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Modeling of Acid-Fracturing Treatments

Antonln Settarl, SPE, Simtech Consulting Services Ltd.

Summary. This paper gives the theory and numerical implementation of a comprehensive acid-fracturing model that solves for frac-
ture geometry (2D or 3D), leakoff, heat transfer, and acid transport simultaneously. The acid-transport model integrates a number of
features not accounted for in earlier design models: multiple fluids (acids, gels, and foams); acidizing controlled both by mass transfer
and rate of reaction; and leakoff, including the effects of matrix acidizing and wormholing. Examples of treatment design illustrate
these features. Coupling with reservoir forecasting models gives the ability to optimize the job or compare it with a proppant treatment.
Acid fracturing currently is receiving renewed attention as a well
stimulation technique. Compared with advances in modeling tools
for proppant fracturing, the models for acid-fracturing processes
have not changed much in the last decade. During a period of in-
tense study in the 1970's, the basic understanding of the reaction
kinetics and acid transport in the acid-fracturing process was es-
tablished by laboratory and theoretical studies.
The design
models of acid-fracturing typically were decoupled from fracture-
geometry models and use fixed fracture width and prescribed
Also, it was recognized that quantitative prediction of
wormholing was a major obstacle to theoretical predictions of acid
penetration. It also was a principal reason for the discrepancy be-
tween predicted and observed acid-fracture lengths.
Very little work on acid-fracturing design was reported in the
1980's. The earlier models, with decoupled fracture-geometry cal-
culations, were still being used. This was in sharp contrast to the
great increase of sophistication in propped fracture design and made
comparisons of these two alternatives difficult. Only recently was
interest in acid fracturing revived. Ben Naceur and Economides
and Lo and Dean 10 presented improved models of acid transport,
coupled with a specific 2D model of fracture geometry. Gdanski
and Lee II described a more general model, but their work lacked
mathematical details necessary to other modelers. Theoretical and
laboratory work currently is being done to understand wormhole
(which is the major factor responsible for large
leakoft) and to develop fluids with better reaction and leakoff
control. 15,16
This paper gives the theory of a comprehensive acid-fracturing
model, the numerical implementation of the acid-transport and
leakoff solution, and examples illustrating various features of the
model. The model includes a number of new features essential for
modern design.
1. Multiple fluids with different rheologies (reacting or not), in-
cluding gel/acid sequences.
2. Acidizing process controlled by both mass transfer and rate
of reaction.
3. Leakoff behavior, including a new method for calculating the
increase in leakoff caused by matrix acidizing and wormholing ef-
fects at the fracture wall.
4. Coupling with heat transfer by means of the thermal depend-
ency of reaction kinetics and the heat of the reaction.
5. Implicit coupling with 2D or 3D fracture geometry and with
reservoir forecasting models to optimize the job or compare it with
a proppant treatment.
This formulation is considerably more general than the model
described in Ref. 10, which assumes infinite reaction rate and treats
acid transport as steady-state. These features are illustrated by ex-
amples of acid transport under different physical conditions (limited
by mass transfer, reaction rate, effect of reaction order, etc.). The
case study of a treatment with an alternating gel/acid sequence shows
the model's ability to assess the importance of various design pa-
rameters. In particular, the model can predict short penetration dis-
tances in agreement with field experience.
Equations for Acid Transport
For simplicity, an element of a fracture with variable width but
constant height is considered (Fig. 1). In the following, it will be
Copyright 1993 Society of Petroleum Engineers
assumed that concentration, C, is defined as mass of acid per volume
of solution. If one wishes to use concentration C in terms of moles,
C must be replaced by MwC, The equations describing the flow
of acid in a channel of unit height are given below.
The equation of continuity within a channel of variable width is
a(vz)/ax+O(vy)/iiy=aAlat-i, ........................ (1)
where A = elemental area dxdy. The term aAlat represents the change
of control volume caused by the change of fracture width, b, with
time. The boundary conditions are
where vf= leakoff velocity. By integrating this across y and z tim-
ing, we obtain the equation solved by the geometry module of a
fracture simulator (except for compressibility):
lat-i, ....................... (2)
where v(x,t) = average volumetric velocity, Ac(x,t) = local cross-
sectional area, and qe(x,t)=leakoff rate on one fracture surface.
If constant width vertically is assumed, Ac and qe are given by
and qe=hffVe,
where hf=total fracture height and hfe=leakoff height.
If we neglect diffusion in the x direction,
a a a ( ac) ac
)+- De- =--iC
, . (3)
ax ay iiy iiy at
where Vx and v
=2D components of the velocity field, C=acid
concentration, and iCj=acid injection rate. The effective diffusion
coefficient, De' is defined below. Two boundary conditions apply:
(1) at the wellbore (x=O), C=C
and (2) at the fracture wall
(y=b/2), the boundary condition states that the total flux of acid
to the surface equals the acid spent plus acid leaking off with ve-
locity ve' The total mass transport to the wall is the sum of diffu-
sion and convection:
aC)1 , ..................... (4)
ay y=bl2
where De = effective diffusion coefficient, which for laminar flow
is equal to the molecular diffusion but increases in the presence
of turbulence. The reacted amount is assumed to be
r=k(l-q,)(CB-ceq)m, ............................ (5)
where m=reaction order, k=reaction-rate constant, and C
Ceq = boundary (wall) and equilibrium concentrations, respective-
Iy. Ceq takes into account the effect of reverse reaction, which may
be important for weak acids. 8 The amount lost to the formation is
qAe=veCf' ....................................... (6)
where C
= "loss concentration." Also, by continuity, the leakoff
velocity, ve, must equal the boundary velocity, v
' which gives the
general boundary condition as
-(-CBVe+De aC)1 =k(1-q,)(C
)m+vf Ce' ... (7)
ay y=bl2
SPE Production & Facilities, February 1993
c I
h I O ~ i ~
/ --- - --
Fig. 1-Physlcal system for acid-transport model.
The only unclear issue in this equation is the relationship between
and Ce. Note that this issue disappears if leakoff is zero. Most
,lO assume that
. .......................................... (8)
However, analysis of a control volume at the fracture wall, assum-
ing that all reaction occurs on the surface, suggests that the acid
concentration would have a discontinuity at the surface so that
. The problem, as posed here, does not allow calculation
of this extra variable without formulating and solving the equations
for acid flow in the fracture wall.
Eq. 8 is correct for a zero leakoff, very slow reaction, in which
case the reaction term is negligible compared with the leakoff terms;
and a very high reaction rate, which will force C
to be close to
zero and consequently Ct"",CB"",O. Note that in the second case,
the concentration will remain constant (even in a variable-cross-
section channel), which follows from the continuity equation. This
is analogous to the problem of heat transfer in a fracture with no
leakoff and zero conduction and serves as a test for the model.
Therefore, Eq. 8 is adopted, giving
-D e(oCloY)!y=bl2 =k(I-q,)(C
)m . .............. (9)
Application of the boundary condition in Eq. 9 requires the y-
direction concentration gradient, which would force us to do a 2D
solution (such as in Ref. 17) or to use some analytical approxima-
tions. To avoid this, we use the parametric apparent mass-transfer
coefficient, Kg, proposed by Roberts and Guin
)= -De (oCloy) !y=bl2, .................... (10)
where C=the average concentration across the fracture width. Note
that Kg has the same units as velocity and can be related to meas-
urements more easily than De' The value of Kif will depend on
flow regime (thickness of the boundary layer) and IS discussed later.
This coefficient is similar but not identical to the K coefficient de-
fined by Domselaar et aI., 6 but they call it an apparent rate

