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From Matrix Acidizing to Acid

Fracturing: A Laboratory Evaluation

of Acid/Rock Interactions
B. Bazin, SPE, Inst. Franais du Ptrole

Acid fracturing and matrix acidizing are used as well-stimulation
processes for carbonated reservoirs. In matrix acidizing, a deep
penetration of wormholes around the well is required; in the acidfracturing process, fluid leak-off must be limited and wormholes
are prohibited. Laboratory tests are necessary to improve the
design of these operations.
Specific laboratory equipment was designed to reproduce
downhole flow conditions. Matrix acidizing is a constant flow rate
process, whereas acid in fracture is forced from the fracture wall to
the formation, a process occurring at a constant pressure drop. This
process was represented in the laboratory and a new tangential cell,
aiming at working with straight acids in reservoir temperature and
pressure conditions, was specially designed to handle this application. The first part of the paper presents a methodology for the
evaluation of acid/rock properties. Results of acid injections at
constant flow rates are compared to results obtained from injections at constant pressure drop. Experiments have been conducted
with limestone core samples of different petrophysical properties.
Performance of different acid formulations including straight
acids, emulsions, and gels was evaluated.
Results are discussed in terms of acid propagation rates and dissolution patterns. They are analyzed using x-ray computed tomography. They are classified into wormholes, i.e., branched patterns
of large extension, and compact ones. Finally, recommendations
are made concerning operating conditions favorable for matrix
acidizing. On the opposite, conditions are given to limit dissolution
and to restrict fluid loss for the acid fracturing application.
HCl is injected into carbonate formation routinely to improve oil
production. The porous medium is not etched uniformly; unstable
dissolution channels are formed. Control of the formation of these
channels, commonly called wormholes, is the key to the success of
the treatments. In matrix acidizing, deep, highly ramified wormholes are required whereas in acid fracturing, compact patterns at
the fracture walls are preferred. This paper has several aims. The
primary objective is to set up an experimental methodology for
comparing different acid fluids for two acidizing applications. For
the matrix acidizing process, we provide a methodology and a
frame of reference for the interpretation of wormhole propagation
rates. This framework provides possible guidelines for evaluation
of new products. For acid fracturing, new equipment is designed to
reproduce representative downhole conditions. They are used for
evaluation of basic properties of gelled acids: fluid leak-off and
wormhole propagation rate.
Dissolution patterns in limestone are classified as compact,
wormholes, or uniform, depending on the relative influence of
flow rate with respect to the overall reaction rate. For highly reactive fluids like HCl in limestone, the effect of flow rate on the dissolution pattern is dominant. Experiments supported by analysis of
dissolution mechanisms at the pore level give the following correspondence between flow regimes and dissolution patterns.1

Copyright 2001 Society of Petroleum Engineers

This paper (SPE 66566) was revised for publication from paper SPE 49491 presented at
the 8th Abu Dhabi Intl. Petroleum Exhibition and Conference, Abu Dhabi, U.A.E., 1114
October 1998. Original manuscript received for review 22 June 1999. Revised manuscript
received 23 March 2000. Paper peer approved 22 June 2000.


