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SPE DISTINGUISHED LECTURER SERIES

is funded principally
through a grant of the

SPE FOUNDATION
The Society gratefully acknowledges
those companies that support the program
by allowing their professionals
to participate as Lecturers.
And special thanks to The American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical,
and Petroleum Engineers (AIME) for their contribution to the program.

Oilfield Scale:
A New Integrated Approach
to Tackle an Old Foe
Dr Eric J. Mackay
Flow Assurance and Scale Team (FAST)
Institute of Petroleum Engineering
Heriot-Watt University
Edinburgh, Scotland
Eric.Mackay@pet.hw.ac.uk
Society of Petroleum Engineers
Distinguished Lecturer 2007-08 Lecture Season

Outline
1) The Old Foe
a)
b)
c)
d)

Formation
Definition of scale
Water (Ba)
Problems caused
Common oilfield scales
Mechanisms of scale formation

2) The New Approach

Injection Water
(SO4)

Ba2+ + SO42- BaSO4(s)

a) The new challenges


b) Proactive rather than reactive scale management
c) Effect of reservoir processes

3) Conclusions
Slide 3 of 40

Outline
1) The Old Foe
a)
b)
c)
d)

Formation
Definition of scale
Water (Ba)
Problems caused
Common oilfield scales
Mechanisms of scale formation

2) The New Approach

Injection Water
(SO4)

Ba2+ + SO42- BaSO4(s)

a) The new challenges


b) Proactive rather than reactive scale management
c) Effect of reservoir processes

3) Conclusions
Slide 4 of 40

1a) Definition of Scale

Scale is any crystalline


deposit (salt) resulting from
the precipitation of mineral
compounds present in water

Oilfield scales typically


consist of one or more types
of inorganic deposit along
with other debris (organic
precipitates, sand, corrosion
products, etc.)
Slide 5 of 40

1b) Problems Caused

Scale deposits
z
z
z
z
z
z
z

formation damage (near wellbore)


blockages in perforations or gravel pack
restrict/block flow lines
safety valve & choke failure
pump wear
corrosion underneath deposits
some scales are radioactive (NORM)

Suspended particles
z
z

plug formation & filtration equipment


reduce oil/water separator efficiency

Slide 6 of 40

Examples - Formation Damage


scale crystals block
pore throats

quartz grains
Slide 7 of 40

Examples - Flow Restrictions

Slide 8 of 40

Examples - Facilities
separator
scaled up

and after
cleaning

Slide 9 of 40

SPE 87459

1c) Common Oilfield Scales


Name

Formula

Specific
Gravity

Solubility
cold water

other

(mg/l)
Common Scales
barium sulphate

BaSO4

4.50

2.2

calcium carbonate

CaCO3

2.71

14

acid soluble

strontium sulphate

SrSO4

3.96

113

slightly acid soluble

calcium sulphate

CaSO4

2.96

2,090

acid soluble

calcium sulphate

CaSO4.2H2O

2.32

2,410

acid soluble

sodium chloride

NaCl

2.16

357,000

(insoluble in HCl)

SiO2

2.65

insoluble

HF soluble

60 mg/l in 3% HCl

Sand Grains
silicon dioxide

Some Other Scales


Iron Scales:

Fe2O3, FeS, FeCO3

Exotic Scales:

ZnS, PbS
Slide 10 of 40

1d) Mechanisms of Scale Formation

Carbonate scales precipitate due to P (and/or T)


z

wellbore & production facilities

Ca2+(aq) + 2HCO-3(aq) = CaCO3(s) + CO2(aq) + H2O(l)

Sulphate scales form due to mixing of incompatible brines


z
z

injected (SO4) & formation (Ba, Sr and/or Ca)


near wellbore area, wellbore & production facilities

Ba2+(aq) (Sr2+or Ca2+) + SO42-(aq) = BaSO4(s) (SrSO4 or CaSO4)

Concentration of salts due to dehydration


z

wellbore & production facilities

Slide 11 of 40

Outline
1) The Old Foe
a)
b)
c)
d)