The equivalence of K and Kg follows from Eq. 9 if the reaction
rate is high so that CB""'O.
Eq. 3 can now be integrated across y and z to yield
SPE Production & Facilities, February 1993
.. 1.5
~ 5.'
Fig. 2-Measured and simulated leakoff with pad and acid
fluids-Laboratory Experiment 1.
where hfr = reactive height. Substi!!Iting the gradient at the bound-
ary through Eq. 10 in terms of C yields the final form:
o _ 0 _ _
--(vAcC)=-(AcC)+2[qeCB+hfrKg(C-CB)]-iC; . ... (12)
Ox ot
The boundary condition is then
Kg(C-CB)=k(l-q,)(CB-Ceq)m, ................... (13)
and Eqs. 12 and 13 must be solved simultaneously for C and CB'
Eqs. 2, 12, and 13 are used for computer simulation. Note that
the development is generalized easily to compressible equations that
are solved in the model. (In fact, Eq. 2 is the result of fracture flow
and geometric calculation.) The total loss of acid by reaction and
leakoff in Eq. 12 is
qAt =2[qeCB +hfrKg(C-C
)], .................. - ... (14)
which is discussed in more detail later because it must include the
effects of reaction on leakoff and worrnholing.
Evaluation of Mass-Transport CoeHlclents
The default method is based on the correlations for De' developed
from laboratory experiments by Williams and Nierode
Roberts and Guin.
Because De cannot be measured directly, Wil-
liams and Nierode determined the overall mass transport and then
used analytical solution to obtain oCloy to evaluate De from the
integrated form of Eq. 10.
If De is known, the overall mass transfer can be expressed by
Eq. 10, and the coefficient Kg will be a function of De and the flow
regime. Such solutions can be expressed in dimensionless form as
follows (see Ref. 18).
In turbulent flow (N
NSh =0.026(N
) II! . ....................... (15a)
In transitional flow (1 ,800 <N
NSh =0.0011038(N
) 1.1532 (N
) II!. . ............. (l5b)
In Eqs. 15, NSc=plDe is the Schmidt number; N
=2bV/p is the
Reynolds number; NSh =2bKglD
is the Sherwood number; p=pJp
is the kinematic viscosity; and v is the average velocity in the chan-
nel. If De is known (such as from Ref. 5), Eqs. 15 allow the cal-
culation K
/2b. Older literature does not give the
corresponding dimensionless equation for the laminar flow region.
The numerical solutions from Ref. 13 seem to indicate that the Sher-
5 ,.--------------______ --,
_ 4.'
.. 3.5



0.00 0.25 0.50

0.0"'0 S-Q-+:-TC-M-IN-) 71----+----1'
Fig. 3-Measured and simulated leakoff with pad and acid
fluids-Laboratory Experiment 2.
wood number is fairly constant, but Roberts and Guin'sl work in-
dicates strong influence of free convection (see their Fig. 6). Un-
fortunately, such results were not correlated with the Reynolds
number. Lo and Dean 10 recently presented a correlation for the
laminar flow region. They define the Nusselt number as
NNu = -(bIC)(aClaY)!y=bI2 ........................ (16)
and assume that C
=0. Their definition can be generalized for the
case of C B 0, which makes it equivalent to the Sherwood
NNu = - _ b ac I =bKglD e =N Sh12. . ........ (17)
) ay y=bl2
Ref. 10 then correlates N Nu with the Peclet number, N Pe =
, by
NNu =4.10+ 1.26Npe .................. " ... (lSa)
if NPe < 10 and
NNu =2N
.................................... (lSb)
if NPe where the constant a2 (quoted as 0.04 in Ref. 10) must
be a2 =0.02675 to maintain continuity. Eqs. 15 and IS are used
in the model by default. However, they predict a large (an order
of magnitude) discontinuity in Kg at the boundary between lami-
nar and transitional flbw, which makes them far from satisfactory.
Also, the correlating dimensionless groups change at this point.
Because of the difficulties of a priori prediction of mixing, the
best method of determining the mass-transport coefficients is by
simulating the experiments for acid flow between parallel reactive
surfaces and matching the measured acid concentration profile. For
this purpose, a separate model was developed. This model simu-
lates results of a laboratory experiment with a fracture of constant
width and with prescribed leakoff. The matched values of Kg and
k can then be used for field predictions. The model also can be used
for field-size simulation with a fracture of constant width and
prescribed leakoff, which is comparable to earlier design models.
Leakoff and Wormhollng
The increase of leakoff from the combined effect of matrix acidiz-
ing and wormholing is believed to be a primary reason for the gener-
ally short penetrations of acid fractures. The increase of leakoff
in laboratory cores has been measured by a number of investiga-
tors, 15,16,19 and an example of actual data is presented below. In
the field situation, the increase measured in the laboratory will af-
fect primarily the invaded (C
) region. Therefore, one would ex-
pect field leakoff to increase to the same degree in gas reservoirs
. ,
00 : or
- . . ,. ,
' . . ,Vl