At low flow rate, the convection-limited regime leads to

compact pattern.
At intermediate flow rate, mass-transport-limited kinetics produces wormhole patterns.
At high flow rate, the surface-reaction-limited regime yields a
uniform dissolution pattern.
Most laboratory studies dealing with matrix acidizing show that
the efficiency of treatments goes through a maximum. This observation leads to the concept of optimum injection rate:2 it is the
acid injection rate corresponding to the minimum volume of acid
required for wormhole breakthrough. Microscopic descriptions are
not sufficient to describe overall propagation of wormholes in
porous medium and optimum flow rate. Because the geometry of
the system changes with time, transitions from the wormhole to
compact or the uniform regime are likely to occur. As a result,
wormhole propagation may stop. Two mechanisms at the origin of
wormhole growth termination have been proposed:3,4 (1) high consumption at wormhole walls, which limits acid concentration at the
wormhole tip for extension and (2) filtration losses through the
wormhole. In the first case, extinction is linked to a transition from
mass-transport-limited kinetics to the convection-limited regime
occurring at the wormhole tip; in the second case, it is the transition
from mass-transport-limited kinetics to the surface-reaction-limited
regime. These transitions are difficult to predict theoretically.
Validation of the modeling is difficult because most experimental
studies address a limited range and number of parameters. On the
other hand, new products5-7 are proposed and there is a lack of data
providing a frame of reference for comparing their properties to
commonly used acids. In this paper, we present results relating optimum injection rate to acid concentration, temperature, core length,
and permeability. The methodology and the results obtained with
straight acids then are used for evaluation of an acid in emulsion.
In acid fracturing applications, the rate of fluid leak-off through
the formation is one of the most critical factors affecting fracture
geometry and conductivity. It is believed that acid leak-off is the
major factor limiting fracture length and etching. Gelled acids are
used commonly in acid fracturing operations to reduce fluid leakoff. However, they do not perform correctly and there is a lack of
experimental data regarding the effectiveness of these products.
Experiments performed in a Hassler cell at constant flow rate are
not representative of fluid flow in the fracture geometry. Other
equipment has been designed for leak-off studies.8-10 Their main
drawback is the small core length allowed to acid filtration. Very
recently, a tangential cell previously developed to test fluid-losscontrol additives in conventional hydraulic fracturing11 has been
used for evaluation of wormhole-breakthrough times of gelled
acids.12 However, leak-off rates are not measured. In this paper, we
present specific equipment designed to reproduce downhole flow
conditions for evaluation of leak-off. This experimental device is
used to give an overall evaluation of acid fracturing fluids in
porous medium in terms of wormhole propagation rate, wormhole
distance, and leak-off rates. Moreover, we use x-ray tomography to
visualize dissolution patterns and to give information on conditions
leading to compact dissolution figures at the fracture wall.
The primary objective of the paper is to give a laboratory
methodology representative of fluid flow conditions for the matrix
and the acid-fracturing processes. In the first part, we focus on the
matrix acidizing process. We discuss acid propagation rates, wormhole patterns, and optimal injection rates depending on acid concentration, acid injection rate, and temperature. In the second part,
February 2001 SPE Production & Facilities

we present the experimental device used for the evaluation of acid

fracturing fluids. Fluid properties are discussed in terms of leakoff rates and dissolution figures at the core face. Finally, we give
recommendations for using acid in well treatments.
Matrix Acidizing
Optimum flow rate is the dominant concept in matrix acidizing.
After a rapid background on the optimum injection rate, the experiments give results on the variation of the optimum flow rate with
core length, concentration, and temperature. Analysis of the results
focuses on an understanding of the optimum flow rate. Based on
this study, recommendations are made in terms of laboratory
methodology to improve evaluation of new products. We point out
properties of an acid-diesel emulsion.
Fig. 1Effect of the injection rate on wormhole propagation.

Experimental Procedure and Data Analysis. Linear coreflood

experiments are performed using a Hassler cell. Limestone cores 5
cm in diameter and 5, 10, 20, or 40 cm in length are studied. Two
limestones are used: Lavoux limestone has a permeability of 5 md,
and Estaillades limestone has a permeability of approximately 200
md (Table 1). Acid fluid is injected axially through the core at a
constant flow rate. A pressure transducer monitors the pressure drop
along the length of the core. Pressure data are recorded every second in a computer file. A valve arrangement starts and ends the
experiment automatically. The CO2 reaction product is kept in solution by maintaining a minimum pressure with a pressure regulator.
As an example, pressure as high as 180 bar is required when using
15% HCl at 50C. The experiment is terminated when acid breaks
through the core, as evidenced by a negligible pressure drop.
Wormhole propagation rate is calculated from the volume of
acid injected expressed in pore volume. Dissolution patterns are
obtained by subtracting the initial x-ray image from the final one.
Experiments are performed at temperatures of 20, 50, and 80C.
HCl concentrations vary from 0.7 to 17-wt %.
Background on the Optimum Injection Rate. Previous studies
have shown the determinant effect of acid injection rate on the
wormhole propagation rate. The wormhole propagation rate is
reported as a function of the injection rate in Fig. 1. Curves of this
type have been reported in a large number of studies. We have
divided Fig. 1 schematically in three domains, depending on the
acid injection rate:
Region I: acid injection rate is low. The wormhole may form
but does not break through the core.
Region II: acid volume required to break through the core
decreases as injection rate increases.
Region III: acid volume injected increases with injection rate.
Wang2 defined the optimum injection rate as the acid injection
rate at the transition between regions II and III. At the optimum,
flow rate corresponds to the minimum volume of acid required for
wormhole breakthrough.
A previous study by x-ray tomography13 gives some insight into
the mechanisms of wormhole propagation and wormhole geometry
in Regions II and III. Wormhole formation and propagation were
visualized as acid injection proceeds. In an experiment at a low
injection rate (Region II), a rapid growth of the wormhole tip at the
beginning of acid injection was shown. Then, as acid injection continues, the wormhole extension in length occurs step by step with
stops and starts. At the same time, sever-branching occurs at the
wormhole tip with an increase of wormhole diameter. It is supposed that the wormhole growth process shifts from mass-transferlimited regime to convection or surface-reaction-limited growth.
The same experiment was made with an injection rate higher than
the optimum injection rate (Region III). In that case, a dominant
channel quickly forms and continues to propagate at a high rate.
February 2001 SPE Production & Facilities

