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Formation Damage Effects and Overview

Where is the damage?

How does it affect production?

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Impact of Damage on Production
Look at Effect of Damage
Type of Damage
Severity of Plugging
Depth of Damage
Ability to Prevent/Remove/By-Pass

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Horizontal Well Formation Damage
Zone of Invasion - Homogeneous Case

Is damage evenly spread out along the well path or does it go down the
highest permeability streaks?

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Horizontal Well Formation Damage Theories
Zone of Invasion - Heterogeneous Case

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Observations on Damage
1. Shallow damage is the most common and
makes the biggest impact on production.
2. It may take significant damage to create
large drops in production
3. The problem, however, is that the highest
permeability zones are the easiest to
damage, and that can have a major impact
on productivity.

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Pressure Distribution Around a 200 md Oil Well

Pressure, psi

2400 The pressure drop around an unfractured wellbore
shows the importance of the near wellbore on inflow. If
2300 this area is significant damaged, the effect is
immediately noticeable.
0 200 400 600 800 1000 1200
Radial Distance, ft World Oil, Modern Sandface
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1. The most noticeable damage impacts the the well in the first 30 cm or 12 inches of the

Effect of Depth and Extent of Damage on


% of original Flow

60 80% Damage
50 90% Damage
40 95% Damage

0 1 2 3
Radial Extent E. Damage,
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2. The effect of the damage thickness compared with the amount of
damage (as a percent of initial permeability). Only the most severe
damage has a significant effect in a thin layer. (Darcy law beds-in-series

Effect of Damage Layer Thickness



0.01" thick
0.05" thick
0.001 0.1" thick
0.01 0.1 1 10 1" thick
Damaged Perm, % of initial
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2. (continued) As the damage layer thickens and becomes more severe, the impact on
production builds quickly.

Productivity Loss From Formation Damage

Productivity as a Fraction of

Undamaged Prod.

0.75 Kd/Ki = 0.5

0.7 Kd/Ki = 0.2
Kd/Ki = 0.1
0.55 Kd/Ki = 0.05
0.5 Kd/Ki = 0.02
0 2 4 6 8 10
Depth of Damaged Zone, inches World Oil, Modern
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3. Highest permeability zones are easiest to damage:
Pore Size vs. Permeability
SDA-01 Balakhany X (SP2) Hg permeability mD
SDA-01 Fasila B (SP3) Hg permeability mD
SDA-02 Balakhany VIIIC Hg permeability mD
SDA-02 Fasila D (SP4) Hg permeability mD
K mD
Power (K mD)
y = 1.3661x 2.4865
R2 = 0.982
Large connected pores and natural
fractures dominate the permeability of
permeability (m

a formation.

The size of particles that can
cause damage in these larger
pores is larger than 1/3rd and
100 smaller than 1/7th. For a 8
micron pore, the small size
would be 1 micron and less.

0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
mean hydraulic radius (m)
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MI for BP SD field
The Effect of Damage on
Rate = (P x k x h) / (141.2 o o s)

P = differential pressure (drawdown due to skin)
k = reservoir permeability, md
h = height of zone, ft
o = viscosity, cp
o = reservoir vol factor
s = skin factor

What are the variables that can be improved, modified or impacted in a positive way?
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Productivity and Skin Factor
Just an estimation, but not too far off between skin
Q1/Qo = 7/(7+s) numbers of zero and about 15.

Q1 = productivity of zone w/ skin, bpd
Qo = initial productivity of zone, bpd
s = skin factor, dimensionless

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A better presentation of the damage from increasing skin
factor. Skin only has an impact if the well can really produce
the higher rate and the facilities can process it.
Productivity Ratio vs. Skin Factor

Productivity Factor, %

Range of Skin Factors
Associated with Frac Pack
Range of Skin Factors Associated with
100 Cased Hole Gravel Pack Completions


-5 5 15 25 35 45 55
3/14/2009 Skin Factor
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Productivity for skins of -1, 5, 10 and 50 in a
well with a undamaged (s=0) production
capacity of 1000 bpd
s = -1, Q1 = 1166 bpd
s = 5, Q1 = 583 bpd
s = 10, Q1 = 412 bpd

The best stimulation results are usually for

damage removal and damage by-pass.
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Another way of stating damage - Damage in a horizontal well increasing skin makes
the well behave like the drilled lateral was much shorter.

