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Scaleproblemsinproduction
Wellsproducingwaterarelikelytodevelopdepositsofinorganicscales.Scalescananddocoatperforations,casing,productiontubulars,valves,pumps,anddownhole
completionequipment,suchassafetyequipmentandgasliftmandrels.Ifallowedtoproceed,thisscalingwilllimitproduction,eventuallyrequiringabandonmentofthewell.
Technologyisavailableforremovingscalefromtubing,flowline,valving,andsurfaceequipment,restoringatleastsomeofthelostproductionlevel.Technologyalsoexistsfor
preventingtheoccurrenceorreoccurrenceofthescale,atleastonatemporarybasis.Temporaryisgenerally3to12monthspertreatmentwithconventionalinhibitor
squeezetechnology,increasingto24or48monthswithcombinedfracture/inhibitionmethods.Thispagediscussestypesofinorganicscale,theircontrol,inhibition,and
removal.

Contents
1Scalemechanisms
2Economicconsiderations
3Identifyingscaleoccurrence
4Scaleremediation
4.1Milling
4.2Jetting
4.3Chemicaldissolution
4.4Inhibition
4.4.1Cautionswithinhibitortreatments
4.5Combinedtreatments
5References
6NoteworthypapersinOnePetro
7Onlinemultimedia
8Externallinks
9Seealso
10Pagechampions
11Category

Scalemechanisms
Asbrine,oil,and/orgasproceedfromtheformationtothesurface,pressureandtemperaturechangeandcertaindissolvedsaltscanprecipitate.Thisiscalledselfscaling.Ifa
brineisinjectedintotheformationtomaintainpressureandsweeptheoiltotheproducingwells,therewilleventuallybeacomminglingwiththeformationwater.Additional
saltsmayprecipitateintheformationorinthewellbore(scalefromincompatiblewaters).Manyofthesescalingprocessescananddooccursimultaneously.Scalestendtobe
mixtures.[1]Forexample,strontiumsulfateisfrequentlyfoundprecipitatedtogetherwithbariumsulfate.Thechemicalformulaeandmineralnamesformostoilfieldscalesare
showninTable1.

(/File%3AVol4_Page_397_Image_0001.jpg)
Table1Oilfieldmineralscales

Themostcommonoilfieldscalesare:
Calcite(/Glossary%3ACalcite)
Barite(/Glossary%3ABarite)
Celestite
Anhydrite(/Glossary%3AAnhydrite)
Gypsum(/Glossary%3AGypsum)
Ironsulfide
Halite(/Glossary%3AHalite)
Exoticscalessuchascalciumfluorite,zincsulfide(/Glossary%3AZinc_sulfide/sulfate),andleadsulfidearesometimesfoundwithhightemperature/highpressure(HT/HP)
wells.
Calcitedepositionisgenerallyaselfscalingprocess.ThemaindriverforitsformationisthelossofCO2fromthewatertothehydrocarbonphase(s)aspressurefalls.This
removescarbonicacidfromthewaterphase,whichhadkeptthebasiccalcitedissolved.Calcitesolubilityalsodecreaseswithdecreasingtemperature(atconstantCO2partial
pressure).
Halitescalingisalsoaselfscalingprocess.Thedriversarefallingtemperatureandevaporation.Halitesolubilityinwaterdecreaseswithdecreasingtemperature,favoringhalite
dropoutduringtheproductionofhightotaldissolvedsolids(TDS(/Glossary%3ATDS))brinestothesurface.(Fallingpressurehasamuchsmallereffectondecreasinghalite
solubility.)Evaporativelossofliquidwaterisgenerallytheresultofgasbreakoutfromundersaturatedcondensateandoilwells,aswellastheexpansionofgasingaswells.This