Formation
Definition of scale
Water (Ba)
Problems caused
Common oilfield scales
Mechanisms of scale formation

2) The New Approach

Injection Water
(SO4)

Ba2+ + SO42- BaSO4(s)

a) The new challenges


b) Proactive rather than reactive scale management
c) Effect of reservoir processes

3) Conclusions
Slide 12 of 40

2a) The New Challenges

Deepwater and other harsh environments


z
z
z
z

Inhibitor placement
z

Low temperature and high pressure


Long residence times
Access to well difficult
Compatibility with other production chemicals

Complex wells (eg deviated, multiple pay zones)

Well value & scale management costs

Slide 13 of 40

Access to Well

Subsea wells
z

difficult to monitor
brine chemistry
deferred oil during
squeezes
well interventions
expensive (rig hire)
squeeze
campaigns and/or
pre-emptive
squeezes
Slide 14 of 40

Inhibitor Placement in Complex Wells

Where is scaling brine


being produced?
Can we get inhibitor
where needed?
z
z

Ptubing head

wellbore friction
pressure zones
(layers / fault blocks)
damaged zones

Pcomp 1
Presv 1
Shale

Options:
z
z
z
z

Bullhead
bullhead + divertor
Coiled Tubing from rig
Inhibitor in proppant /
gravel pack / rat hole

Fault

Pcomp N

Presv N

Slide 15 of 40

Well Value & Scale Management Costs

Deepwater wells costing US$10-100 million (eg GOM)

Interval Control Valves (ICVs) costing US$0.51 million


each to install
z
z

Rig hire for treatments US$100-400 thousand / day


z
z
z

good for inhibitor placement control


susceptible to scale damage

necessary if using CT
deepwater may require 1-2 weeks / treatment
cf. other typical treatment costs of US$50-150 thousand /
treatment

Sulphate Reduction Plant (SRP), installation and


operation may cost US$20-100 million
Slide 16 of 40

Number of SRP per Year and Total


Capacity
11
No of SRP plants
Cumulative Capacity (BWPD)

4,000,000

7
6

3,000,000

5
4

2,000,000

3
2

1,000,000

Cumulative Capacity (BWPD)

5,000,000

Year

07

20

06

20

05

20

04

03

20

02

20

20

01

20

00

20

99

19

98

19

97

19

96

19

95

19

94

19

93

19

92

19

91

19

90

19

19

89

88

0
19

No of SRP plants per year

10

Slide 17 of 40

2b) Proactive Rather Than Reactive


Scale Management

Scale management considered during CAPEX


Absolute must:
good quality brine samples and analysis
Predict
z
z
z
z

water production history and profiles well by well


brine chemistry evolution during well life cycle
impact of reservoir interactions on brine chemistry
ability to perform bullhead squeezes:
flow lines from surface facilities
correct placement

Monitor and review strategy during OPEX


Slide 18 of 40

2c) Effect of Reservoir Processes


EXAMPLE 1 Management of waterflood leading
to extended brine mixing at producers
(increased scale risk)
EXAMPLE 2 In situ mixing and BaSO4
precipitation leading to barium stripping
(reduced scale risk)
EXAMPLE 3 Ion exchange and CaSO4
precipitation leading to sulphate stripping
(reduced scale risk)

Slide 19 of 40

EXAMPLE 1

SPE 80252

Extended Brine Mixing at Producers

Slide 20 of 40

EXAMPLE 1

SPE 80252

Extended Brine Mixing at Producers

This well has been


treated > 220 times!

