Since the 1930s, oil and gas companies in Florida and across the country have been using acid treatment to restore and improve well productivity. Water utilities and water districts in Florida have also been using the same technique for decades. Over time, scale, such as calcium carbonate, builds up inside a well’s steel pipe, just as it builds up in residential plumbing and home appliances. This impedes and can even block the flow of water, oil, and gas if left unattended.
Here’s how it works: using commonly found household products like acetic acid (also known as vinegar), hydrochloric acid (commonly used in swimming pools), and formic acid (typically found in cleaning products), companies introduce diluted acid into the steel pipe of a water/oil/gas well, or in some instances, a geologic formation. These chemicals then remove scale build-up inside the steel piping to improve the flow of water, natural gas, or oil. They may also help to open up new flow channels in existing geological formations, which is why this is the most common form of well restoration used in the industry.
This process, known as “acidization,” is quite safe, as energy producers in Florida are drilling and acidizing well below the levels at which water utilities are acidizing—generally 10,000-15,000 feet below the surface. With a well- developed regulatory system and a widely-accepted standard of best practices in place, companies in Florida are using acidization to bring natural gas and oil safely, effectively, and responsibly to residents and consumers across the state.