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Damage Causes
Obstructions in the natural flow path in the
Pseudo damage such as turbulence - very
real effect, but no visible obstructions
Structural damage from depletion matrix
compression, etc.

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Flow Path Obstructions
Scale, paraffin, asphaltenes, salt, etc.,
Perforations 12 spf w/ 0.75 / 1.9 cm holes only
opens 2% of the casing wall.
Tubing too small - too much friction
Any fluid column in the well, even a flowing fluid
column holds a backpressure on the well:
Salt water = 0.46 psi/ft
Dead oil = 0.36 psi/ft
Gas lifted oil = 0.26 psi/ft
Gas = 0.1 psi/ft (highly variable with pressure)

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Pseudo Damage
high rate wells
gas zones most affected
Affected areas:
perfs (too few, too small)
Near wellbore (tortuosity)
fracture (conductivity too low)
tubing (tubing too small, too rough)
surface (debottle necking needed)
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Structural Damage
Tubular Deposits
solids (fill)
corrosion products

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Perforation Damage
debris from perforating
sand in perf tunnel - mixing?
mud particles
particles in injected fluids
pressure drop induced deposits

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Near Well Damage
in-depth plugging by injected particles
migrating fines
water swellable clays
water blocks, water sat. re-establishment
polymer damage
wetting by surfactants
relative permeability problems
matrix structure collapse

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Deeper Damage
water blocks
formation matrix structure collapse
natural fracture closing

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Other Common Damages
fines migration (increasing skin)
water blocks
paraffin and asphaltenes
turbulence rate dependent skin
perf debris
Initial damage from mud and DIFs
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Skin Components and Determination

Total Skins (s) = So + Stp + D Q

So = laminar skin
Stp = 2-phase skin
D = rate dependent skin
Q = rate

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Skin Components and Determination

Multi-rate tests => So, Stp, D

B/U Test => total skin, k
2 B/U Tests => So, D, k

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Cleaning Damage
Most damage is removed by simple clean-up
How much drawdown?
How long to flow it?
How soon to flow it?
To do it?

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Root Causes of Residual Damage
After Clean-up Flow.
High perm formations less affected?
Major damage removers:
Flow Rate per unit area,
Flow Volume per unit area,
Pressure pulse?
Drawdown per unit area a control?

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First Problem
We dont understand cleanup by

Its a matter of flow rate and volume

through a given area.

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Clean-up flow is For the same pay
diluted by the thickness, a horizontal
length of interval well or a fractured well
open at once for may contact 100s of
cleanout. times more pay zone area
than a vertical well.
A 10 ft pay in a A 1000 ft pay in a
vertical well w/ 6 horizontal well w/ 6
diameter yields diam. yields contact
contact area of 16 ft2 area of 1600 ft2

Now, think about the set drawdown say

500 psi - per unit area, the velocity
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generated, and the total volume per area.
Which has the potential of cleaning
up faster and more completely?
5000 bpd

Horiz. Well assume 5x more than vertical

1000 bpd flow (typical) would generate 5000 bpd,
but spread over 1600 ft2 and release a
clean-up flow of only 3 gal per hour per ft.
Vertical well - 500 psi dd and
an inflow of 100 bbl/day/ft
spread out over just 16 ft2 will
generate a clean-up flow of
110 gal per hour per ft.
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Second Problem
We dont understand damage.
How it got there
How it is removed.
How to prevent it.
What operations put the wells productivity at

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Some examples of GOM skins versus md-ft
Note the increasing skin in higher conductivity wells why? It should be easier to remove
damage in higher perm formations. The key here is that turbulent (non-darcy or non
mechanical) skins are nearly always higher in high capacity wells especially gas.