o ,f o
, ., . . \
------ .... -.--- ---- --'-
Fig. 4-Representation of wormhole leakoff in the model.
and to a somewhat lesser degree in oil reservoirs. Nierode* and
King** found that the increased leakoff was necessary for agree-
ment between designed and measured fracture lengths. Hucka-
bee,20 however, reported that field testing indicated no increase
in the overall leakoff coefficient in an oil reservoir.
The wormholing effect is particularly difficult to predict analyti-
cally. Hung'sl3 method allows calculation of single wormhole
growth and simulation of the competition of several wormholes,
but it makes simple assumptions about the pressure field. The cal-
culations also depend on the knowledge of statistical distribution
of pore sizes, which requires laboratory work. Daccord et at. 14
used fractal concepts to characterize the wormhole pattern. While
theoretical models of wormholing may become predictive in the
future, the laboratory leakoff measurement currently is the means
of quantifying measured leakoff for modeling. The method here
is proposed to express the increase in reacting fluid leakoff com-
pared with leakoff of an inert fluid. Then acid leakoff is simulated
with the general model of Ref. 21 and increased in this ratio. Method
implementation is as follows.
1. Generate a theoretical prediction ofIeakoff velocity, vf, vs.
time from the leakoff model used in the fracturing simulator, with
realistic data for the acid fluid but without acidizing effects. Such
a forecast can be obtained by running a laboratory leakoff test with
inert fluid properties and matching it with the model developed spe-
cifically to simulate leakoff data.
2. In the laboratory, measure the leakoff velocity, (v f ) A' for the
acid. From the comparison of (vf)A measured in the laboratory
with the theoretical inert fluid leakoff ve for the same fluid, deter-
mine the ratio
RAf = (ve)A IVe=f(MA)' ............................. (19)
where MA = some measure of the cumulative amount of acid con-
tacting the fracture wall.
3. When the function RAe has been established, calculate the
leakoff velocity in the fracture-geometry model:
( ,)ve(x,t), ........................ (20)
where ve is computed the usual way (without the effect of
acidizing) .
In the model, RAe can be correlated with one of two quantities
that are internally computed as part of the solution: RAf = f(M
) ,
where M Ai is the cumulative mass of acid loss to the formation per
unit area; or RAf=f(M
), where MAt is the cumulative mass of
acid contacting the wall per unit area (Le., acid spent and leaked off).
Note that, although the method of representing the data through
RAf was motivated by an increase in leakoff, it also can be used
to model a decrease that may result from pore collapse or solid
precipitation with some acids. The function RAf can be determined
by matching two laboratory measurements. An example is shown
'Personal communication with D.E. Nierode, Exxon Production Research Co.,
Houston (1988).
"Personal communication with G.E. King, Amoco Production Co., Tulsa (1987).
SPE Production & Facilities, February 1993
Acid type
Mass-transfer coefficient, Kg
Reaction constant, em/sec
Reaction order
Equilibrium concentration, %
Dissolving power, kg/kg acid
Density of soluble rock material, kg/m 3
Activation energy, kJ/kgmol
Heat of reaction, kJ/kg
Reference temperature for reaction data, C
Key to add loss velocity to Kg
in Fig. 2, where a laboratory run on a low-permeability gas reser-
voir core with the pad fluid was followed by a displacement with
acid. The measured and simulated leakoffvolumes from these two
runs are shown. The simulated match was obtained with the func-
tion RAi shown. After the match, a second laboratory test on a
different core was simulated and matched with the same function
. This result, shown in Fig. 3, supports the validity of the con-
cept expressed by Eq. 19. For field application, however, reduc-
ing the effect in liquid-filled reservoirs may be appropriate if the
leakoff can be calibrated from good minifracture data. Further im-
provement of this method is possible by applying the correction
only to the C
region in the field situation.
Relation Between Leakoff and Mass Transfer. When the model
was tested with increased leakoff, it was found that, for certain low
values of mass transfer,' the computed acid concentrations in the
fracture would increase above the input concentrations, which is
physically impossible. This problem (also reported in Ref. 10) is
caused by ignoring the relationship between Kg and Vi and by het-
erogeneity of leakoff (wormholing).
In the homogeneous-Ieakoff case (i.e., no wormholing), the phe-
nomenon can be explained as follows. As discussed, the concen-
tration in the fracture will remain constant if the total amount of
acid leaving the fracture face is equal to the leakoff rate times the
in-situ concentration, qAi=ViC. If we now have a reaction that is
mass-transport-limited, C
will be close to zero (or Ceq), and the
total amount of acid leaving is according to Eq. 14, viCB+
), which potentially can be smaller than ViC. However,
the mass-transfer coefficient is physically related to boundary-layer
thickness, and the boundary layer will diminish with increasing
leakoff. Therefore, Kg must increase with leakoff. To the best of
my knowledge, this dependency has not been measured and reported
in the literature; however, this atgUment can be used to give alimit-
ing condition on the value of Kg:
.......................... (21)
The worst case is if CB=O; therefore, the above condition will al-
ways be satisfied if
........................................ (22)
Because most of the reaction data are obtained for low leakoff
rates, one could argue that the leakoff velocity should be added
to the measured data-i.e., one should use an effective coefficient,
Kge=Kg+vi' .................................... (23)
In the model, an option is provided either to increase Kg auto-
matically to always satisfy Eq. 22 or to add leakoff velocity to Kg
according to Eq. 23.
In the presence of wormholing, one must also consider the het-
erogeneity of leakoff. Once a wormhole develops, the leakoff into
the wormhole is at a concentration close to C instead of C B' Also,
the leakoff rate is nonuniform because most of the leakoff rate is
through the wormhole (Fig. 4). Therefore, for calculation of the
loss term, a weighted average of the two concentrations should be
taken, which will restore physically correct mass balance. Then
SPE Production & Facilities, February 1993
Limestone Formation
0.23000 x 10
0.10910x 10
1.252x 10-
0.40480 x 10
0.10910x 10
Kg can remain at a value consistent with the much lower matrix
leakoff rate.
The effect can be quantified by the use of the leakoff increase
function, RAe, defined by Eq. 19. We assume that part of the in-
crease results from increased matrix leakoff and part from flow into
the wormhole. We can calculate the two components of leakoff.
The total leakoff velocity is
(vi)A =RAeve, .................................... (24)
