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(3) Being easily removed after the

treatment without a productivity
Presented by:

A number of factors influence treating

Diversion Considerations fluid placement including:
(1) the number and thickness of open
Diversion can be described as an intervals,
operational technique that attempts to (2) inherent permeability variations,
promote uniform treatment of a longer (3) in-situ rock stresses and reservoir
heterogeneous interval, or to pressures,
sequentially direct treating fluids to (4) presence of natural or hydraulic
different zones. Methods to divert fractures,
include ball sealers, particulates, (5) plugged perforations,
viscous fluids, hydraulic and related (6) near-wellbore damage,
methods, and mechanical isolation. (7) cement, casing, and other wellbore
integrity problems,
Diversion should be considered for both (8) stimulation fluid reaction rate
matrix and multi-stage/long-interval
fracturing treatments. Matrix diversion The diversion technologies available to
should be considered when attempting the industry can be grouped into the
to treat intervals longer that about 20 to following categories:
50 feet, or for zones separated by more  Mechanical,
than about 20 feet. Fracture diversion  Hydraulic and related techniques,
should be considered for zones  Viscous fluids,
separated by more than 50 feet and for  Particulates,
intervals longer than 100 to 150 feet.  Foam, and
 Ball sealers.
An effective diverting agent must
temporarily plug a zone accepting Mechanical Diversion
treating fluid, force fluids to other zones Mechanical diversion techniques are
requiring treatment, then be easily used for both matrix and fracture
removed without a productivity diversion. Mechanical diversion
impairment. For particulates and usually requires manipulating a tool or
viscous fluids, complete diverter hardware in a well that is designed to
removal is often a challenge. Effective block flow pathways. These methods
treating fluid diversion is often the key often require the use of a rig, coiled
to successful acidizing. tubing, wireline, or pre-installed
equipment. As such, mechanical
methods are often higher cost and may
An effective diverting agent functions involve greater mechanical risks. Some
by: examples of mechanical diversion are
(1) Temporarily plugging a zone coiled tubing reciprocation, retrievable
accepting fluid, bridge plugs, inflatable packers on
(2) Increasing the wellbore pressure coiled tubing and multifrac baffles
and forcing fluids to damaged
regions, lower permeability
zones, or other zones requiring
treatment, and
technique is also known as complete,
treat, and plugback or Pine Island
fracture diversion.

Foams are often touted as matrix

diverting techniques for gravel packed
wells where diversion options are
limited. Simply foaming a fluid on
surface and pumping it away will likely
not provide much placement benefit in
Inflate Packers Deflate Packers Inflate Packers
Treat Lower Zone Move Tool Up Treat Upper Zone most wells. Staging foamed and non-
Schematic of Inflatable Straddle foamed fluids may help. If achievable,
Packers Diversion Process techniques to generate a stable higher
viscosity foam downhole within the
reservoir rock may be even more