Industry Frac Pack Oil & Gas Well Performance

(permeability-thickness vs. skin)

Heidrun Gp
There are many
Harding Appraisal GP
MC109 Frac-Enzyme - Oil
30 mechanisms,
Pompano - Oil
but few are
Mars FP - Oil

20 we learn how
Marathon Data
to remove

Oryx HRWF- HI 379 - Oil & Gas

Elf Hylia X/L + HEC Tail - Oil
Ew ing Bank FP- Oil

100 1,000
George E. 10,000
King Engineering 100,000 1,000,000
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Permeability Thickness (md-ft)
Cleanup examples from Alaska wells high losses into high PI wells,
Fluid Loss Rate from Pre Workover PI - Alaska


Daily Loss, bbls




0 2 4 6 8 10

PI, bbls/day/psi
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SPE 26042 34
there was actually little correlation with amount lost.

% change in PI

% change in PI on Workover

0 2000 4000 6000 8000 10000 12000

Total Fluid
George E. King Loss, bbls
Of higher importance was whether the perfs were protected or not.

PI Change, Perfs Not Protected

40 PI of Wells
0.3 0.5 1.1 2.1 3.1 6 18.9
% Change in PI




-20 Short Term PI Change
Long Term PI Change


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SPE 26042 36
When perfs were protected, that was little risk of long term damage.

PI Change After Workover - Perfs Protected

PI of wells
0.3 1.2 3.1 4.6 8.4
% Change in PI

10 Short Term PI Change
0 Long Term PI Change

-10 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

SPE 26042
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When the perfs were not protected, the well was damaged.

Damage in Fractured Wells with Unprotected

-10 1 2 3 4 5
PIi = 7.55
% Damage

-30 PIi = 6.21

-40 PIi = 1.92
PIi = 7.55
PIi = 18.1

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One very detrimental action was running a scraper prior to packer
setting. The scraping and surging drives debris into unprotected

Effect of Scraping or Milling Adjacent to Open


20 Perfs not protected by

10 LCM prior to scraping
% Change in PI

1 Perfs protected
2 by
Short Term PI Change
Long Term PI Change
-60 SPE 26042
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Sized particulates, particularly those that can be removed, are much less
damaging than most polymers, even the so-called clean polymers.

Kill Pills: Summary of Overall Effectiveness in

Non Fractured Wells
Sized Borate Salts
5 Fibers (3) HEC Pills No Pills
% Change in PI

Sized Sodium No Near Perf
-5 1 2 3
Chloride (12)
4 5 6
Milling (8)

-10 No Near Perf Milling

Near Perf Milling or
-20 Scraping (3)
Near Perf Milling
-25 or Scraping (10)
SPE 26042

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Third Problem
We dont know enough about timing of damage
Variety of causes
Polymer dehydration
Decomposition of materials
Adsorption, absorption and capillary effects

Field data from Troika (100,000 md-ft) show initial

flow improves PI, but later flow does not.

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Deepwater Well Cleanup Lessons
On initial cleanup, PI erratically increased as choke
opened. Typical response was a decrease, as if well
/ flow path were loading up, then sharp PI
increase, seemingly when the obstruction was
Little partly broken polymer recovered, but early
load water recovery matched PI incr.
Lower skins were linked to both sand flow before
completion (sand surge removed damage),
increased cleanup flow volumes (and drawdown)
on initial cleanup, and more effective frac
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Deepwater Cleanup Lessons
Wells cleaned up with increasing drawdown
immediately following backflow start. Cleanup was
increasing, measured by increasing PI, at the end of
the first short cleanup periods prior to shut-in of
the well.
After initiation of production operations - after first
cleanup flow, no further cleanup of damage was
seen, regardless of drawdown. The reason is not
known, but may be due to polymer adhering or
cooking out?

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Fourth Problem
We dont understand how damage impacts
economic return.

