A numerical approach to investigate the impact of acid-asphaltene sludge formation on wormholing during carbonate acidizing

Ilyas Khurshid, Emad W. Al-Shalabi, Imran Afgan, Hazim Al-Attar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Carbonate acidization is the process of creating wormholes by injecting acid to increase reservoir permeability and oil production. Nevertheless, some reservoir oils are problematic with low asphaltene stability, which affects the wormholing process. The interactions between acid, rock, and asphaltene lead to acid-asphaltene sludge formation, which reduces oil productivity and acid injectivity. Neglecting this sludge formation leads to over predicting the depth of the wormhole penetration. Therefore, a numerical model was developed in this study to provide a better understanding of acid-asphaltene sludge formation effect on wormhole creation and propagation in carbonates. A one-dimensional radial model was developed by coupling fluid flow equations in porous media with asphaltene deposition and acid-asphaltene reactions. Then, the developed model was validated and utilized to investigate the effects of different parameters on wormholing including asphaltene presence, acid injection volume and concentration, formation temperature and porosity, and asphaltene concentration. Results showed that acid injection in carbonates with asphaltenic oils reduce wormhole penetration from 40% to total pore blockage as opposed to reservoirs without asphaltene deposition. The findings also highlighted that shallow wormhole penetration is more pronounced with a high volume of acid injection, high porous formations, less diluted acid, and a high concentration of asphaltene. In addition, there is an optimum acid injection volume at which wormhole penetration is high and its infiltration is deep into the formation. This is the first work to discuss modeling of acid-asphaltene sludge formation and subsequent wormhole development in carbonates, which is particularly important for problematic crude oils.

Original languageEnglish
Article number063001
JournalJournal of Energy Resources Technology, Transactions of the ASME
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2022


  • acid injection
  • acid-asphaltene sludge
  • asphaltene deposition
  • irreversible formation damage
  • wormholing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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