where Vi is the inert fluid leakoff. Therefore, the total increase is
= (RAi -1)ve = . (vik ................... (25)
The wormhole leakoff velocity, V l'w' and the matrix velocity, vim'
vew=Fw!!.ve=Fw (Ve)A .................... (26a)
and Vim =(Ve)A -Viw' .............................. (26b)
We can now reformulate the boundary condition for total flux
of acid to the fracture surface (Eq. 14) if we assume that the leakoff
to the wormholes is with the concentration C and the cross-sectional
area of the wormholes is small so that the decrease in the reactive
area ofthe matrix is negligible. Then Eq. 14 can be generalized to
QAt=2[QimCB+qiwC+hjrKg(C-CB)]' ............... (27)
Implementation of Eq. 27 requires only additional input of the
wormhole fraction, F w' If F w is high, use of this equation elimi-
nates problems with nonphysical concentrations. To guarantee con-
sistency under any conditions, we must apply the argument given
above to the matrix component. The conditions of Eqs. 22 and 23
change to
....................................... (28a)
and Kge =K
+vim' ................................ (28b)
Thermal Features of the Model
The fracturing simulator that hosts the acid-transport model can
be run in an isothermal or thermal mode. Correspondingly, the for-
mulation of the acid model includes several features that are cou-
pled with heat transfer. These features become active if the
fracturing simulator is run in the thermal mode.
Mass Transport. The internally generated mass-transport coeffi-
cient, Kg, is a function of temperature. This is reflected in the cal-
culation method of Eqs. 15 or 18 because De and the fluid PVT
properties and viscosity that enter the dimensionless groups are func-
tions of temperature. An alternative is to use an Arrhenius type
of equation, as is customary for the reaction rate.
The reaction-rate constant, k, is assumed to be a function of tem-
perature according to the Arrhenius equation:
k=ko exp(-EaIRT), .............................. (29)
51 110
x NO BUT 01' .uenON
Fig. 5-Temperature profiles with and without heat of
reaction-limestone and dolomite formations.
where Ea = activation energy constant. The value of k entered in
the input data is assumed to be k, at the reference temperature, T,.
Then the value at any other temperature can be computed as
k(T) =k,exp[ Ea ( - . ..................... (30)
R T, T
Heat of Reaction. The heat generated from the reaction can sig-
nificantly change the temperature and therefore the acid spending
along the fracture.
,18 The heat energy generated is related to the
mass of acid reacted by
=rHrxn' ................. (31)
where Q, = rate of heat generation per unit area and H rxn = heat of
reaction (energy/mass of acid reacted). In the model, the amount
of acid reacted in each gridblock during timestep n, Wp, is com-
puted and stored. During the solution of the heat balance (which
follows the solution of acid transport), the heat generated in the
fracture gridblock is W,H rxn' and the accumulation side of the
energy equation is modified to include this term, which is essen-
tially a "heat source" in the energy equation.
The feature was tested in the model with Lee and Roberts'18
data. They solved two example problems assuming a limestone or
dolomite formation, with other common data about the treatment
shown in Table 1. Unfortunately, the reaction data are incomplete,
and their model appears to be decoupled from fracture geometry
(constant fracture width). Consequently, we cannot expect to
cate their results. Using the interpretation of the reaction data in
Table 1, we obtained the temperature distribution in the fracture
shown in Fig. 5. The results are similar to Fig. 2 of Ref. 18, but
the temperature peaks are closer to the wellbore.
Numerical Implementation
The above theory of acid transport and leakoff was implemented
in three separate codes: stand-alone leakoff (LOSS), stand-alone
acid-transport model (ACID), and a fully integrated fracturing simu-
lator (FRACANAL). The two auxiliary programs are important
parts of the system because they can be used to characterize the
data necessary to make field predictions, as shown above for fluid-
loss behavior.
Acid-Balance Equation. The acid-balance equation is discretized
with the same basic technique as for propp ant transport. In fact,
the two problems are very similar because the equations for prop-
pant concentration in suspension and acid concentration are analo-
gous, and it is possible to maintain parallel structure of the two
modules. The major difference is that there is no equivalent of set-
tlement in acid transport.
Pumping Schedule
Treatment volume, STB
Pumping rate, bbl/min
Acid concentration, oAl
Reaction Data
Acid type
Type of formation
Diffusion coefficient, De' cm
Reaction constant, cm/sec
Reaction order
Equilibrium concentration, GAl
Dissolving power, Ibm/lbm acid
Density of soluble rock material, Ibm/ft
Isothermal Run
Reference temperature for reaction
data, OF
1 x 10-
Time-Independent Fracture-Fluid Rheology
Newtonian viscosity, cp 100
Constant Fracture-Geometry Data
Fracture height, ft
Depth to fracture center, ft
Fracture width, ft
Fluid density, Ibmlft
Average leakoff velocity, ftlmin
Wall porosity
Fracture grid in x direction: 35 blocks, Ax= 10 ft
The problem is solved numerically as hyperbolic because main-
taining the fronts between different fluids with no dispersion is de-
sirable. This requires logic to track the position of a front within
a gridblock and to subdivide the gridblock with the front into two
elements for the solution of mass balance. The details of this proce-
dure are given in Ref. 22 and apply directly to the acid model.
The mandatory additional term is the rate of decrease of acid mass
in a block caused by spending (reaction) and by loss, expressed
by Eq. 14 or 27. These equations contain two unknowns, C
C Bi' for each gridblock, but the boundary concentration can be
eliminated. For example, the implicit discretization of Eq. 14 is
= 2 [qe; Cr
) .. (32)
The reaction boundary condition, Eq. 13, is discretized as
Kg(C-CB)r+ 1 =k(l-cP)[(CB)r+l -ceq)m . ........... (33)
If m = I, C B can be expressed as
K k'
=---g-Cr+l +-----Ceq=FbCr+l +F
, ... (34)
Kg+k' Kg+k'
where k'=k(l-cP). After elimination from Eq. 32, the final ex-
pression is
(qAt)r 1 = 2 [qfiF
+Ai,Kg(l-Fb)Cr 1 +2(qi -Ai,Kg)Fe'
.................................... (35)
This term can be incorporated into the finite-difference equations
as an implicit sink/source term.
For n I, the elimination cannot be carried out. However, the
following linearization (by Ben Naceur*) solves the problem. Find
an equivalent value of k' so that the reaction rate would be the same
with m=l:
-ceq)m . ....................... (36)
If C B in Eq. 36 is evaluated explicitly at the beginning of the
timestep, the effective value can be computed and the elimination
carried out as before.
Personal communication with K. Ben Naceur. Dowell Schlumberger, Nigeria (1989).
SPE Production & Facilities, February 1993
7 '.tT
, ... ,