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Example Economics - Skin Sensitivity

170 40

160 35
PV-10, $ mm

130 ROR

110 15

100 10
0 5 10 15 20 25

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An example of a completion method
that minimizes damage.
Perforating, but with enough underbalance to
create the flow necessary to clean the

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Look at some of the most common damage mechanisms. In some formations, a
specific damage is very detrimental, while in another formation, the damage is

Type of Most Impact on Surge Flow Vol. Removal Alternate

Damage Probable Productivity Pressure Or Time Hampered by Methods of
Location if not Needed for Needed for Limits on Removal or
Removed Removal? Removal? Cleanup Vol? Prevention
Mud Cake Formation Moderate to Yes Spurt Yes Acids, Soaps,
in Pay Zone Face Severe Volume Enzymes
Mud Filt. <12 Minor - mod. No No
Whole Mud Fractures Severe Possible, Depend on Yes, flow Few successful
Loss and large Can help in Cond. few combined with whole mud
vugs few cases. cases solvent removals when
similar treatment vol. > 200 bbls.
Cement <12 into Only if clay No No
Filtrate pay damage
Perforation around Moderate to Yes 4 to 12 Yes Surge small
Crush Zone perf Severe gal/perf zones into
chamber, acids,
pulses, fracs
Formation perf Most severe Cleanup Depends on Develop good
sand in tunnels and reperf initial &later perf and
perfs actions prepack actions
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When looking at the range of skins, it is useful to know that some
wells have high skins but are really restricted by other factors such as
tubing flow limits, facility limits, etc., and are not really limited by the

Type of Damage Skin range Comments

Mud Cake in Pay +5 to +300, Mud skin is usually shallow and has more impact when
Zone +15 is typical turbulence and non-darcy skin problems are most severe. Mud
cake is usually by-passed by perforating.
Mud Filtrate +3 to +30 Filtrate usually recovered by steady flow and time. Related to
relative perm effects. This is usually a short lived problem (1 to
3 weeks)
Whole Mud Loss (in >+50 Options depend on mud volume lost. Enzymes, solvents and
pay zone) acids for small volumes (<10 bbls). Sidetrack if over 1000 bbls.
Low solids mud can be removed by concentrating on viscosifier
destruction or dispersment.
Cement Filtrate +10 to +20 Very shallow clay problems. Perforate with deep penetrating
charges to get beyond. Use leakoff control on cement.
Perforation Crush +10 to +20 Perf small intervals underbalanced. Isolation packer breaksown,
Zone explosive sleeve breakdown (very simple) - must be
accomplished prior to gravel packing.
Formation sand in >+50 Most severe typical damage - cleanout and recompletion
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Table 3: Completion Efficiency Factors (Stracke, SPE 16212) Shown as a percent of wells
in each bracketed completion efficiency range.
Factor 100-75% 75-50% 50-25% 25-0%
Underbalance perf w/ surge chamber 26 26 26 23
Perforate and wash perfs 25 40 19 15
Underbalance perf w/ surge chamber + wash perfs 71 14 14 0
Surge Vol < 4 gal/ft 23 19 35 23
Surge Vol > 4 gal/ft 43 29 14 14
Surge differential < 1000 psi 27 24 24 24
Surge differential >1000 psi 19 27 31 23
Drilling overbalance <300 psi 15 48 19 19
Drilling overbalance >300 psi 31 31 23 16
Drilling overbalance >1000 psi 27 31 23 19
Completion overbalance <300 psi 25 39 25 12
Completion overbalance >300 psi < 600 psi 21 36 21 21
Completion overbalance >600 psi 47 21 5 26
This data is difficult to understand unless the attention is focused at those factors which deliver
the most wells in the 100% to 75% efficiency range, e.g., underbalance perf w/surge chamber
and wash perfs.
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Notice that underbalance perforating at high underbalance (which causes flow) delivers a
perforation that is from 40% to nearly 300% larger than the other methods of perforating.

Table 4: Perforation Tunnel Volume Following Perforating at Different Conditions

(Regalbuto and Riggs, SPE PE, Feb 1988)

Pressure Differential Hole Volume, perforated Hole Volume, perforated/surged

Overbalanced, 18 cc
500 psi, no surge
Balanced perforated, no surge 31 cc
Underbalanced perforated, 500 20 cc 42 cc
Balanced perforated, delayed 31 cc 48 cc
1000 psi surge
Underbalanced perforated, 1000 50 cc 75 cc

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Back to over-all damage
What is it?
Divide the well into three parts:
Inflow: area from reservoir to the wellbore
Completion potential: flow to surface
Surface restrictions: chokes, lines, separators.