Viscous Fluid Diversion

Viscous fluid diverters are temporary

wellbore plugs intended to allow
treatment of shallower zones after
setting. The process is similar to that of
Perforate Lower Zone
Fracture Lower Zone
Drop Frac Ball
Perforate Upper Zone a sand plug with the sand replaced with
Fracture Upper Zone
a chemical. Viscous fluids are
Schematic of Multifrac Baffle Diversion composed of high molecular-weight
Process. polymers, a crosslinking agent, and a
delayed breaker. Depending on
Hydraulic and Related Techniques wellbore conditions and diversion
for Diversion needs, the mix water may also contain
dissolved salts, a bactericide, and/or a
Hydraulic and related methods are also pH buffer
used for both matrix and fracture
diversion. Hydraulic treatments include Particulate Diversion
limited entry, modified limited entry, A particulate diverter is a granular solid
foams, and sand plugbacks. For that is placed in a treating fluid to plug
fracture diversion, limited entry zones accepting fluid. Particulates are
involves relying on the perforation most often used for matrix diversion,
friction drops to increase wellbore but are also claimed to provide fracture
pressure and divert fluids to other diversion in some circumstances. The
zones. Due to perforation erosion by primary particulate types are benzoic
sand, this technique is only effective for acid, naphthalene, rock salt, resins,
acid (not proppant) fracturing. waxes, and polymers. Particulate
Modified limited entry combines diverters are not:
limited perforations with another
diverting agent such as ball sealers.  Materials with limited solubility in
produced or cleanup fluids (sand, silica
Sand plugbacks for fracture diversion flour),
involve perforating a lower zone,
fracture stimulation, followed by a
wellbore screenout or sand filling. This
 Enhanced oil recovery chemicals or
chemicals for improving flow
conformance, As the procedure continues and
 Fluid loss agents, additional foam is generated, its
 Acid gelants, resistance to continued movement
 Lost circulation materials, or through fractures and rock matrix
 Water shut-off chemicals. increases until the pressure required to
sustain additional flow is greater than
A number of factors influence the the pressure required to break down
selection of a suitable particulate another section of the interval. At this
diverter including: point the rate of injection into the
original section is reduced, and the
 Reservoir and treating temperature, newly opened section accepts the next
portion of acid. This procedure is
 Particulate solubility in the carrier
repeated as many times as necessary to
and produced fluids,
stimulate the entire producing zone.
 Type of treatment (matrix or
fracture), placement technique, and
Alternatively, compressed gas is
completion design,
injected into the aqueous fluid stream
 Reservoir characteristics, containing the foaming surfactant at
 Fluid viscosity and density, and surface and foam is created. As the
 Other additives in the treating fluid, foam follows the acid pad into the
formation the effects of multiple phase
If a particulate functions properly, it flow (liquid and gas) creates resistance
will: to flow and results higher pressures. The
(1) Retard of stop flow into a fracture higher pressure breaks down further
or high permeability region, sections of formation and the newly
(2) Build pressure in the wellbore opened section accepts the next portion
and force treating fluids to another of acid.
zone, and
(3) Dissolve, degrade, or vaporize The advantages of foam diverting
after the treatment. techniques over conventional diverting
methods using solid blocking materials
are as follows:
Foam Diverting Techniques.
 Foam produces a block
within the formation
When using foam diverting techniques, rather than a solid block
the first stage of the acid solution is at the well bore. It
injected into the formation as in a contains no solid
conventional acidizing job. This is particles thus reducing
followed by an aqueous solution of a potential for damage to
foam producing surfactant which is permeability.
displaced into the formation with a
compressed gas such as carbon dioxide  The compressed gas aids
or nitrogen. Parts of this surfactant in cleaning silt and
adheres to the rock, both in fractures undissolved particles
and within the matrix. When this from the formation and
retained solution mingles with and is in the clean-up of fluids.
agitated by the following stream of
nitrogen, foam is formed.
vertical wells. Non-buoyant balls are
 Adaptability to a wide often better for high-rate fracture
range of temperatures 70 treatments. Key limitations and usage
°F to 350 °F. considerations of ball sealers include:

 The need for intact tubulars and

Ball Sealer Diversion reasonably competent cement,
 Vertical wellbores unless
Ball sealers are small spheres designed perforations are on the low side
to seat on perforation tunnel entry holes (non-buoyant balls) or high side
and divert fluid to other zones. Ball (buoyant balls) of the pipe,
sealers consist of a hard extrusion-  Low pump rates may prevent
resistant center and a thin rubber cover. buoyant balls from reaching the
Balls are injected into the treating fluid perforations,
at surface, carried with fluid flow to the  Balls migrate during any pumping
perforations where they are intended to shut-downs, and
seat, and unseat when surface pressure  Buoyant balls may trapped in a
is released. wellbore below packers or other
Matrix diversion by ball sealers is
depicted in Figure. The upper zone Selection of the Best Diversion Option
does receive much of the initial treating
fluid due to a lower (damaged) near- For guidance, Table I presents diversion
wellbore permeability. Ball sealers are options with some key considerations
then dropped and seal the lower and associated comments. It is beyond
perforations. The resulting increase in the scope of this document and not
wellbore pressure diverts the next practical to attempt to address all
treating stage to the upper damaged possible field situations. In practice, it
zone. Following the treatment, surface is necessary to carefully weigh the
pressure is released and the nonbuoyant options relying on past field experience
balls fall into the rathole. where available