.. Q

5 0.esS!

.... !
u De ..... 1 emll.ee
... U ,



25 225 250
Fig. 6-Acid-transport solution-comparison with Ref. 10
(simple reaction data from Table 2).
Integration of Acid Transport Into the Fracturing Simulator.
The acid transport described here was integrated into a general simu-
lator that includes options for 2D and 3D fracture geometry, 23,24
generalized leakoff treatment,25 and a number of other sophisti-
cated features. 26-28 In the overall solution structure, the acid trans-
port is solved sequentially after the geometry and leakoff solution
have been obtained and before the heat-transfer solution has been
updated. The acid module is essentially interchangeable with the
proppant-transport module and can be integrated into the structure
as follows. .
1. During the fracture-geometry/leakoff solution, the elastic frac-
ture width, b, is increased by the acidized width, b:/. This is done
only to calculate flow in the fracture (transmissibilities and flow
velocities) and not for the fracture-opening equations. Also, the acid-
ized width is not added to the mass-balance equations (to fracture
elemental volumes); this corresponds to an assumption that the prod-
ucts of reaction occupy the same volume as the dissolved rock.
2. The computed leakoff velocities are increased by the factor
RAf determined by table look-up from the input data; on the basis
of the amount of acid leaked off at the beginning of the timestep.
The leakoff treatment of foams is different and accounts for the
separation of the liquid and vapor components in porous media.
3. After the geometry/leakoff solution is completed, new acid
flow velocities are computed (with a no-slip assumption) and the
acid transport is solved.
4. After the new acid solution is obtained, the increase in acid-
ized volumes of all blocks is determined and the cumulative acid
masses lost and reacted for each gridblock are updated. The acid-
ized volumes and widths b A are computed on a 2D grid with
horizontal and vertical definition and are used for coupling with
reservoir simulators as described in Ref. 26.
5. Temperature in the fracture is updated by solving the timestep
of the energy-balance equation, including the heat of reaction com-
puted from the acid-transport solution.
At the end of the simulation, the geometry of the acidized frac-
ture [i.e., bA(x,z)] is transferred to the reservoir simulator, and its
conductivity is calculated as a function of the original acidized width
and the local effective stress by Nierode and Kruk's 19 method or
by tables obtained from laboratory measurements.
Validation of Acid Transport Solution
To illustrate the various aspects of the physics, a number of cases
were simulated with the stand-alone ACID model and Lo and
Dean'slO data. Table 2 shows the common data. Because the
model of Ref. 10 assumes an infinite rate of reaction and C B = 0,
a high value of reaction constant, k=O.1 cm/sec, n=l, and Ceq =0
are used here for comparison. Also, a constant value ofleakoffve-
locity, vf =0.001 ft/min, was used. Fig. 6 shows the result with
SPE Production & Facilities, February 1993
1 ...-------------------,0.11
. ...

o ... !

