two
methods and demonstrates the ability to capture the effect of
diversion when the gelled acid increased viscosity in the
formation by a subsequent increase in skin, and also the
cleanup (decrease skin) that occurred when the regular acid

reacts with the formation. This study also helps field


engineers to ensure that no damage remains and no excessive
acid is injected. The benefits of applying these two methods
result not only in an operation cost reduction but also in a
higher return on the stimulation investments.
Introduction
The purpose of matrix treatment is to remove the damage
around the wellbore, therefore, the acid treatment should flow
through the porous rock matrix. To insure this goal, the
injection pressure must be adjusted to avoid formation
fracturing. In matrix acidizing treatments, it is extremely
important that the variations in skin effect are calculated
during the progression of an acid treatment on-site. The
application of a real-time technique to determine the skin
effect during matrix treatment would help in evaluating
stimulation performance and optimizing the treatment, as well
as any upcoming treatment in the same area. The methods
adopted in this study for accomplishing this real time
monitoring utilize the continuous measured bottomhole
pressure and acid injection rate during the course of the acid
treatment. Previous methods calculate the skin effect by using
pressure buildup or falloff techniques. By applying the real
time monitoring technique to evaluate an acid treatment on
site, the effectiveness of the acid treatment can be assessed to
ensure that the acid is removing the damage from the
formation and no excess acid is being injected.
This paper proposes the use of real-time matrix acidizing
data in conjunction with real-time calculations. Benefits from
this work are the ability to monitor treatment performance and
make design modifications for future acid treatments in the
same formation. By providing the engineer with commonly
acquired information about the status of the treatment on-site,
the engineer has the ability to follow up and make an
appropriate decision regarding well treatment.
The objective of measuring the efficiency of an acid job is
to prove that the technical and economic components have
been completed. For many years, the only means to evaluate
the efficiency of an acidizing job on a production well was by
measuring the increase in the production rate or the
productivity index (PI). Acid stimulation is considered one of

A.M AL-DHAFEERI, T.W. ENGLER, H.A NASR-EL-DIN

the ultimate techniques for increasing productivity and


recovery from the entire exposed pay zone.
In this paper, application of two methods was used to
evaluate the acid treatment on-site using real-time skin effect
evolution technique. Both steady state and transient solutions
were applied on two-field cases from Saudi Arabia. Values of
the reservoir parameters, bottomhole treating pressure, and
injection rates are required for either method to produce
reasonably accurate skin effect values.
Fundamentals of Skin Effect Calculation
The skin effect has various meanings and uses. This value can
be calculated during the acid treatment, providing a
quantitative measure of the effectiveness of the overall job,
and whether to stop the treatment with zero skin factor or a
negative value of skin. The observation of skin trend can be
also be used to modify the program of acid treatment from the
original design based on the response of the well. For
example, if the skin value has become stable, there is no need
to add more acid because no benefit would be gained by
injecting the entire designed volume.
Skin effect measurement may be recorded during the
course of an acid treatment in order to assess the effect of the
fluid stages individually. This information could be used as a
reference for changing the stimulation fluid or the volumes
applied on following treatments. In addition, it could also be
used to evaluate the effectivness of diverting stages required to
distribute the treating fluid more uniformly across the
damage intervals.
Real-Time Skin Monitoring Techniques
Several techniques for real-time evaluation of matrix acidizing
have been presented over the years.1-3 Real-time monitoring of
the acidizing process has been shown to be an effective means
of optimizing matrix acidizing treatments, especially to help
the engineer in the field to determine when a sufficient volume
of acid has been injected. The real-time measuring concept is
based on the instantaneous injection rate and the
corresponding bottomhole pressure during acid pumping, from
which the evolving skin is determined during the course
of treatment.
Paccaloni1 presented a monitoring technique based on
steady-state Darcy flow during the course of an acid treatment.
Paccaloni assumed an acid bank radius, rb, of 4 ft to simplify
the calculations. Unfortunately, the majority of the pressure
drop occurs within this radius; therefore, this assumption leads
to an overestimation of the skin effect. In this work,
Paccalonis method was used to test the method's accuracy.
Paccaloni calculated steady-state skin factor according to:1
S (t ) =

r
0.00708khp
+ ln b
re
.q i

(1)

Prouvost and Economides2 presented an improved method


to determine the changing skin factor during matrix acidizing.

