Using Hydrochloric Acid to Remove Ilmenite Water-Based Filter Cake in HPHT Applications

Paper presented at 10th SPE International Conference and Exhibition on European Formation Damage, 5-7 June, 2013, Noordwijk, The Netherlands.


The growing demand for well-designed weighting agents to overcome the currently drilling challenges such as ECD management and the settling tendency of the weighting agents led to the development of a new micronized ilmenite (FeTiO3). The acid solubility of ilmenite is of great importance to remediate any damage that might occur during its use in the drilling operation. Extensive lab work was conducted to: 1) assess the reaction of 10 wt% HCl with ilmenite particles at 300°F and 300 psi using an aging cell, 2) optimize the concentration of HCl to remove the filter cake using a modified HPHT filter press at 250°F, 3) determine the removal efficiency of the filter cake, and 4) calculate the retained permeability of Indiana limestone cores. The reaction of hydrochloric acid with ilmenite showed that HCl (10 wt%) dissolved 75 wt% of the iron from ilmenite particles after 10 hrs of reaction at 300°F. SEM and XRD results showed that the reaction product was mainly rutile (TiO2) after 6 hrs of reaction. Ilmenite-based filter cake was removed completely after reaction with 5 wt% HCl (300 g solution) for 16 hrs soaking time at 250°F. The retained permeability of the Indiana limestone and Berea sandstone cores was nearly 100% after HCl treatment (5 wt%). Removal of ilmenite water-based filter cake is a simple process as compared with barite water-based filter cake, which cannot be removed using HCl. This study will provide a complete evaluation of the reaction of HCl with ilmenite and will help the drilling and completion engineers to better design the chemical treatments to remove the filter cake for HPHT wells.