Carboxybetaine viscoelastic surfactants have been applied in acid diversion and fracturing treatments in which high temperatures and low pH are usually involved. These surfactants are subjected to hydrolysis under such conditions because of the existence of a peptide group (-CO-NH-) in their molecules, leading to changes in the rheological properties of the acid. The objective of this paper is to study the impact of hydrolysis at high temperatures on the apparent viscosity of carboxybetaine viscoelastic surfactant-based acids, and propose the mechanism of viscosity changes by molecular dynamics (MD) simulations.
Surfactant-acid solutions with different compositions (surfactant concentration varied from 4 to 8 wt%) were incubated at 190°F for 1 to 6 hours. Solutions were then partially spent by CaCO3 until the sample pH was 4.5, and the apparent viscosity was measured using a high-temperature/high-pressure (HT/HP) viscometer. To understand the mechanism for viscosity changes on the molecular level, MD simulations were carried out on spent surfactant-acid aqueous systems using the Materials Studio 5.0 Package.
It was found that short-time hydrolysis at high temperatures (for example, 1 to 2 hours at 190°F) led to a significant increase in surfactant-acid viscosity. However, after incubation for 3 hours, phase separation occurred and the acid lost its viscosity. Simulation results showed that viscosity changes of amido-carboxybetaine surfactant acid by hydrolysis at high temperatures may be caused by different micellar structures formed by carboxybetaine and fatty acid soap, its hydrolysis product. The optimum molar ratio of amido-carboxybetaine and fatty acid soap to form worm-like micelles was found to be nearly 3:1 from our simulations.
Our results indicate that hydrolysis at high temperatures has a great impact on surfactant-acid rheological properties. Short time viscosity build-up and effective gel breakdown can be achieved if surfactant-acid treatments are carefully designed; otherwise, unexpected viscosity reduction and phase separation may occur, which will affect the outcome of acid treatments.
Acharya, Mihir Narayan (Kuwait Oil Company) | Kabir, Mir Md Rezaul (Kuwait Oil Company) | Al-Ajmi, Saad Abdulrahman Hassan (Kuwait Oil Company) | Pradhan, San Prasad (Kuwait Oil Company) | Dashti, Qasem M. (Kuwait Oil Company) | Al-anzi, Ealian H.D. (Kuwait Oil Company) | Chakravorty, Sandeep (Schlumberger)
The deep, sub-salt reservoir complex is tiered with fractured tight carbonate at bottom and top, with the two sub-units of "upper unconventional kerogen?? and "lower inter-bedded kerogen-carbonate?? in the middle. This depositional setting is challenging for horizontal well placement where the thicknesses of respective sub-units are about 50 and 30 feet with varying geomechanical and petrophysical properties. Additionally, this complexity poses limitations in completions and effective stimulation of the Kimmeridgian-Oxfordian reservoirs in several gas fields at development stage in Kuwait.
A horizontal well is placed in the lower sub-unit of the laminated complex of unconventional kerogen and fractured carbonate reservoir as a Maximum Reservoir Contact (MRC) type well. A pilot mother-bore was drilled and logged to identify the lithological properties across the entire vertical domain - facilitates the optimization of horizontal drain-hole placement within the targeted reservoir units.
No wellbore stability issues in drilling were predicted based on the geomechanical understanding where core-calibrated logs from offset vertical wells were considered. However, this modeling method did not have the functionality to integrate the impact of drawdown on the laminated formation which became unstable and collapsed during the short open-hole drill-stem test (DST) plugging the tubing prior to the final completions. An alternative "book-shelf?? geomechanical model was considered at pre-drill stage for predicting the wellbore stability. Once the drilling was completed, the time-lapsed multi-arm caliper indicated the validity of the alternative methodology in predicting the unstable stack of laminations in kerogen-rich strata.
The paper discusses an optimization methodology to enhance the understanding of static and dynamic geomechanical stability through the use of BHI data. Objective of the proposed method is to help improve the effectiveness of completions where wellbore stability due to geomechanical complexity in stacked-pay reservoirs is a primary wellbore challenge in deploying the completions and executing a subsequent stimulation and testing campaign.