This study investigates the performance of viscoelastic surfactant (VES)-based HCl stimulation fluids as a function of carbonate rock type and quantifies the response of the acid to different pore-structures. A pore-structure evaluation during stimulation design could lead to a successful field treatment.

Coreflood tests were conducted using several types of limestone cores with permeabilities ranging from 2.5 to 155 md. Intergranular pores were dominant in the Indiana limestone and Austin chalk samples investigated, whereas moldic pores were dominant in the Pink desert, Edwards yellow, Winterset, and Edwards white cores. Tracer experiments characterized the pore structure in each carbonate sample, and the tracer fluid was injected at 5 cm3/min and 75°F into the cores with dimensions of 6 in. length and 1.5 in. diameter. The tracer effluent data was used to measure accessible porosity (flowing fraction) for each core sample. After the tracer, the VES acid was injected at rates from 1 to 10 cm3/min and 150°F to determine pore volume to breakthrough (PVbt). The wormhole patterns were analyzed using computed tomography (CT) scan images, and the pattern complexity was examined by fractal dimension analysis.

A better pore connectivity showed for Indiana limestone compared to Edwards yellow, Winterset limestone, and Edwards white. The flowing fractions were 1, 0.86, 0.61, and 0.53 for Indiana limestone, Edwards yellow, Winterset limestone, and Edwards white, respectively. The PVbt of Indiana limestone ranged from 0.62 to 0.92. Cores with lower pore connectivity, such as Edwards yellow, had PVbt ranging from 0.52 to 0.81, Winterset limestone from 0.34 to 0.49, and Edwards white from 0.21 to 0.36. These results revealed that higher flowing fractions are required with a higher PVbt. Rocks that have the same dominant pore-structures usually exhibit similar wormhole behavior.

Prior to this study, the performance of VES fluids had only been studied on carbonate rocks with well-connected intergranular porosity. The results of this study show that porosity distribution of the rock affects the response to acids.

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