increaseinwatervaporcanleavebehindinsufficientliquidwatertomaintainhalitesolubilityinthecoproducedbrinephase.Haliteselfscalingisfoundwithbothhigh
temperatureandlowtemperaturewells[e.g.,with125and350Fbottomholetemperature(BHT(/Glossary%3ABHT))gas/gascondensatewells].
Baritescalesaregenerallytheresultofmixingincompatiblewaters.Forexample,seawaterisofteninjectedintooffshorereservoirsforpressuremaintenance.Seawaterhasa
highsulfatecontentformationwatersoftenhavehighbariumcontents.Mixingthesewatersresultsinbaritedeposition.Ifthismixing/precipitationoccurswithinthereservoir
farremovedfromaverticalwellbore,therewillgenerallybelittleimpactontheproductionofhydrocarbons.Mixing/precipitationnearorwithinthewellborewillhavea
significantimpactonproduction.Mixingofincompatiblewaterswithinthesandpackofahydraulicallyfracturedwellcanalsobedetrimentaltoproduction.Furthermore,after
theinitial,largedepositionofscale,thiswatercontinuestobesaturatedinbariteandadditionalbaritescalewillcontinuetoforminthewellboreaspressureandtemperature
fall.
Waterfloods(/Waterflooding)combininggroundwaterswithhighcalciumandhighsulfatecontentscandepositanhydriteorgypsumbymuchthesameincompatiblewaters
mechanismdiscussedforbarite.However,calciumsulfatescalesolubility,unlikethatofbaritescale,actuallyincreaseswithdecreasingtemperature(untilabout40C).Thiscan
decreasethelikelihoodofscaleaftertheinitialmixingdeposition.Thereversalinsolubilityfalloffbelow40Caccountsforthegypsumscalingobservedinsurfaceequipment.
Thisinversetemperatureeffectcanresultinthegenerationofanhydritescalewheninjectingseawater.Anhydritesolubilityfallsaspressurefallsdatacouldnotbefoundfor
gypsumsolubilityvs.pressure.
IronsulfidescalesarealmostubiquitouswhenhydrogensulfideisproducedfrequentlytheresultoftubularcorrosioninthepresenceofH2S.Areviewoftheironsulfide
chemistryandphasesoccurringinproductionequipmentiscontainedinNasrElDinandAlHumaidan[2]andCowanandWeintritt.[3]Thechemistryiscomplicatedmorethan
oneironsulfidephasecanbepresent.Thephysicalpropertiesofthephasesvary(sometimesdense,sometimesnot),andthephasecompositioncanchangewithtime.
Thesemultistepscale/waterchemistriescanbesimulatedwithpresentdaycomputersoftware.Someoftheprogramsarecommercial,andsomeoperatorshavetheirownin
houseprograms.Ineffect,thecodesetsupaseriesofequilibriumequationsforeachpossiblescaleandsolutionion/ionreaction,aswellassolutiongasreaction,thensolves
themsimultaneouslyasafunctionof:
Inputpressure
Temperature
Gascomposition
Waterphasecomposition
Thesearereferredtoasthermodynamicmodels.Softwarehasnotyetreachedalevelofsophisticationsufficienttosay,reliably,howfastthesesolidscanformduring
production.Thishasresultedinaseriesofrulesofthumb,correlatinganoperatorsfieldexperiencewiththethermodynamicsimulatorsoutput.Suchrulesofthumbare
muchlessnecessaryforformationscaling,particularlyifthemineralisnaturallypresentintheformation(e.g.,calcite).Computersimulationofscalingtendenciesforproduced
oilfieldbrines(/Produced_oilfield_water)hasfoundconsiderableacceptanceandapplication.Examplesofthistechnology,appliedtohaliteandcalcitescalinginHT/HPwells,
areinJasinski,etal.[4]andJasinski.[5]

