Oil and gas companies operating carbonate oil and gas condensate fields in Kazakhstan have been carrying out acid stimulation activities leading to a substantial increase in hydrocarbon production. Nearly all treatments were considered a success. Nevertheless, a certain level of optimization in the production enhancement methods that could, potentially, have brought additional technical and financial benefits, were overlooked due to various reasons.

A comprehensive review of historical treatments on several fields located in West-Kazakhstan region was performed to identify areas to improve post-stimulation well performance. This review identified improvements including "cleaner" fluid selection, optimised design and treatment schedules. Historical treatments in the oil field typically used straight hydrochloric acid as the main acid, polymer-gelled (self-diverting) acid as the chemical diverter, and linear guar gel for displacement, and diagnostic tests. The application of a modern single-phase retarded acid to replace the straight hydrochloric acid was identified as a key improvement that would yield more efficient wormhole generation and an improved stimulation ratio. Another opportunity for improvement was to upgrade the chemical diversion system from polymer-based self-diverting acid to a viscoelastic surfactant-based (polymer-free) diverting acid system. The use of an oil-based displacement fluid with high retained permeability instead of linear gel and to reduce the hydrostatic pressure post-acidizing, thereby improving flowback, was also employed.

Extended core flow testing for regained permeability and solubility were carried out with several acid systems to compare their capabilities and efficiency to create conductive wormholes, and their dissolution capacities. Additionally, emulsion, and sludging tendency upon contact with wellbore tubulars and formation crude was checked to verify the acids’ compatibility with hydrocarbons produced from the target reservoir. After the prerequisite laboratory testing, field trials commenced applying various combinations of fluid technologies in high-rate matrix stimulation treatments. The optimizations resulted in higher (normalized) post-stimulation productivity index (PI), facilitated formation cleanup, and enabled more efficient operations. A similar approach is, currently, being implemented in other stimulation projects in the region, and the results are being replicated.

As has been mentioned above, one of the main enhancements implemented as part of this work is the employment of the single-phase retarded acid. Most of the published literature discussing application of the acid covers the cases of stimulation of relatively hot reservoirs (BHST>100°C) as acidizing of high-temperature carbonate rock using traditional hydrochloric acid is a great challenge. The current paper provides details of the case studies, where the acid system was successfully implemented in combination with several other stimulation technologies for mid-temperature ranges. One of the objectives was also to assess whether application of reduced volumes of the retarded and diverting acids would still lead to improved wells’ productivity. Positive results of the laboratory studies, treatment modeling, and field trials were validated by the increasing normalized post-stimulation PI with each optimization step.

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