Simulation Study of Scale Management During Hydraulic Fracturing in Unconventional Reservoirs

Abouie, Ali (The University of Texas at Austin) | Sanaei, Alireza (The University of Texas at Austin) | Sepehrnoori, Kamy (The University of Texas at Austin)

OnePetro 

Abstract

Geochemical scale formation and deposition in reservoir is a common problem in upstream oil and gas industry, which results in equipment corrosion, wellbore plugging, and production decline. In unconventional reservoirs, the negative effect of scale formation becomes more pronounced as it can severely damage the conductivity of hydraulic fractures. Hence, it is necessary to predict the effect of scale deposition on fracture conductivity and production performance.

In this work, an integrated reactive-transport simulator is utilized to model geochemical reactions along with transport equations in conventional and unconventional reservoirs considering the damage to the fracture and formation matrix. Hence, a compositional reservoir simulator (UTCOMP), which is integrated with IPhreeqc, is utilized to predict geochemical scale formation in formation matrix and hydraulic fractures. IPhreeqc offers extensive capabilities for modeling geochemical reactions including local thermodynamic equilibrium and kinetics. Based on the amount of scale formation, porosity, permeability, and fracture aperture are modified to determine the production loss. The results suggested that interaction of the formation water/brine and injection water/hydraulic fracturing fluid is the primary cause for scale formation. The physicochemical properties such as pressure, temperature, and pH are the secondary cause affecting scale formation in the reservoir.

During hydraulic fracturing, precipitation of barite and dissolution of calcite are identified to be the main reactions, which occur as a result of interaction between the formation brine, formation mineral composition, and injection water/hydraulic fracturing fluid. Calcite dissolution can increase the matrix porosity and permeability while barite precipitation has an opposite effect. Therefore, the overall effect and final results depend on several parameters such as HFF composition, HFF injection rate, and formation mineral/brine. Based on the fracturing fluid composition and its invasion depth in this study, the effect of barite precipitation was dominant with negative impact on cumulative gas production. The outcome of this study is a comprehensive tool for prediction of scale deposition in the reservoir which can help operators to select optimum fracturing fluid and operating conditions.