During recent years there has been a significant increase in the use of filter cake removal systems that involve in-situ release of formic or lactic acid during the clean-up stages of the reservoir section, particularly in limestone formations. Furthermore, there have been opportunities to compare the field performance of these relatively small applications of weak, organic acids with significantly larger application volumes of highly concentrated hydrochloric acid (HCl). Surprisingly, some results showed that the smaller volumes of the weaker, organic acids could have equivalent or better performance than that produced by the more traditional HCl-based treatments. In particular this relationship was also observed in cases where the volume of HCl applied had significantly greater power to dissolve limestone than was the case for treatment with the more successful organic acid.
It is well known that productivity of wells in carbonate reservoirs is usually greatly improved by treatments designed to remove the filter cake and the low-permeability zone created by the drilling process, but it is not obvious why smaller volumes per foot of weak organic acid should be more effective than larger volumes per foot of stronger and more concentrated mineral acid.
It has been observed that the acid precursors which release the in-situ acids are applied to the formation in a neutral condition. The paper discusses the implications of using neutral acid precursors, and laboratory data is presented showing the effects of such treatments on the near-wellbore matrix permeability.