SPE 73703

They simulated the transient pressure response that would


occur with the injection rate schedule used during the
treatment. The difference between the actual bottomhole
pressure during the treatment and simulated pressure is
attributed to skin factor. This technique can be applied as a
real-time monitoring method to calculate the skin factor
during the course of an acid treatment on site.
The method considers the pressure transient analysis
under infinite acting boundary and initial conditions:4

4kt
p(r , t ) = pi
ln
2
4kh
c r
t w

qi

(2)

Including skin effect and modifying to acid injection, the


equation becomes:4
p sim = pi +

162.6qi B
k
log t + log
3.2275 + 0.87 S o
2
kh

c r
t w

(3)

After changing the injection rate, the transient response would


follow a superposition relationship; the injection pressure for
one rate change would be:
p

162.6q B
k
i
log(t + t ) + log
3.2275 + 0.87 S +
o
2
kh

c r
t w

162.6 q q B

k
i2
i i
log t + log
3.2275 + 0.87 S o
2
kh

ct rw

= p +
sim
i

(4)

The difference between the simulated pressure and the


measured value is interpreted as due to the difference between
the actual skin value and the initial value used for
the simulation:2
S (t ) = S +
o

kh
p
(t ) p
(t , S ) (5)
meas
sim
o
5
2.34 x10 q i B

Field Cases Study


The real-time monitoring methods were applied for two power
water injectors in Saudi Arabia to evaluate stimulation
performance. The ultimate goal of the study is to optimize
subsequent treatments in the same field. Values of the
reservoir parameters, bottomhole treating pressure, and
injection rate are required for either calculation method to
produce reasonably accurate estimations of the skin effect.
Well Description
A large carbonate reservoir in Saudi Arabia has been
undergoing water injection to maintain the pressure and to
increase the sweep efficiency. Two power water injection
wells were selected as examples to verify this work. The two

SPE 73703

APPLICATION OF TWO METHODS TO EVALUATE MATRIX ACIDIZING USING REAL-TIME SKIN EFFECT IN SAUDI ARABIA

wells are vertical with 6 openhole completions over an


interval of nearly 200 ft. Wellbore volumes are 300 to 400
barrels. The reservoir contains 20 to 75 wt% dolomite, with a
permeability range of 50 to 100 md and a porosity varying
from 10 to 15%. The temperature of the formation is 100 to
120oF. Table 1 gives the chemical analysis of the treated
seawater, which is used for the injection.5
Treatment Description
The treatment objective was to remove the damage near the
wellbore in the openhole section. Acid distribution has a
strong impact on the performance of the stimulation treatment;
therefore the formation was treated with alternating stages of
regular acid (15 wt%) HCl and in-situ gelled acid. Increasing
the acid viscosity in-situ resulted in a high efficiency of acid
diversion into the formation. In contrast, injecting a regular
acid (15% HCl) in the treatment without using in-situ gelled
acid results in poor acid distribution and less depth of
penetrating wormholes into the formation. Table 2 presents
the analysis of field mixing water, which was used as a
preflush and overflush in order to displace the matrix acid into
the formation.
Well A
Well A is a water-injection well located in Saudi Arabia. This
well was completed with 202 feet of open hole into a
limestone zone. Well A was damaged since the beginning of
injection and the acid treatment was proposed to restore the
injectivity. A pre-stimulation well test confirmed the damage
condition with a skin value of +4.5. This well was treated with
a total of 249 bbls of 15wt% regular acid (HCl) and 213 bbls
of in-situ gelled acid at an injection rate of 25 bpm. Table 3
shows the treatment program for well A.
Figure 1 shows the skin values during the acid treatment
as calculated by both modified Paccalonis Technique and
Prouvoust & Economides Technique. The value of the initial
skin effect, So, as calculated by the modified Prouvost &
Economides Technique was 4, while the value obtained
through modified Paccalonis Technique was 6.3. It appears
that the steady-state pressure calculation method of the
modified Paccalonis Technique results in an over prediction
of the true skin effect during the entire course of injection.
This is because the steady-state pressure drop has a value
higher than the pressure drop in the infinite-acting transient
pressure. In this case, it is clear that the measurement by
transient pressure assumption was close to the actual
calculation by well testing. The progression of the curve of
skin effect by modified Paccalonis method shows that the
damage started to decline slowly, but by midtreatment (Stages
2, 4, and 6), it exhibited an upward trend indicating the acid
was damaging the formation. Damage associated with gelled
acid was caused by the change in injected fluid viscosity as it
entered the formation. This increase in fluid viscosity caused
a precipitate to form when the pH value increased as the acid
reacted with the formation, resulting in cross-linking of the
polymers. Moreover, the polymer present in the in-situ gelled
acid can form an external filter cake that causes a skin effect