Very fine ramifications around the main wormhole are formed; it is

supposed that wormhole growth occurs in the surface or fluid-losslimited regime. From these experiments it may be concluded that
the optimum flow rate is the minimum injection rate required to
develop the wormhole continuously, i.e., with maximum efficiency, in the mass-transfer-limited regime. At this optimum flow rate
corresponds a minimum volume of acid injected.
Optimum Flow Rate, Pore Volume to Breakthrough, and
Wormhole Propagation Length. Our purpose is to give more understanding on the optimum flow rate by studying the effect of core
length on the optimum flow rate. We performed experiments with
cores from 5 to 40 cm in length. Fig. 2 shows the value of the optimum flow rate increases with the core length in Lavoux limestone at
20C and HCl 7%. This means that propagation of a wormhole along
a 20-cm core length with minimum acid loss requires a higher acid
injection rate and a higher volume of acid in terms of pore volume.
When flow rate exceeds the optimum flow rate for the core of 20 cm
in length, the volume of acid for breakthrough, in normalized pore
volume, is no longer dependent on core length. Note that this is valid
only in Region III, i.e., when the wormhole develops in the masstransport-limited regime. This result gives an order of magnitude on
the acid volume required for wormhole extension. If wormhole propagation rates are compared at the optimum flow rate, results in Fig. 2
show that a four-fold increase of wormhole length requires a sevenfold higher volume of acid and a higher injection rate.

Fig. 2Effect of core length: HCl 7%, 20C.


Fig. 3Maximum penetration distance at optimum rate.

Fig. 4Effect of HCl concentration: Lavoux limestone, 20C.

A similar approach is used to study optimum injection rates for

cores of 5 to 40 cm in length. Fig. 3 depicts optimum flow rate
reported from log-log coordinates from experiments in Lavoux
limestone with HCl 7%. Slopes of the lines are 1.750.15. This
exponent is in very good agreement with the fractal exponent
found experimentally of 1.660.1 for plaster.14

firm previous trends.2 If injection time is crucial to the cost of treatment, a high HCl concentration is better. However, in terms of
using acid, low concentrations are better.
Fig. 5 shows the effect of temperature. There is a strong effect
of temperature on the optimum injection rate. An increase in temperature shifts the optimum flow rate to higher values. Acid volume required to breakthrough increases, decreasing efficiency for
wormhole formation. Higher permeabilities require higher injection rates and higher volumes at the optimum (Fig. 6).

Scaling to the Reservoir. Previous results show clearly that optimum flow rate is associated with a wormhole maximum propagation distance. It follows that extrapolation of data to the reservoir
scale where core length is infinite cannot be obtained directly
from laboratory experiments. In particular, scaling of the optimum
flow rate by a factor aiming at maintaining the same interstitial
injection rate in the laboratory and in the field has no meaning; this
would result in a wormhole length comparable to the core length
used in the experiments. A recent review shows that, despite much
effort, models currently introduce too many simplifications to predict injection flow rates and volumes for a well treatment.15 These
oversimplifications fail to take into account relevant physical
mechanisms of wormhole formation and propagation and, therefore, models are not reliable enough for extrapolating laboratory
data to the reservoir.
However, experiments confirm qualitatively that high flow
rates are required to increase wormhole penetration.16 Therefore,
maximum flow rate provides maximum penetration. Note that this
cannot be achieved without an increase of the volume of acid
injected and considerable fluid loss along the wormhole walls.