Field M (streamline model)


Slide 21 of 40

EXAMPLE 2

SPE 60193

Barium (mg/l)

Barium Stripping (Field A)

Dilution line

% injection water

Slide 22 of 40

EXAMPLE 2

SPE 94052

Barium Stripping (Theory)

Injection water (containing SO4) mixes


with formation water (containing Ba)
leading to BaSO4 precipitation in the
reservoir
Minimal impact on permeability in the
reservoir
Reduces BaSO4 scaling tendency at
production wells

Slide 23 of 40

EXAMPLE 2

Barium Stripping (Theory)


Ba2+
(hot)

SO42Rock

FW
1) Formation water (FW): [Ba2+] but negligible [SO42-]
Slide 24 of 40

EXAMPLE 2

Barium Stripping (Theory)


Ba2+
(cold)

SO42(hot)

IW
2) Waterflood: SO42- rich injection water
displaces Ba2+ rich FW

Rock

FW

Slide 25 of 40

EXAMPLE 2

Barium Stripping (Theory)


Ba2+
(cold)

IW

SO42-

BaSO4
(hot)

Rock

FW

3) Reaction: In mixing zone Ba2+ + SO42- BaSO4


Slide 26 of 40

EXAMPLE 2

Barium Stripping (Theory)


900

3000
Ba
Ba (mixing)
SO4
SO4 (mixing)

800
2500

[Ba] (mg/l)

600

2000

500
1500
400
300

1000

200
500
100
0
0

20

40

60

seawater fraction (%)

80

0
100

[SO4] (mg/l)

700

Large reduction in
[Ba]
Small reduction in
[SO4]
(SO4 in excess)
Typical behaviour
observed in many
fields
Slide 27 of 40

EXAMPLE 2

Barium Stripping (Model & Field Data)


90
Field A - actual
Field A - dilution line
Field A - modelled

barium concentration (ppm)

80
70
60
50
40
30
20
10
0
0

20

40

60

% seawater

80

100
Slide 28 of 40

EXAMPLE 3

SPE 100516

Sulphate Stripping (Theory)

Injection water (with high Mg/Ca ratio) mixes


with formation water (with low Mg/Ca ratio)
leading to Mg and Ca exchange with rock to
re-equilibrate
Increase in Ca in Injection water leads to
CaSO4 precipitation in hotter zones in
reservoir
Minimal impact on permeability in the
reservoir
Reduces BaSO4 scaling tendency at
production wells
Slide 29 of 40

EXAMPLE 3

Ion Exchange
Rock: 0.038

C
C Mg
Mg
= 0.50

C Ca
C
Ca

Gyda FW (mg/l)

FW: 0.077

IW: 3.2
IW (mg/l)

CCa

Ca in solution

30,185

426

CMg

Mg in solution

2,325

1,368

Ca

Ca on rock

Mg

Mg on rock

Slide 30 of 40

EXAMPLE 3

Sulphate Stripping (Theory)


Ba2+
(hot)

SO42-

Ca2+

Mg2+
Rock

FW
1) Formation water: [Ca2+] and [Mg2+] in equilibrium with rock
Slide 31 of 40

EXAMPLE 3

Sulphate Stripping (Theory)


Ba2+
(cold)

IW

SO42-

Ca2+
(hot)

Mg2+
Rock

FW

2) Waterflood: [Ca2+] and [Mg2+] no longer in equilibrium


Slide 32 of 40

EXAMPLE 3

Sulphate Stripping (Theory)


Ba2+
(cold)

IW

SO42-

Ca2+
(hot)

Mg2+
Rock

FW

3) Reaction 1: Ca2+ and Mg2+ ion exchange with rock


Slide 33 of 40

EXAMPLE 3

Sulphate Stripping (Theory)


Ba2+
(cold)

IW

SO42-

Ca2+
(hot)

Mg2+

CaSO4
Rock

FW

4) Reaction 2: In hotter zones Ca2+ + SO42- CaSO4


Slide 34 of 40

EXAMPLE 3

35,000

3,500

30,000

3,000

25,000

2,500

20,000

2,000

15,000

1,500

10,000

1,000

5,000

500

0
0

20

40

60

seawater fraction (%)

80

Ca
Ca (mixing)
Mg
Mg (mixing)
[Mg] (mg/l)

[Ca] (mg/l)

Modelling Prediction: [Ca] and [Mg]

Large reduction
in [Mg]
No apparent
change in [Ca]

0
100
Slide 35 of 40

EXAMPLE 3

40000

8000

35000

7000

30000

6000

25000

5000

20000

4000

15000

3000

10000

2000

5000

1000

0
0

20

40

60

80

100

Ca
Ca (mixing)
Mgl
Mg (mixing)
[Mg] (mg/l)