increase.
This damage can be observed in the skin
calculations from the steady-state equations6.
The modified Prouvost & Economides Technique was
also able to predict the change of skin effect during the acid
treatment. For example, in stages 2,4, and 6, an increase in the
skin effect due to the cross-linking reaction was observed.
This increased skin effect was then removed by injecting the
15 wt% HCl into the formation, as seen by the decrease in skin
effect in stages 3, 5, and 7.
Figure 2 shows the calculated bottomhole pressure and
injection rate recorded by the service company during the
treatment. It indicates that an increase in bottomhole pressure
during the entire acid treatment occurred when in-situ gelled
acid was injected into the formation. For the majority of the
treatment, the calculated bottomhole pressure was maintained
between 3800 psi and 4700 psi by either increasing or
decreasing the injection rate. It is interesting to note that as
the flow rate remains constant, the bottomhole
pressure increases.
Figure 3 shows the difference in calculated skin effects
between the two modified methods during the treatment.
From the figure, it can be observed that the difference in
calculated skin effects ranges mostly between 1.5 and 2.5.
This difference in calculated skin effect arises from the fact
that Paccalonis method assumes a steady-state pressure
behavior while the original Prouvosts method assumes a
transient pressure behavior.
Well B
Well B is a water-injection well located in Saudi Arabia. Well
B was open hole completed with a 236 ft limestone injection
zone. This well was treated with a total of 314 bbls of 15 wt%
HCl and 214 bbls of in-situ gelled acid. The original acid
treatment program for this well can be found in table 4. The
initial skin effect before conducting the acid treatment was
+10. This value was obtained through well test analysis
before the acid treatment. This high value of skin effect
indicated that well B had severe formation damage.
Figure 4 illustrates the progression of the skin effect
during the course of the acid treatment. The initial value of
skin started with a value of 15.24 by modified Paccalonis
Technique and 10.1 by modified Prouvost & Economides
Technique. The actual value of skin, which was measured by
well testing analysis before the acid treatment, was 10.
Therefore, it is in agreement with the modified Prouvost &
Economides Technique. The results from this technique
matched the well testing results because the transient pressure
response is accounted for in the modified Prouvost &
Economides Techique. The periods of increasing skin effect
were due to the formation of gelled acid (stages 2, 4, 6) in the
formation. The increased viscosity of the gelled acid due to
the cross-linking reaction resulted in the treating fluid being
more uniformly distributed across the damaged intervals.
Diversions in this treatment were effective, as indicated by the
apparent skin effect increasing after each injection of the
diverting agent. This increased skin effect was then removed
by introducing the 15 wt% HCl into the formation, as seen by

A.M AL-DHAFEERI, T.W. ENGLER, H.A NASR-EL-DIN

the rapid decrease in skin effect in stages 3, 5, and 7 in figure


4. The reduction of skin effect is a result of the HCl
dissolving the cross links in the gel. In stage 7, the removal of
damage was immediate and dramatic. The skin effect value
dropped to 1.2. The rate of the damage removal during this
stage indicated that the formation damage in this well was
localized in the very near wellbore region, within several
inches into the formation.
It is observed from the response curve in Figure 4 that the
damage mechanism was clearly dissolved by the HCl in stage
7. It reached a minimum skin value of 1.2. However, the skin
effect value increased in stage 8 when the UER water was
introduced. The main reason for the increase of skin effect in
stage 8 was due to the incompatibility of UER water with the
formation water.
This incompatibility resulted in the
deposition of scale in the formation. Although the acid
volume used in stage 7 was sufficient to remove the near
wellbore damage, the use of the UER water resulted in redamaging of the formation. It is likely that the damage could
have been avoided by using an overflush that matched the
formation water composition. This example demonstrates the
ability of the two methods to provide real-time skin effect
calculations and also to show the effect of the treating fluid on
the formation.
Figure 5 shows the flow rate and the bottomhole pressure
during real-time monitoring of the acid treatment. The service
company provided this record. The flow rate profile did not
change significantly during the acid treatment. Figure 5
shows that the flow rate profile remained between 15 and 25
bbls/min. The result from the injection rate was more reliable.
A direct relationship exists between the bottomhole pressure
and injection flow rate.
Figure 6 shows the difference in calculated skin effects
between the two modified methods during the real-time
monitoring of the treatment. It can be observed that the
difference in calculated skin effects remains at an average
value of nearly 3. As previously stated, this difference in
calculated skin effect arises from the fact that Paccalonis
method assumes a steady-state pressure behavior while
Prouvosts method assumes a transient pressure behavior.
Conclusions
The results obtained from the study can be summarized as
follows:
1. An application of real-time monitoring of skin effect has
been developed to help operations in the field.
2. Two methods permit a continuous measurement of skin
effect, however, the steady-state calculation consistently
yields an overprediction of the skin effect during the acid
treatment.
3. By monitoring skin throughout the acid treatment, it is
possible to identify particular fluids (or stages), which are
incompatible with the reservoir as evidenced by increasing
skin trend.
4. The effectiveness of diversion techniques during a
multistage treatment can be evaluated and modified for
future applications.

