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Acid fracturing

Designing an acid-fracturing treatment is similar to designing a fracturing treatment with a propping agent. Williams, et al presents a thorough explanation of the fundamentals concerning acid fracturing.

The main difference between acid fracturing and proppant fracturing is the way fracture conductivity is created. In proppant fracturing, a propping agent is used to prop open the fracture after the treatment is completed. In acid fracturing, acid is used to “etch” channels in the rock that comprise the walls of the fracture. Thus, the rock has to be partially soluble in acid so that channels can be etched in the fracture walls. As such, the application of acid fracturing is confined to carbonate reservoirs and should never be used to stimulate sandstone, shale, or coal-seam reservoirs. Long etched fractures are difficult to obtain, because of high leakoff and rapid acid reaction with the formation. Acid fracturing works more effectively near the wellbore. Acid reacts with the small grains (which prevents the flow of fluid from the formation to the wellbore) and dissolves it into small particles.

There are several unique considerations to be understood when designing acid fracture treatments. Of primary concern is acid-penetration distance down the fracture. The pad fluid is used to create the desired fracture dimensions. Then the acid is pumped down the fracture to etch the fracture walls, which creates fracture conductivity.

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