Basically, anything that causes a restriction in

the flow path decreases the rate and acts as

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Differential pressure, P, is actually a pressure balance
100 psi
10 psi
25 psi 15 psi
1000 psi
Column Densities:
Gas = 1.9 lb/gal = 0.1 psi/ft = 1000
1900 psi in a 10,000 ft well
Dead oil = 7 lb/gal = 0.364 psi/ft = 3640 psi in a 10,000 ft well
Fresh water = 8.33 lb/gal = 0.433 psi/ft = 4330 psi in a 10,000 ft well
Drop Salt water = 10 lb/gal = 0.52 psi/ft = 5200 psi in a 10,000 ft well
Gas cut flowing oil = 5 lb/gal = 0.26 psi/ft = 2600 psi in a 10,000 ft well
4600 psi reservoir pressure
-2600 psi flowing gradient for oil
Where does - 150 psi press drop

the P come
- 100 psi through the choke
- 25 psi through the flow line
- 10 psi through the separator
from? - 15 psi through downstream flow line
10,000 ft -1000 psi sales line entry pressure
4600 psi George E. King Engineering
P = 700 psi drawdown pressure
The first step..
For the purposes of this work, consider the
flow connection between the reservoir and
the wellbore as the primary but not the only
area of damage.
Now, is it formation damage or something
else that causes the restriction?

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Some sources of the damage in the
reservoir-wellbore connection
Wetting phases (from injected or lost fluids)
Debris plugging the pores of the rock
Polymer waste from frac and drilling fluids
Compacted particles from perforating
Limited entry (too few perforations)
Converging radial flow wellbore too small
Reservoir clay interactions with injected fluids
Precipitation deposits (scale, paraffins, asphaltenes, salt,
Note that not all are really formation damage How do you
identify the difference?

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And some restrictions in very high perm wells is the casing and the
very limited amount of open area that perforations create.
Data comparing cased and perforated skin with skins from open hole
completed wells from Algeria.
Turbulent Skin
Cased Hole - Vertical - 5" Tbg
Mechanical Skin
Open Hole - Vertical - 7" Tbg

Open Hole - Slanted - 7" Tbg

15-20 degree
Total Skin

65-75 degree
50-65 degree

60-70 degree
65-80 degree Turbulent Skins
Norm alized to
65-75 degree Rates of 100
m m scfd

Tg 308 Tg 312bis Tg 315bis Teg 15y tg 307ter Tg 305bisz Teg 14z Teg 11z Teg 12z Teg 10z
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Identification of Damage.
How good are you at deductive reasoning?
Identifying the cause and source of damage is
detective work.
Look at the well performance before the problem
Look at the flow path for potential restrictions
Look to the players:
Flow path ways
Flow rate

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What is Completion Efficiency?
A measure of the effectiveness of a
completion as measured against an ideal
completion with no pressure drops.
Pressure drops? these are the restrictions,
damage, heads, back-pressures, etc. that
restrict the wells production.

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Look again - The Effect of Damage on
Rate = (P x k x h) / (141.2 o o s)

P = differential pressure (drawdown due to skin)
k = reservoir permeability, md
h = height of zone, ft
o = viscosity, cp
o = reservoir vol factor
s = skin factor

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What changeable factors control
production rate?
Pressure drop need maximum drawdown
and minimum backpressures.
Permeability - enhance or restore k? - yes
Viscosity can it be changed? yes
Skin can it be made negative?

These factors are where we start our

stimulation design.

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Formation Damage

Basically, the severity of damage on production

depends on the location, extent and type of the
damage. A well can have significant deposits, fill
and other problems that do not affect production.

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Damage is usually shallow.
Remove it or by-pass damage if it really causes
a problem.
Not every damage is in the formation.
Not every drop in production is caused by
First, remove the pressure drops, everything
else will take care of itself.
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