SPE 73703

Acknowledgments
The authors would like to thank Dr. Geir Hareland for his
guidance and useful discussions. Thanks are also due to the
professional and technical staff of the Department of
Petroleum Engineering at New Mexico Tech. The authors
appreciate the great efforts and contribution made by Saudi
Aramco (R&D Center).
References
1. Paccaloni, G.: New Method Proves Value of Stimulation
Planning, OGJ. (Nov. 26, 1979) 61-65.
2. Prouvost, L.P., and Economides, M.J.; Application of
Real-Time Matrix Acidizing Evaluation Method, Paper
SPE 17155 (November 1989) 401-7.
3. Mcleod, H.P. and Coulter, A.W.: The Stimulation
Treatment Pressure Record-An Overlooked Formation
Evaluation Tool, JPT (August 1969) 952-960.
4. Earlougher, R.C.: Advances in Well Test Analysis, SPE
Monograph Volume 5, Dallas, TX (1977) Chap. 2.
5. Taylor, K.C. and Nasr-El-Din, H.A.: Flowback Analyiss
of Acid Stimulation of Seawater Injection Wells: Case
Histories paper SPE 58736 presented at the 2000 on
Formation Damage held in Lafayatte, Lousiana, 23-24
February.
6. Lynn, J.D. and Nasr-El-Din, H.A.: A Core Based
Comparison of the Reaction Characteristics of Emulsified
and In-Situ Gelled acid in Low Permeability, High
Temperature, Gas Bearing Carbonates paper SPE 65386
presented at the 2001 Oilfield Chemistry, held in Houston,
Texas, 13-16 February.
Nomenclature
B
= Formaton volume factor, rbbl/stb
BHP = Bottomhole pressure, psi
ct
= Total compressibility, psi-1
h = Reservoir thickness, ft
=
Intial reservoir pressure, psi
pi
pmeas =
Measured bottomhole injection pressure, psi
psim =
Simulated pressure response, psi
qi
=
Injection rate,bpm
rb
=
Acid bank radius, ft
re
=
Effective wellbore radius, ft
S
=
Skin factor , dimensionless
So : =
Initial skin factor, dimensionless
t = Time, hour
p = Difference pressure between intial reservoir
pressure and well flowing pressure, psi
t = Time difference, hour
= Acid viscosity, cp
= Porosity, fraction
= Euler constant

SPE 73703

APPLICATION OF TWO METHODS TO EVALUATE MATRIX ACIDIZING USING REAL-TIME SKIN EFFECT IN SAUDI ARABIA

Table 1: Typical Chemical Analysis of Treated


Seawater Used for Injection 5

Table 2: Analysis of Field Mixing Water for Two


wells5

Variable
Sodium, mg/L
Calcium, mg/L
Magnesium, mg/L
Sulfate, mg/L
Chloride, mg/L
Carbonate, mg/L
Bicarbonate, mg/L
Total dissolved solids, mg/L
pH
Density, g/cm3 at 60 oF
Iron, mg/L

Variable
Bicarbonate, mg/L
Calcium, mg/L
Carbonate, mg/L
Hydroxide, mg/L
Magnesium, mg/L
Sodium, mg/L
Chloride, mg/L
Sulfate, mg/L
Total dissolved solids, mg/L
Density @60 oF, g/cm3
pH
Total dissolved iron, mg/L
Conductivity @ 25oC,
micromhos

Value
16,870
700
2,040
4,150
30,040
0
160
53,960
7.5
1.0418
<0.01

Table 4: Treatment Program for Well B.