Recommendations for Laboratory Experiments Methodology

and Behavior of Acid in Emulsion Formulation. This study
emphasizes the need of rigorous experimental conditions to compare wormhole propagation rates. Core length is an important
parameter. It has been shown that at high acid injection rate, wormhole propagation rate does not depend on core length; measurements may be made with core samples of different lengths.
However, when the injection flow rate is low, great care must be
taken with results if the core length is varied. Consequently, core
samples of the same length must be used for an acid injection rate
below the optimum injection rate.
The preceding study with straight acids provides a possible
guide for understanding the properties of other fluids. We have
now a general frame of reference on the behavior of the limestone/
HCl system. Coefficients relating to the dependence of the acid
volume and of wormhole penetration distance on flow rate, effects
of temperature and concentration on wormhole propagation rates,

Effect of Acid Concentration, Temperature, and Permeability.

Fig. 4 shows the effect of acid concentration for core samples 20
cm in length. Points at low-injection rates are superposed. A high
extension of Region II is observed as the concentration increases.
In Region III the pore volume of acid injected to breakthrough
decreases with an increase in concentration. The slopes, i.e., in
Region III, of the one-third slope in log-log coordinates are
observed. Optimum injection rate increases with the concentration.
Efficiency of different acid fluids is compared in Table 2 based on
the acid quantity injected at the optimum flow rate. Results con-

Fig. 5Effect of temperature: HCl 7%, Lavoux limestone.


February 2001 SPE Production & Facilities

Fig. 6Effect of permeability: HCl 7%, 50C.

and wormhole penetration distances are available now. These

results would improve evaluation of new products. We present first
results on the properties of an acid/diesel emulsion. Interpretation
of results is done within the preceding framework. Acids in emulsion are retarded acids, i.e., they limit the limestone dissolution rate.
The role of using a diesel emulsion is to act as a barrier between the
acid and the rock by decreasing the acid diffusion coefficient,17,18
then limiting the reaction rate between acid and calcite. This gives
the acid the ability to penetrate deeper in the formation. Recent
studies7 show a renewal of interest in these products.
Experimental conditions for a commercial product acid/diesel
emulsion are: acid 15% weight, 50C, Lavoux limestone, and core
20 cm in length. Fig. 7 shows a very different behavior of
acid/diesel emulsion compared to straight acid. First, wormhole
propagation rate slightly decreases continuously when the acid
injection rate is increased. No optimum injection rate is found. In
contrast to straight acid, acid emulsion is very efficient at low flow
rate where wormhole breakthrough is observed in conditions
where regular acid gives compact dissolution. That means that
acid/diesel emulsion is able to penetrate deeper into the core than
regular acid. In addition, much lower acid volumes are injected for
wormhole breakthrough. It is also shown that acidizing is much
less sensitive to injection rate, because the acid volume required to
breakthrough varies only slightly with the injection rate.19 This
makes acid emulsion a promising product for matrix acidizing, particularly for heavily damaged formations where the injection flow
rate is expected to be very low.
Acid Fracturing
Gelled acids are the most common products for acid fracturing.
Their advantage is to form a polymer layer and to restrict leakoff, as in conventional hydraulic-fracturing process. We present
here a new experimental design and a methodology based on
measurements in a tangential cell for evaluating performances
of acid in conditions representative of the acid-fracturing
process. This evaluation includes measurement of the acidpropagation rate, leak-off rate, and an investigation of wormhole pattern with x-ray tomography. Other studies have made
measurements of wormhole propagation rates from acid breakthrough times.12 However, breakthrough time is not sufficient to
characterize leak-off rate. Because filtration occurs at wormhole
walls, it is important to evaluate whether or not gel hinders acid
filtration. For this purpose, our device is able to record the
cumulative volume of fluid and to give the mean leak-off recovered over the experiment.
Another difficulty arising with measurements in tangential
flow is the choice of experimental conditions, and particularly,
the choice of pressure gradient. The paper has shown that wormhole formation and propagation involve complex mechanisms
and occur only in a limited range of injection rates. Based on the
February 2001 SPE Production & Facilities

