Three-dimensional Modeling of Acid Transport and Etching in a Fracture
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Acid fracture stimulation generates higher well production but requires engineering design for treatment optimization. To quantify the cost and benefit of a particular acid fracture treatment an engineer must predict the resulting fracture’s conductivity, which is based on the etched width created by the injected acid. Etching occurs along the fracture surface but is based on acid flowing through the fracture, so an evaluation tool should describe three-dimensional physics and chemistry. Current practice is to estimate conductivity utilizing two-dimensional models. Unfortunately, these models necessarily assume how acid is distributed in the fracture and often misrepresent the amount of acid etching upon which the conductivity is based. A fully three-dimensional modeling tool to evaluate and predict acid fracture performance across the wide range of carbonate field properties has been developed. The model simulates acid transport and fracture face dissolution. The acid transport model includes the solution of the three-dimensional velocity and pressure fields, the non-Newtonian characteristics of most acid fracturing fluids, and diffusion of acid toward the fracture surface. The model numerically solves the equations describing the three-dimensional acid transport and reaction within a fracture to yield the etched width created by acid along the fracture. The conductivity is calculated with the simulator derived acid-etched width, using correlations recently developed that reflect the small scale heterogeneity of carbonate rock as it creates etching along the fracture surface. The performance of an acid fracture treatment is quantified with conductivity, which is strongly dependent on the etched width created by the acid. This robust new tool more accurately models the impact of design decisions on the acid-etched width and provides a rational path for treatment optimization. Cases typical of industry practice are presented that demonstrate the model capabilities.
Oeth, Cassandra V (2013). Three-dimensional Modeling of Acid Transport and Etching in a Fracture. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from