Fig. 7-Effect of increased leakoff, with n=0.5, Ceq =0.2%
and k = 0.01 cm/sec.
internal generation of mass-transfer coefficients. Because Ref. 10
used a constant value of De=O.OOOI cm
/sec, the corresponding
solution with this value is also shown in comparison with Lo and
Dean's results. The solution here is very close to the 2D solution
of Ref. 10, which validates the method used to calculate mass trans-
fer from De' The same agreement was obtained for the case
without leakoff.
To test other features (not included in the model of Ref. 10), the
same basic set of data was used with modifications. The use of a
more reasonable value for the reaction constant, k=O.OI cm/sec,
results in higher boundary concentration and therefore smaller acid-
ized width and demonstrates that the formulation of the model can
handle acidizing controlled by mass transfer, reaction rate, or a
combination of both. The use of nonzero Ceq results in unspent
acid and much smaller acidized width. This may be important for
treatments with weak acids or low concentrations. Having a reac-
tion order lower than 1 increases the rate of reaction. This makes
the result for k=O.OI and n=0.5100k more like the infinite-reacting
system of Fig. 6. The feature is important because the measure-
ments often show low values of n.
The above parameters, although changing the fracture widths,
do not have a large effect on penetration. The final, more realistic
example shows the effect of increased leakoff. The reaction data
were k=O.OI, n=0.5, and C
=0.2, and the laboratory leakoff
increase function shown in Fig. 2 was used. The result is a signifi-
cant decrease in fracture penetration (Fig. 7). In higher-permeability
reservoirs, the increase in leakoff can cause the fracture to stop
growing or even to collapse, as shown later.
The above cases show how the ACID model can be used to de-
termine the sensitivity of acid penetration to various parameters.
However, its most important use is to obtain the best reaction data
for the field design by matching acid flow experiments on slabbed
cores. This procedure, together with matching the leakoff data de-
scribed previously, determines the key parameters for simulation
of the performance of the fracture job.
Example of Fracture Design
As an example, consider treating a formation with properties given
in Table 3. Two treatments will be compared here: (1) a job con-
sisting of a gelled pad followed by straight 28 % acid and (2) a treat-
ment consisting of gel/acid sequence. In both treatments, the total
amount of acid used is the same (1,200 bbl), as shown in Table
4. Alternating the gel and acid has been claimed to reduce acid
loss 29; here the effect is quantified through use of the model. The
difference in the leakoff of straight acid as opposed to alternating
gel and acid was investigated first on a laboratory scale. Fig. 8 shows
the hypothetical laboratory runs simulated with the LOSS model.
In both runs, the first pad was assumed to have a spurt loss and
Vertical stress, pSia
Horizontal stress, psia
Young's modulus, psi a
Poisson's ratio
Biol's constant
Critical stress-intensity factor, K
' psialJit
Reservoir Properties
Average pressure, psia
In-situ horizontal permeability, md
In-situ porosity
Reservoir fluid viscosity, cp
Total in-situ compressibility, pSia-
k, to reservoir fluid at Swc
k, to filtrate in invaded zone
In-situ water saturation, Swc
Residual reservoir fluid saturation to filtrate
Thickness, ft
Depth to center of pay, ft
Thermal Properties
Initial reservoir temperature, of
Density of fluid-saturated rock, Ibm/ft3
Heat capacity of fluid-saturated rock, Btullbm-oF
Thermal conductivity of saturated rock, Btu/ft-D_oF
Drained coefficient of thermal
expansion, 1/
F OAOOx10-
a wall-building coefficient of C
=0.002 ft/min l->. As acid comes
in contact with the fracture wall, the filter cake previously deposit-
ed is assumed to be effectively destroyed, as shown experimentally
in Ref. 15. Subsequent exposure to gel will build a new filter cake,
but without spurt loss. Also, because the gel will enter the worm-
holes preferentially, the decrease in filtrate viscosity is smaller and
thus the effect of C
is larger. This was modeled by assuming a
90% viscosity screenout factor for the pad but only 50% for sub-
sequent gel stages (see Ref. 21 for the formulation of viscosity
Only the initial pad leakoff follows the classic theoretical curve.
During the acid stage, leakoff accelerates; in the gel stage leakoff
is retarded. As a result, the loss with the alternating fluids is about
one-half that with straight acid. Similar improvement would be ex-
pected in the field case, as Fig. 9 shows.

'" /

/ -<

./ 0

" ./

11 17
\\)(B (.flmn.d1
U 71 Sl
Fig. 8-Slmulated laboratory leakoff experiment-comparison
of continuous acid and alternating gel/acid schedule.
Pumping Schedule-Alternating Acid and Gel
STC Volume Rate Concentration Fluid Acid
Step (STB) (bbllmin) (%) Number Number
1 200.00 20.0000 0.00 1 -
2 400.00 20.0000 28.00 2 1
3 200.00 20.0000 0.00 3 1
4 400.00 20.0000 28.00 2 1
5 200.00 20.0000 0.00 3 1
6 400.00 20.0000 28.00 2 1
Pumping Schedule-Continuous Acid
1 200.00 20.0000 0.00 1 -
2 1,200.00 20.0000 28.00 2 1
Assumed fracture height, ft 400.00
Depth to fracture center, ft 11,877.0
Downhole injection temperature, of 85.0
Acid type HCI
Type of formation Limestone
Mass-transfer coefficient, cm/sec 1.0x 10-
Reaction constant, cm/sec 2.3x10-
Reaction order 0.7
Equilibrium concentration, % 0
Dissolving power, Ibmllbm acid 1.37
Density of soluble rock material, Ibm/ft3 179.17
Activation energy, kJ/kgmol 0.23 x 10
Heat of reaction, kJ/kg 0.10910x 10
Reference temperature for reaction data, C 60.00
Key to add loss velocity to Kg 1
Rheology for Fluids 1 and 3 (Gel)
Maximum Minimum
Time Viscosity Viscosity
(minutes) K' n' (cp) (cp)
--- ---
0.00 0.04000 0.5000 625.50 44.23
29.95 0.03000 0.5200 490.87 38.59
60.05 0.02000 0.5500 350.22 32.28
120.10 0.01000 0.6200 205.03 27.38
360.00 0.00100 0.8500 34.30 15.49
Rheology for Fluid 2 (Plain Acid): Constant Viscosity of 1.508 cp
Fluid Number 1 2 3
C III coefficient, ft/min 112 0.002000 0.000000 0.002000
Filtrate viscosity reduction 0.900 1.000 0.500
Spurt loss/unit area for C III 0.01330 0.00000 0.00000
" lift .3t


S .- ."
i!I y
'" 45 15&1

3t '.10

. ...