Fig. 7Comparison of acid-in-diesel emulsion and straight

acid: 50C, Lavoux limestone.

results of the preceding experiments, we present a methodology

for defining experimental conditions suitable for evaluating acids
in acid-fracturing applications.
Experimental Device. The experimental setup depicted in Fig. 8
is designed to reproduce the geometry of flow at the fracture face.
Acid fluid is circulating in a slot tangential to the core sample.
Core diameter is 5 cm and the length may be varied up to 40 cm.
Penetration of fluid into the core occurs through a constant pressure drop applied between the inlet and the outlet of the core. The
centerpiece of the apparatus is the acid leak-off cell, designed to
simulate acid leak-off under dynamic conditions. The cell is similar to a tangential TEMCO core holder, still used for measuring
leak-off for conventional fracturing fluids,11,20 but was modified to
accept long acid residence times. With the TEMCO core holder,
dissolution of the core face leads to a gap between the core holder
and inlet face of the rock sample. When the gap enlarges, the confining pressure ruptures the rubber sleeve and the experiment
aborts. To solve this problem, the Inst. Franais du Ptrole (IFP)
designed a modified tangential cell especially for acidizing experiments. Flow in the slot is 50 mL/min. On the effluent side, a backpressure regulator is set to maintain the CO2 produced by chemical
reaction in the aqueous phase. Two stainless fluid cells receive
water or acid. The acid leak-off apparatus can be operated at temperatures from ambient to 120C (250F) and at pressures from
atmospheric to 250 bar (3,500 psi). Measurements are made under
a confinement of 40 bar.
Fig. 9 shows a sample of data recorded in a computer file including inlet pressure, flow rate in the slot, differential pressure between
the entrance and the exit of the core, and measurement of the cumulative filtration volume (leak-off) as function of time. The experi-

Fig. 8Schematic of tangential setup.


Fig. 9Data recorded during an acid fracturing experiment

with an acid gel.

ment is terminated when the pressure variation becomes negligible,

blocking an automatic valve at the exit of the tangential cell.
Gelled acids are evaluated at acid concentrations of 7 and 15wt %. As a comparison, we also evaluated straight acids in the
same conditions.
Data Analysis. The following values are calculated from the
experimental results (see the Nomenclature):
Mean leak-off velocity: ratio of the fluid volume leaking
through the core per unit area to the duration of the experiment.
Wormhole-propagation rate: ratio of core length to the duration of the experiment.
Apparent viscosity of acid in porous media, in conditions of
the experiment: ratio of the initial flow rate calculated from
Darcys law to the measured leak-off rate. This coefficient is used
to compare filtration properties of gelled fluids. A value of 1 indicates a complete loss of viscous properties of acid during filtration.
A value near the relative viscosity of the acid solution would indicate an entire control of acid flow.
Methodology for the Choice of the Experimental Conditions.
Because gelled acids are supposed to restrict acid flux in the core
and wormhole development, gelled acids must be evaluated in
conditions where wormholes form with regular acids. Thus, our

Fig. 10Pressure diagrams for tangential experiments.


