Formation damage

Formation Damage-2022

The adage “prevention is better than cure” is the first thing we consider regarding formation damage, but how prepared we are for the treatment and cure to allow a well to perform to its full productivity or injectivity potential? And how can digital tools be an effective enabler?

Formation Damage Focus Intro

The adage “prevention is better than cure” is the first thing we consider regarding formation damage, but how prepared are we for the treatment and cure to allow a well to perform to its full productivity or injectivity potential? And how can digital tools be an effective enabler? Our industry has made significant progress to improve our understanding of key formation-damage mechanisms and has developed best practices of laboratory studies and data evaluation to predict the formation-damage risk. These result in the development of preventive practices during various field operation (e.g., selection of suitable and compatible drilling and completion fluid system and additives). Despite all preventive efforts, some wells still experience formation damage that necessitates remedial treatment to restore production performance.

An effective and economic treatment of formation damage is critical, and we have observed great examples in the past few years of achieving these goals through development and application of innovative solutions by our industry experts and practitioners. Some highlighted efforts are immobile proppant systems for injector wells as damage prevention, inhibitors with extended effectiveness to provide treatment longevity, and single-step sandstone matrix acid systems for operational simplification. While these technology advancements are delivering economic and effective solutions, there is opportunity to further improve prediction, prevention, and readiness for treatment with application and support of digital tools and solutions such as the following:

  • Capture and application of learnings from historical laboratory studies to improve prediction capability of potential formation damage (fluid/fluid and fluid/rock interaction on the basis of their composition)
  • Real-time data analysis and faster decisions with support from artificial intelligence during field operation to prevent and treat formation damage (e.g., intelligent real-time lost-circulation-event identification during drilling)
  • Integrated information collection of all well-related data from laboratory studies to field operation for well life to enable efficient identification of sources of formation damage and effective treatment selection
    Enjoy the papers chosen this year, some of which highlight my comments and encourage us to be proactive—not reactive—and better prepared for formation-damage treatment and cure.

This Month’s Technical Papers

Damage Potential, Proppant-Transport Traits of High-Viscosity Friction Reducers

Inorganic Acid Optimizes Remediation of Formation Damage in Carbonate Producer

Thermochemical Fluid Used in Field Application of Sandstone Stimulation

Recommended Additional Reading

SPE 207643 A Change Point Detection Approach for Intelligent Real-Time Identification of Lost-Circulation Events During Drilling Operations by Francesco Cannarile, Eni, et al.

SPE 199263 Analysis of Time-Lapse Formation-Damage Evolution Throughout the Life of a Well by Sofiane Bellabiod, Sonatrach, et al.

SPE 199252 Evaluating Formation Damage and Remediation Methods: Physical Simulation of Leakoff and Flowback by Son Tran, et al.


Amit Singh, SPE, is a principal adviser for well stimulation technologies at Chevron. He is a technical expert and champions development and implementation of new technology and strategy for hydraulic fracturing, acid stimulation, and completion-design optimization. Before joining Chevron in 2012, Singh had 12 years of experience working for ONGC, BJ Services, and Baker Hughes in India and the US. He holds a BTech degree in petroleum engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology in Dhanbad. Singh has published more than 25 technical papers and has been a speaker at multiple international conferences and workshops. He is an SPE Distinguished Lecturer for 2021–22. Singh is an associate editor for the SPE Production & Operations journal, serves on the JPT Editorial Review Committee, and has been a member of organizing committees for several SPE conferences and workshops. Singh can be reached at amit.singh@chevron.com.