Treat Lower Zone Drop Balls Release Pressure

Seal Lower Zone Balls Drop Off
Treat Upper Zone

Schematic of Ball Sealer Diversion


Balls are fabricated to be either buoyant

or non-buoyant in treating fluids.
Buoyant balls are generally preferred
for lower-rate matrix treatments in
General Considerations when Selecting a Diversion Option.

Diversion Diversion
Category Method Key Considerations and Comments
Viscous Polymers • Set and break times of gel (or Fluid) must be controlled.
Fluids (Crosslinked)
and & • Can only treat zones above the wellbore plug.
Viscoelastic Surfactants
• May result in polymer formation damage.

• Temperature Range 150 up to 300 F

• Permeability greater than 0.1 md and less than 2 – 3 D (Enough

permeability to allow Viscoelastic injection below fracturing pressure)

•Layered formation with crossflow as minimum as possible ( avoiding

water flow will by-pass fluid in place ). No cross-flow is preferred.

•Multi-Layers with evident and significant permeability contrasts, as

well as evident oil saturation in one or more layers

•Well conditions allowing draw down increases after treatment

•Reservoir pressure good enough for improving treatment recovery

(no energy remaining to move hydrocarbons to the wellbore may not
be a good candidate )

• Good cement casing integrity ( poor cement sheath, channels, near

well bore fractures indicates a non preferred well scenario )

• No mechanical problems

• Applicable in oil/gas condensate wells

Particulates* All Types • Biggest challenge is removal after the treatment.

( Examples
include Rock • Best for matrix diversion; not effective for fracture diversion.
Salt, Benzoic
Acid, Silica • Must be properly suspended in the treating fluid.
Calcium • Must be unaffected by the carrier fluid and any additives.
Cement and • Not many options at high bottomhole temperatures.
Oil Soluble
Resin ) • Bullheaded Jobs Only

Foam Foam • Oil and gas wells

• High water cut wells and wells with W/O contact

• Water injectors

• Vertical and horizontal wells

• Best results occur with stages and foamer laden acid

Ball Buoyant • At lower pump rates may not be transported to the perfs.
Sealers** Balls
• Often requires ball catcher at surface.

• Balls trapped in the well may cause workover problems.

Non-Buoyant • Late stray ball recovery can plug chokes.

• Will ride down top side of pipe in deviated wells.

• May not seat on perforations with insufficient drag forces.

• Will run down low side of the hole in deviated wells.

• Poor seating efficiency at matrix rates.

• Requires coordination with perforating program.

*Bridging agents and chemical diverters are good for moderate to low degree of heterogeneity.
Water soluble for water wells; Oil soluble for oil wells (This rule of thumb does not hold for high
WOR wells). Roughly 1 diverter stage per 25-50’ interval. Low KV/KH.

**Less sensitive to chemical composition of fluid and temperature. (Minimize Injectivity decrease).
When the velocity of the fluid moving into the perforations is low, the ball density should be only
slightly heavier than the fluid density. This will reduce the chance of the balls falling past the perfs.
Also the fluid may be viscosified to help the seating efficiency.

- BP Amoco. UTG - Enhanced Productivity

- SPE-36111 - Matrix Acid Divertion
- SPE 82260 - Matrix Acid Stimulation
- Acidizing Concepts and Design. BJ Services.