methodology consists of defining the most appropriate range of

pressure conditions by constructing a pressure diagram based on
data collected with regular acids. Two constraints restrict the
range of pressure values suitable for experiments. First, the initial
leak-off rate must be set to a minimum value corresponding to the
optimum flow rate inferred from the preceding study for reaching
the mass-transfer-limited kinetics regime corresponding to
wormhole formation and wormhole breakthrough. If the initial
flow rate is too low, wormhole breakthrough will not occur.
Second, a minimum backpressure is required at the core outlet to
maintain CO2 in the aqueous phase. Minimum backpressure
depends on temperature and acid concentration. This limits the
available pressure range for flow in the core. As an example, at
50C and 15% HCl, a minimum outlet pressure of 160 bar is
required to maintain the CO2 in the aqueous phase. Because the
maximum working pressure of the device is 210 bar, the maximum pressure available for flow is 50 bar. On the other hand,
optimum flow rate for HCl 15% at 50C is 0.8 cm/min, corresponding to a differential pressure of 8 bar (Darcys law).
Therefore, the pressure window for experiments includes pressures ranging from 8 to 50 bar, corresponding to initial leak-off
rates ranging from 0.8 to 6 cm/min, respectively.
Diagrams presented in Fig. 10 are constructed to define the
operating window depending on rock permeability, temperature,
acid concentration, and core length. Points inside the window are
the most appropriate conditions for performing the experiments.
Shape of the Leakoff Curves for Gelled Acids. Leak-off behavior
of gelled acid fluids is different from the filtration behavior of ordinary viscous fluids as those used in hydraulic fracturing.19 For
hydraulic-fracturing fluids, the shape of leak-off curves are characterized by a rapid increase of volume at the beginning of the experiment, referred to as the spurt volume; a second step corresponding
to cake buildup; and a constant flow rate filtration of fluid through
the core. As shown in Fig. 9, leak-off curves with gelled acids cannot be interpreted in terms of spurt and cake buildups. They show a
linear increase in leak-off volume vs. time since the early times.
Neither a spurt nor a cake buildup can be distinguished.
Results With Low-Permeability Limestone. Experimental conditions are: 15% HCl, 50C, Lavoux limestone, and pressure
range from 8 to 50 bar. Fig. 11 shows the cumulated volume as a
function of time for different pressure gradients. At low-pressure
gradient, no breakthrough of acid occurs within the 16 minutes of
the experiment. However, when the pressure gradient is increased
only slightly, the wormhole breaks through at very small times.
As the pressure gradient increases, efficiency of the gelling agent
to protect the core surface decreases. As an example, with a pres-

Fig. 11Filtration of gelled HCl in low-permeability limestone:

15%, 50C.
February 2001 SPE Production & Facilities

sure gradient of 3 bar/cm, breakthrough occurs within 2 minutes.

However, comparison with results shown in Fig. 7 indicates a
strong decrease of wormhole propagation rate due to addition of
the gelling agent. Wormhole propagation rates are divided by a
factor of 10 in comparison with straight acids. Even if the gelling
agent is not able to block the wormholing process, it slows down
the acid-limestone reaction.15

The added polymer has a low efficiency in terms of leak-off

rates (Table 3). With a viscosity of near 85 cp, a drastic reduction
of the filtration rate was expected. In fact, the Ca coefficient indicates that filtration is reduced by a factor of only 4 to 7 compared
to water filtration. This is poor performance, relative to the high
concentration of polymer used.
Results With High-Permeability Limestone. Experimental conditions are: HCl 7 or 15%, 50C, Estaillades limestone, core length
20 cm, and pressure range from 0.4 to 50 bar. According to the
methodology used for evaluating gelled acids in the tangential
device, low-pressure gradients are applied to the core sample,
mainly because permeability is at a high value. Fig. 12 shows the
cumulative volume recorded as a function of time. In contrast to
the behavior of gelled acid in Lavoux limestone, all experiments
show wormhole breakthrough, even at low-pressure gradients.
Breakthrough times are short, as for the Lavoux limestone.
The added polymer has a low efficiency for reducing leak-off
rate. As shown in Table 3, the Ca coefficient is comprised between
5 and 10, meaning that the filtration rate with gelled acid is reduced
by a factor of only 5 to 10 compared to water. This is also very low
compared to the 85 cp of injected product.
Summary on the Behavior of Gelled Acid in Acid Fracturing
Applications. Figs. 13 through 15 summarize data on a 3D diagram where filtration rates and wormhole propagation rates are
reported as a function of the pressure gradient applied to the core
sample. The diagram is very illustrative of the behavior of gelled
acid. It is shown that low filtration rates for gelled acid are associ-

Fig. 12Filtration of gelled HCl in high-permeability limestone:

15%, 50C.

Fig. 133D diagram of gelled acid behavior: 15% HCl, 50C.

February 2001 SPE Production & Facilities

Fig. 14Wormhole-dissolution figures from x-ray computed

tomography-3D reconstruction: HCl 15%, 50C, Lavoux limestone.

