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Stepan brings more tools to your acidizing tool kit

Building the best acidizing fluid for a well can be a challenge, especially when well temperatures and pressures are high, and the well isn’t the only thing feeling the heat! Stepan Oilfield Solutions understands that our customers need the right chemistry to execute their well treatments effectively and provides a range of intermediates, formulated concentrates and finished products to build stable, effective acidizing fluids that perform under pressure.

In most acidizing treatments, several chemical additives, including corrosion inhibitors, emulsifiers, nonemulsifiers, and anti-sludge additives, are incorporated to perform specific functions or, with viscoelastic surfactant systems, impart particular properties to the treatment fluid depending on the well conditions. With a broad global product portfolio that includes anionic, cationic, nonionic and amphoteric surfactants, Stepan gives customers a flexible set of tools to adapt to the unique challenges of each well.

A Solid Foundation

Crude oils contain varying levels of asphaltenic compounds that can precipitate as sludge when contacted with acidizing fluids, particularly in the presence of dissolved iron. Alkylbenzene sulfonic acids such as PETROSTEP® S-101 are widely used in combination with iron control strategies to prevent asphaltene sludge formation during acidizing treatments. As a world leader in sulfonation chemistry, Stepan offers a range of linear and branched alkylaryl sulfonic acids, salts, and other sulfonated derivates to ensure optimum performance in customer applications.

Stepan is also a major producer of quaternary ammonium surfactants that can be used in nonemulsifier and corrosion inhibitor formulations. Cationic surfactants can help prevent the formation of viscous emulsions that can block hydrocarbon flow when oil mixes with an aqueous treatment fluid downhole and give clean oil/water separation on surface. They also work to protect well casing and metal tubulars from corrosion in both upstream and downstream oilfield applications. In addition, Stepan is developing a portfolio of acid corrosion inhibitors to ensure our customer’s assets are protected – even under the harshest conditions.

Flexible Options to Meet Specific Challenges

Viscoelastic surfactants (VES) provide a polymer-free way to viscosify fluids for a range of oilfield applications, including stimulation treatments and wellbore cleanouts. Surfactant-viscosified fluids can reduce fluid loss into the formation and improve suspension of solid particles. Stepan Oilfield Solutions’ PETROSTEP GQ-22 surfactant system was designed to provide enhanced thermal stability, allowing it to be used in freshwater and light brine applications over an extended range of temperatures up to 250°F (120°C).  It can be used to build shear-thinning fluids that are effective at suspending solid particles under low shear conditions for hydraulic fracturing or coiled tubing cleanouts, or as a diverter pad between acid stages. The system is also compatible with nitrogen and carbon dioxide for foam applications in environments up to at least 300°F (150°C).

In some oilfield applications, it is beneficial to deliver hydrochloric acid in a thickened form. The viscosified fluid blocks the inflow of fresh acid into high permeability zones and diverts incoming acid to less permeable or more damaged zones, providing more even stimulation across the treatment interval. The addition of PETROSTEP VES-2 (between 1 – 3%) can greatly increase the viscosity of hydrochloric acid at temperatures up to 150°F (65°C), eliminating the need for solid diverting agents and promoting the formation of conductive channels to enhance oil and gas production. For higher temperature acidizing applications or specific compatibility challenges, talk to our experts.

Certain wells may benefit from treatment with emulsified acid blends, which involve pumping invert (acid-in-oil) emulsions with a high internal acid phase volume to slow acid spending and extend contact time of the acid with formation rock. Stepan has a range of emulsifier intermediates and blends that can be used to stabilize acid in diesel or xylene emulsions. Because treatment parameters like hydrocarbon phase and target viscosity can vary widely, our oilfield experts can provide guidance or finished product recommendations for an emulsifier that will meet customer-specific requirements.

Putting it All Together

For our oilfield customers, the complex interplay between functional additives in strong acid media can sometimes lead to unwanted interactions and solubility problems. Addition of a nonionic surfactant blend like PETROSTEP ND-1 can disperse insoluble organics in hydrochloric acid fluids and keep functional additives stable in solution. Nonionic surfactants add value as intermediates, single component actives, or in synergistic formulations with cationic or anionic surfactants, and Stepan continues to expand our alkoxylation offerings to meet customer needs. 

With so many available options, Stepan’s in-house experts are available to help customers find the perfect product fit. To learn more about Stepan’s chemistries and how we bring more tools to your acidizing tool kit, visit

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