1. 1t 3t
7. 10
Fig. 9-Fracture hydraulic lengths and widths for acid Jobs
with continuous acid and alternative gel/acid schedule.
SPE Production & Facilities, February 1993
In the job with continuous acid injection, the fracture width dur-
ing the acid stage decreases until the fracture closes. During this
period, fracture length is stationary. Only about 470 bbl of acid
could be pumped with the 200-bbl pad. This volume then presents
the natural upper boundary for the optimum treatment size (which
can be determined more accurately by coupled production simula-
tions and economic analysis).
For alternating fluids, fracture width increases in each gel stage,
and the entire job can be pumped. The fracturing pressure follows
the same oscillating pattern as the width (similar to results reported
in Ref. 9). It is apparent that the oscillations caused by alternating
the fluids tend to average out with time. This suggests that smoother
behavior could be achieved with a larger number of smaller stages.
Fig. 10 shows the resulting acidized fracture profiles. The solid
shape is the acidized width at the end of the job; the line is the hy-
draulic width (without the acidized contribution) at the end of pump-
ing. The alternating-fluid design gives greater penetration and larger
width, mostly because of the ability to place a larger volume. Even-
with the large treating volume, however, the penetration depth is
only about 100 ft or less. This is in general agreement with field
The model was used subsequently to simulate field cases where
both pre fracture and postfracture pressure data were available and
was found to be in excellent agreement with the fracture lengths
derived from pressure-transient analysis.
A general model of acid fracturing and a method to characterize
the leakoff in acid jobs were developed. The novel model features
I. The acidizing process can be controlled by both mass transfer
and rate of reaction and allows arbitrary order of reaction and equi-
librium concentration.
2. The model allows multiple fluids with different rheologies,
particularly alternating gel/acid sequences.
3. The increase in leakoff caused by matrix acidizing and worm-
holing effects at the fracture wall is an important factor for realis-
tic calculation of acid penetration. A convenient method was
developed for quantifying the effect experimentally and including
it in the numerical model.
4. A method was developed to account for the influence of in-
creased leakoff on mass-transfer coefficients.
The modeling system developed has three features: (I) auxiliary
programs for modeling leakoff and reaction laboratory experiments,
used to derive the necessary data by history matching; (2) the main
acid-fracturing model, implicitly integrated with 2D or 3D frac-
ture geometry and heat-transfer calculation; and (3) coupling with
reservoir forecasting models, which allows optimization ofthe de-
sign or comparison with a proppant treatment.
With proper data, the design model predicts small acidized lengths
consistent with field observations. Future model extensions will in-
clude the treatment of viscous fingering for ungelled acids and com-
bined acidlproppant designs.
A = elemental area, L2
Ac = cross-sectional area of fracture, L2
Air = reactive area in Block i, L2
b = fracture width, L
C = concentration, mlV
= leakoff coefficient for reservoir, LIYt
Crn = leakoff coefficient for filter cake, LIYt
De = effective diffusion coefficient, L2 It
Ea = activation energy, Elm
Fb,Fe = terms defined by Eq. 3
F w = fraction of ieakoff increase resulting from
= fracture full height, L
hfe = fracture leakoff height, L
= fracture reactive height, L
SPE Production & Facilities, February 1993
' 1