Fig. 15Lavoux limestone, tangential injection: HCl 15%, 50C.

ated with low wormhole propagation rates. The behavior of gelled

acid in Lavoux or Estaillades limestone is very similar, even if
pressure gradients are much lower for the high-permeability
Estaillades limestone. However, when considering straight acids,
wormhole propagation rates are much higher even if filtration rates
are of the same order of magnitude.
A methodology using injections at constant flow rate or constant
pressure drop is developed for evaluating acid fluid properties, i.e.,
acid/wormhole propagation velocity, acid leak-off, and dissolution
pattern in conditions representative of acidizing operations.
For matrix acidizing:
1. Data are presented on behavior of straight acids providing a
frame of reference for wormhole formation and propagation.
2. Optimum injection rate increases with acid concentration, temperature, and limestone permeability.
3. Optimum flow rate is related to a maximum penetration distance.
4. To increase the wormhole penetration distance, high injection
rates are required. Low acid concentrations are more effective
than higher ones.
5. Acid-in-diesel emulsion is more effective than straight acid.
For acid fracturing:
1. A methodology in representative flow conditions is developed
for evaluating gelled acids.
2. Gelled acids are effective in reducing wormhole propagation
rates and leak-off rates.
3. Viscosifying acid reduces water filtration by a factor ranging
from 3 to 10.
4. Reduction in fluid loss is smaller than might be anticipated
based on the viscosity of the gelled acid.

We gratefully acknowledge the support of members of ARTEP, an
association of the French petroleum companies. We thank C. Schlitter,
D. Suida, and G. Thibaut, who performed the experimental work.
A = core section
L = core length, L, m
t = breakthrough time, t, sec
k = permeability, L2
P = pressure difference imposed during a tangential experiment, m/Lt2, psi
Ca = leak-off coefficient, L/t
V = leak-off volume, L3
vi = interstitial velocity of injected solution in the tangential
device with respect to viscosity, permeability, and
pressure gradient, L/t
vw = interstitial velocity that would have the water in a
tangential injection experiment performed in the same
condition as with gel, L/t
vwh = wormhole or acid propagation velocity; it is the ratio of
the length of the core to the breakthrough time, L/t
vf = leak-off or filtration velocity, L/t
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February 2001 SPE Production & Facilities

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SPEPE (February 1989) 63; Trans., AIME, 287.
15. Fredd, C.N. and Miller, M.J.: Validation of Carbonate Matrix Stimulation
Models, paper SPE 58715 presented at the 2000 SPE Intl. Symposium on
Formation Damage Control, Lafayette, Louisiana, 2324 February.
16. Paccaloni, G.: A New, Effective Matrix Stimulation Diversion
Technique, SPEPF (August 1995) 151.
17. De Roziere, J., Chang, F.F., and Sullivan, R.B.: Measuring Diffusion
Coefficients in Acid Fracturing Fluids and Their Application to Gelled and
Emulsified Acids, paper SPE 28552 presented at the 1994 SPE Annual
Technical Conference and Exhibition, New Orleans, 2528 September.
18. Conway, M.W. et al.: A Comparative Study of Straight/Gelled/Emulsified
Hydrochloric Acid Diffusivity Coefficient Using Diaphragm Cell and
Rotating Disk, paper SPE 56532 presented at the 1999 SPE Annual
Technical Conference and Exhibition, Houston, 36 October.
19. Buijse, M.A., and van Domelen, M.S.: Novel Application of
Emulsified Acids to Matrix Stimulation of Heterogeneous
Formations, paper SPE 39583 presented at the 1998 SPE Intl.
Symposium on Formation Damage Control, Lafayette, Louisiana,
1819 February.
20. Navarrete, R.C., Cawiezel, K.E., and Constien, V.G.: Dynamic Fluid
Loss in Hydraulic Fracturing Under Realistic Shear Conditions in
High-Permeability Rocks, SPEPF (August 1996) 138.

SI Metric Conversion Factors

cp 1.0*
E - 03 = Pas
F (F-32)/1.8
= C
*Conversion factor is exact.


Brigitte Bazin is Senior Research Engineer in charge of wellstimulation studies in the Reservoir Engineering Dept. at the IFP
in Rueil-Malmaison, France. e-mail: Her
research interests are in well productivity and injectivity. She
holds a degree in chemical engineering from the Inst. Natl. des
Sciences Appliques.