[Ca] (mg/l)

Observed Field Data: [Ca] and [Mg]

Large reduction
in [Mg]
No apparent
change in [Ca]

seawater fraction (%)


Slide 36 of 40

EXAMPLE 3

Modelling Prediction: [Ba] and [SO4]


3000

900

Ba
Ba (mixing)
SO4
SO4 (mixing)

800
2500
2000

[Ba] (mg/l)

600
500

1500
400
1000

300
200

500
100
0
0

20

40

60

seawater fraction (%)

80

0
100

[SO4] (mg/l)

700

Small reduction
in [Ba]
Large reduction
in [SO4]
(No SO4 at
< 40% SW)
Slide 37 of 40

EXAMPLE 3

300

3000

250

2500

200

2000

150

1500

100

1000

50

500

0
0

20

40

60

seawater fraction (%)

80

100

Ba
Ba (mixing)
SO4l
SO4 (mixing)
[SO4] (mg/l)

[Ba] (mg/l)

Observed Field Data: [Ba] and [SO4]

Small reduction
in [Ba]
Large reduction
in [SO4]
(No SO4 at
< 40% SW)
Slide 38 of 40

3) Conclusions

Modelling tools may assist with understanding of where


scale is forming and what is best scale management option
z
z

identify location and impact of scaling


evaluate feasibility of chemical options

thus providing input for economic model.

Particularly important in deepwater & harsh environments,


where intervention may be difficult & expensive

But must be aware of uncertainties..


z
z
z

reservoir description
numerical errors
changes to production schedule, etc.

so monitoring essential.
Slide 39 of 40

Acknowledgements

Sponsors of Flow Assurance and Scale


Team (FAST) at Heriot-Watt University:

Slide 40 of 40

Extra Slides

Barium stripping example (Field G)


Placement example (Field X)

Slide 41 of 40

EXAMPLE G

SPE 80252

Barium Stripping (Field G)

a) water saturation

Field G (model)

b) mixing zone

c) BaSO4
deposition (lb/ft3)
Slide 42 of 40

EXAMPLE G

Barium Stripping (Field G)


[Ba] at well when no
reactions in reservoir

200

3000

2500

2000

Ba
Ba (no precip)
SO4
SO4 (no precip)

150

100

1500

[Ba] at well when


reactions in reservoir

1000

50

500

0
0

Field G (model)

500

1000

1500

2000

sulphate concentration (ppm)

barium concentration (ppm)

250

0
2500

time (days)
Slide 43 of 40

EXAMPLE G

Barium Stripping (Field G)


250

barium concentration (ppm

Field B - observed
Filed B - dilution line

200

Field B - modelled
150

deep reservoir mixing

100

deep reservoir + well/near


well mixing

50

0
0

20

40

60

80

100

% seawater

Field G (model & field data)

Slide 44 of 40

EXAMPLE X

Impact of Reservoir Pressures on


Placement

Question for new subsea field under


development:
Can adequate placement be achieved
without using expensive rig
operations?

Slide 45 of 40

EXAMPLE X

SPE 87459

Placement (Field D)
production

500
400

flow rate (m3/d)

300

prior to squeeze
shut-in
INJ 1 bbl/m
INJ 5 bbl/m
INJ 10 bbl/m
1 year after squeeze

200
100
0
0

200

400

600

800

-100

injection
(squeeze) -200
well length (m)

Good placement along length of well during treatment (> 5 bbls/min)


Can squeeze this well
Slide 46 of 40

EXAMPLE X

SPE 87459

Placement (Field D)
production

100
0
0

200

400

600

flow rate (m3/d)

-100

prior to squeeze
shut-in
INJ 1 bbl/m
INJ 5 bbl/m
INJ 10 bbl/m
1 year after squeeze

-200
-300
-400

injection
(squeeze)

800

-500
-600
well length (m)

Cannot place into toe of well by bullhead treatment, even at 10 bbl/min


Must use coiled tubing (from rig - cost), or sulphate removal
Slide 47 of 40