.::. .11
Fig. 10-Fracture acldlzed width profiles for acid jobs with
continuous acid and alternating gel/acid schedule.
= specific heat of reaction, Elm
i = injection rate for one wing, V It
k = reaction-rate constant, Lit
K = apparent rate constant from Ref. 6, Lit
Kg = apparent mass-transfer coefficient from Ref. 7, Lit
= fracture half-length, L
NNu = Nusselt number, bKgID
NPe = Peclet number, v[b/2D
= Reynolds number, 2bV/p
Nsc = Schmidt number, plDe
NSh = Sherwood number, 2bK
q = rate, Vlt
R = gas-law constant
RAe = ratio of leakoff velocity increase caused by acid
t = time
T = temperature
ve = leak-off velocity, Lit
Vx,y = flow velocity components, Lit
v = average, velocity in fracture, Lit
'Y3 = shape coefficient for fracture cross-sectional area
p, = fluid viscosity, cp
p = kinematic viscosity of fluid, p=p,lp, L2/t
p = density, mIY
cf> = porosity
A = acid
B = boundary (fracture wall)
D = dimensionless
e = effective
eq = equilibrium
i = injection
= leakoff (loss)
m = matrix
r = reference
t = total
w = wormhole
m = reaction order
n,n+ I = beginning and end of timestep
= average
r ~ Antonln Sattarl, president of Simtech
Consulting Services in Calgary, develops
computer simulation techniques for
reservoir modeling and hydraulic fractur-
ing. Before establishing Simtech, he was
with Intercomp Resource Development
& Engineering Ltd. in Calgary, London,
and Houston. He has been involved in a
wide range of research and engineering
applications in reservoir simulation, en-
hanced recovery, hydraulic fracturing,
in-situ thermal processes in oil sands,
and completion engineering. Coauthor of Petroleum Reservoir
Simulation, Settari also was a 1989 Distinguished Lecturer.
He holds a BS degree from the Technical U. of Brno and a
PhD degree from the U. of Calgary, both in mechanicai engi-
This research was done in the course of Simtech's maintenance of
the FRACANAL software and was supported by the FRACANAL
User Group. I express my appreciation to a number of people who
contributed their ideas, particularly Kamel Ben Naceur,Dale Nier-
ode, Curtis Crowe, and M. Tambini.
1. Roberts, L.D. and Guin, J.A.: "The Effect of Surface Kinetics in Frac-
ture Acidizing," SPEJ (Aug. 1974) 385-95; Trans., AIME, 257.
2. Williams, B.B. et at.: "Characterization of Liquid-Solid Reactions.
Hydrochloric Acid-Calcium Carbonate Reaction," Ind. & Eng. Chern.
Fund. (1970) 9, No.4, 589.
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in Limestone Formations," SPEJ (Dec. 1971) 406-18; Trans., AIME,
4. Nierode, D.E., Williams, B.C. , and Bambardieri, C.c.: "Prediction
of Stimuiation From Acid Fracturing Treatments," J. Cdn. Pet. Tech.
(Oct .-Dec. 1973) 31-4l.
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ments," JPT (July 1972) 849-59; Trans., AIME, 253.
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Acidizing Process in Acid Fracturing," SPEJ (Aug. 1973) 239-50;
Trans., AIME, 258.
7. Roberts, L.D. and Guin, J.A.: "A New Method for Predicting Acid
Penetration Distance," SPEJ (Aug. 1975) 277-85.
8. Williams, B.B., Gidley, J.L., and Schechter, R.S.: Acidizing Fundamen-
tals, Monograph Series, SPE, Richardson, TX (1979) 6.
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Acid Fracturing Treatments, " paper SPE 18978 presented at the 1989
SPE Rocky Mountain Regional /Low Permeability Reservoirs Sympo-
sium, Denver, March 6-8.
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(May 1989) 194-200; Trans., AIME, 287.
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Treatments," paper SPE 18885 presented at the 1989 SPE Production
Operations Symposium, Oklahoma City, March 13-14.
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of Wormhole Growth in Carbonate Matrix Acidizing and Acid Frac-
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ing," PhD dissertation, U. of Texas, Austin, TX (May 1987).
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Toward a Quantitative Model of the Wonnholing Phenomenon," SPEPE
(Feb. 1989) 63-68; Trans. , AIME, 287.
15. Crowe, C.W., Hutchinson, B.H. , and Trittipo, B.L. : " Fluid-Loss Con-
trol : The Key to Successful Acid Fracturing, " SPEPE(Aug. 1989) 215-
20; Trans., AIME, 287.
16. Crowe, C.W., McGowan, G.R. , and Baranet, S.E.: "Investigation of
Retarded Acids Provides Better Understanding of Their Effectiveness
and Potential Benefits," SPEPE (May 1990) 166-70.
17. Chang, Ch.-Y. Guin, J.A., and Roberts, L.D.: "Surface Reaction With
Combined Forced and Free Convection," A IChE J. (March 1976) 22,
No. 2, 252-59.
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Temperature Distribution and Acid Penetration in a Fracture," SPEJ
(Dec. 1980) 501-07.
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Additives, Retarded Acids, and Acidized Fracture Conductivity," paper
SPE 4549 presented at the 1973 SPE Annual Meeting, Las Vegas, Sept.
30-0ct. 3.
20. Huckabee, P.T.: "Carbonate Stimulation Optimization Using Hydraulic
Fracturing Field Testing, " paper SPE 18224 presented at the 1988 SPE
Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, Houston, Oct. 2-5.
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turing," SPEJ (Aug. 1985) 491-501.
22. FRACANAL-Technical Description, Simtech Consulting Services Ltd.,
Calgary (1983-88) Chap. 1, Sec. 3.
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Lateral Fracture Growth," SPEPE (Aug. 1988) 310-22.
24. Settari, A. and Wong, S.K. : "Modeling of Fracture Propagation in
Layered Reservoirs," paper SPE 18958 presented at the 1989 SPE
Rocky Mountain Regional/Low Permeability Reservoirs Symposium,
Denver, March 6-8.
25. Settari , A.: "General Model of Fluid Flow (Leakoff) From Fractures
Induced in Injection Operations," paper SPE 18197 presented at the
1990 SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, Houston, Oct .
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Modeling of Hydraulic Fracturing Processes," SPEPE (Feb. 1990)
27. Settari , A., Bachman, R.C., and Morrison, D.B.: "Numerical Simu-
lation of Hydraulic Fracturing Treatments With Low-Viscosity Fluids,"
J. Cdn. Pet. Tech. (Sept.-Oct. 1987) 31-40.
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Sands, " Proc. , Fourth UNIT ARIUNDP Conference, Edmonton (1988)
paper 43.
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vide Improved Leakoff Control for Fracture Acidizing," paper SPE
6124 presented at the 1976 SPE Annual Technical Conference and Ex-
hibition, New Orleans, Oct. 3-6.
SI Metric Conversion Factors
bbl x 1.589873 E-Ol m
Btu x 1.055056 E+OO kJ
cp x 1.0* E+OO mPa's
ft x 3.048* E-Ol m
ft2 x 9.290304* E-02 m
ft3 x 2.831 685 E-02 m
(OF-32)/1.8 =oC
in. x 2.54* E+OO cm
Ibm x 4.535924 E-01 kg
psi x 6.894757 E+OO kPa
x 1.450377 E-Ol kPa-
Conversion factor is exact. SPEPF
Original SPE manuscript received for review April 15, 1991. Revised manuscript received
June 24, 1992. Paper accepted for publication Aug. 10, 1992. Paper (SPE 21870) first
presented at the 1991 SPE Rocky Mountain Regional/Low Permeability Reservoirs Sym-
posium held in Denver, April 15-17.
SPE Production & Facilities, February 1993