Table 3: Treatment Program for Well A.


Stage
No.
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9

Fluid Type
Pre-flush
Field Mixing
Water
In-Situ
Gelled Acid
15 wt% HCl
Acid
In-Situ
Gelled Acid
15 wt% HCl
Acid
In-Situ
Gelled Acid
15 wt% HCl
Acid
Overflush
Field Mixing
Water
Displacement

Total
15 wt% HCl
Total In-Situ
Gelled Acid

= 249
bbls
Acid =
213
bbls

Pre-flush

Stage
No.
1

12.4

Diverter

71

14.9

71

14.9

Acid
Treatment
Diverter

83

17.4

83

17.4

Acid
Treatment
Diverter

95

20

Acid
Treatment
Overflush

Displacement
(Sea water)

Volume
(bbls)
230

Volume
(Gal/ft)

59

100
190
52.3
gal/ft
44.7
gal/ft

Remarks

Value
210
137
0
0
48
210
371
270
1257
1.0011
8
1
2040

Fluid Type
Pre-flush
Field Mixing
Water
In-Situ
Gelled Acid
15 wt% HCl
Acid
In-Situ
Gelled Acid
15 wt% HCl
Acid
In-Situ
Gelled Acid
15 wt% HCl
Acid
Overflush
Field Mixing
Water
Displacement

Volume
(bbls)
300

Volume
(Gal/ft)

Remarks

60

12.4

Diverter

71

14.9

71

14.9

Acid
Treatment
Diverter

83

17.4

83

20

Pre-flush

95

Acid
Treatment
Diverter
Acid
Treatment
Overflush

100
389

Displacement
(Sea water)

Total
15 wt%
HCl

=
314 bbls

56.4
gal/ft

Total In-Situ
Gelled Acid

Acid =
214 bbls

38.4
gal/ft

A.M AL-DHAFEERI, T.W. ENGLER, H.A NASR-EL-DIN

Fig. 1: Real-Time Monitoring of Matrix Acidizing in Well A.

Fig. 3: The Difference in Skin values Between Paccaloni


and Prouvost & Economides Methods for Well A.

Paccaloni method
Prouvost method

9
1 2 3

5 6 7

9
S(Paccaloni)-S(Prouvost)

Skin effect

3
2
1

HCl

Gelled HCl
Acid

0
0

10

20

Gelled Acid

Gelle Acid

Field Mixing water

Field
Mixing
HCl
Sea
water
Water

30

40

50

60

Flow rate, bbl/min


Bottomhole pressure
4900

45

40

4700

35

15

Gelled HCl

Gelled

HCl

HCl

4500

Field Mixing Water

20

Gelled

Field Mixing Water

Flow rate, bbl/min

30

seawater
4300

4100

3900

10
3700

5
0

3500
0

10

15

20

25
Time, min

30

35

40

45

50

Bottomhole pressure, psi

1.5

0.5

0
10

20

30

Time, min

Fig. 2: Flow Rate and Bottomhole Pressure for Well A.

2.5

Time, min

25

SPE 73703

40

50

SPE 73703

APPLICATION OF TWO METHODS TO EVALUATE MATRIX ACIDIZING USING REAL-TIME SKIN EFFECT IN SAUDI ARABIA

Fig. 4: Real-Time Monitoring of Matrix Acidizing in Well B.

Fig. 6: The Difference in Skin values Between Paccaloni


and Prouvost & Economides Methods for Well B.

Paccaloni's Metod

1 2

Skin Difference between Two Methods

HCl

Gelled Acid
HCl

10

15

20

S(Paccaloni) - S (Prouvost)

Gelled Acid

Field Mixing

HCl

Field Mixing Water

Gelled Acid

Skin effect

Prouvost's Method
24
22
20
18
16
14
12
10
8
6
4
2
0

Sea
water

25

30

35

Time, min

5
4
3
2
1

Fig. 5: Flow Rate and Bottomhole Pressure for the Well B

0
0

Flow rate
Bottomhole pressure

12

5000

4500

20

HCl

Gelled

HCl

seawater

HCl

Field Mixing Water

10

Gelled

4000
Field Mixing Water
Gelled

Flow rate, bbl/min

25

15

3500
3000

2500
0

10

15

20

Time, min

10

15

20

Time, min

25

30

35

Bottomhole pressure, psi

30

25

30

35