A Novel Cationic Polymer System That Improves Acid Diversion in Heterogeneous Carbonate Reservoirs

Sarmah, Abhishek (Texas A&M University) | Farid Ibrahim, Ahmed (Texas A&M University) | Nasr-El-Din, Hisham (Texas A&M University) | Jackson, Jennifer (BASF Corporation)



In-situ gelled acids have been used for acid diversion in heterogeneous carbonate reservoirs for more than two decades. Most of the gelled systems are based on an anionic polymer that has a cleaning problem after the acid treatments that leads to formation damage. This work evaluates a new cationic-polymer acid system with the self-breaking ability for the application as an acid divergent in carbonate reservoirs.

Experimental studies have been conducted to examine the rheological properties of the polymer-based acid systems. The apparent viscosities of the live and the partially neutralized acids at pH from 0 to 5 were measured against the shear rate (0 to 1,000 s-1). The impact of salinity and temperature (80 to 250°F) on the rheological properties of the acid system was also studied. The viscoelastic properties of the gelled acid system were evaluated using an oscillatory rheometer. Dynamic sweep tests were used to determine the elastic (G’) and viscous modulus (G") of the system. Single coreflood experiments were conducted on Indiana limestone cores to study the nature of diversion caused by the polymer-acid system. The impact of permeability contrast on the process of diversion was investigated by conducting dual coreflood experiments on Indiana limestone cores which had a permeability contrast of 1.5-20. CT scans were conducted to study the propagation of wormhole post acid injection for both single and dual corefloods.

The live acid system displayed a non-Newtonian shear-thinning behavior with the viscosity declining with temperature. For 5 wt% HCl and 20 gpt polymer content at 10 s-1, the viscosity decreased from 230 to 40 cp with temperature increasing from 88 to 250°F. Acid spending tests demonstrated that the acid generated a gel with a significant improvement in viscosity to 260 cp (at 250°F and 10 s-1) after it reached a pH of 2. The highly viscous gel plugged the wormhole and forced the acid that followed to the next higher permeability zone. The viscosity of gel continued to increase until it broke down to 69 cp (at 250°F and 10 s-1) at a pH of 4.8, which provides a self-breaking system and better cleaning. Coreflood studies indicated that the wormhole and the diversion process is dependent on the temperature and the flow rate. There was no indication of any damage caused by the system. The injected acid volume to breakthrough (PVBT) decreased from 2.2 to 1.4 when the temperature increased from 150 to 250°F.

The strong elastic nature of the gel (G’= 3.976 Pa at 1 Hz) formed by the partially neutralized acid system proves its suitability as a candidate for use as a diverting agent. This novel acid-polymer system has significant promise for usage in acid diversion to improve stimulation of carbonate reservoirs.