Economicconsiderations
Scaleremediationandpreventioncomesatacost.Itismoreappropriatetothinkofscalecontrolnotasacost,butintermsofvalueaddedobviatingtheconsequencesofnot
remediatingorpreventingscaleformation,andsoincreasingthetotalrevenuefromawell,aswellaspossiblyextendingitslifetime.[6]Theeffectsofscalecanbequite
expensiveandrapid.InoneNorthSeawell(Millerfield),productionfellfrom30,000B/Dtozeroinjust24hoursbecauseofscaling.Thecostforcleaningoutthesinglewell
andputtingitbackonproductionwasapproximatelythesameasthechemicalcoststotreattheentirefield.[7]Whilenotallwellsaresusceptibletosuchmomentouspenalties
forallowingscalingtoinitiate,thereisnoquestionthatscaleformation,remediation,andpreventionhaveassociatedcosts.Thecostsavingsbecauseoflessdeferred/lostoilcan
resultinsubstantiallyincreasedrevenueoverthelifeofthewell,aswellasmoreoil.[6]
Itisanticipatedthatoilfieldscalingproblemswillcontinuetoworsenandbecomemoreexpensive.[8]Thenewdriversare:
Tendencytolongertiebacks
Useofsmartwells(integritymorecritical)
Moregasproduction(gaswellformationstendtobemoredelicate)
Nneedtousegreenerchemicals
Increasingamountsofproducedwater

Identifyingscaleoccurrence
Scalecontrolhastendedtobereactiveratherthanproactive.Thereareavarietyofmethodsofremovingtheeffectsofscaleonproduction.Thefirststepistodeterminewhich
scalesareformingandwheretheyareforming.Someofthisinformationcanbereliablyinferredfromthecomputersimulationproceduresdiscussedabove,particularlyforself
scalingprocesses.Thesimplestmethodofphysicallydetectingscaleinthewellboreistoruncalipersdownthewellboreandmeasuredecreasesinthetubinginnerdiameter.
Gammaraylog(/Gamma_ray_logs)interpretationhasbeenusedtoindicatebariumsulfatescalebecausenaturallyradioactiveradium(Ra226)precipitatesasaninsoluble
sulfatewiththisscale.AnexampleofthistechnologyisshowninFig.1.Visualobservationwiththeappropriatewirelinetoolshasalsobeenusedtoshowthepresenceof
calciteandhalitesolidswithinthewellbore.

(/File%3AVol4_Page_389_Image_0001.png)

Fig.1The1997gammaraylogshowsthe
builduponthelowersidepocketmandrelone
yearbeforetreatment.The1998logwas
measuredafterthescalewasremovedfromthe
zonebetweenX872andX894m(after
SchlumbergerOilfieldReview).

Theonsetofwaterproductioncoincidingwithsimultaneousreductioninoilproductionisasignofpotentialscaleproblems.Itisquitepossible,particularlywithgaswells,to
producewaterbelowthelimitofdetectionofsurfaceanalysis(nominally1or2%).Thiswaterwillevaporateandleaveitsdissolvedsolidsbehind,asscale.Becausethe
amountsofwateraresmall,theamountsofsolidsperunitvolumeofwaterwillbesmall,butthesolidswillaccumulatewithtime.Thesameideaappliestotheappearanceatthe
surfaceofliquidfreshwaterwhenthereservoirbrineisknowntobebrackish.Thiscanbecondensedwaterbecauseoffallingtemperature.Whenafewpercentofliquidwater
isproduced,itisprudenttotrackthedissolvedioncontentwithtime.Injectionwaterbreakthroughisgenerallysignaledbydramaticchangesintheconcentrationsofscaling
ions,suchasbariumorsulfate,whichcoincidewithreducedoilproduction.
Earlywarningofscalingconditionsdownholewouldbevaluable.Wellswithintelligentcompletionsandpermanentmonitoringsystemsarebeingdesignedtocontainscale
sensors.Thefunctionofthescalesensorisdoubledutynotonlytoprovideearlywarningabouttheinitiationofproductionimpairmentbyscalegenerationbutalsotoprovide
informationaboutpossibleimpairmentofthesmartwellsensorsandvalvesbyfilmsofscale.

Scaleremediation
Scaleremediationtechniquesmustbequickandnondamagingtothewellbore,tubing,andthereservoir.Ifthescaleisinthewellbore,itcanberemovedmechanicallyor
dissolvedchemically.Selectingthebestscaleremovaltechniqueforaparticularwelldependsonknowingthetypeandquantityofscale,itsphysicalcomposition,andits
texture.Mechanicalmethodsareamongthemostsuccessfulmethodsofscaleremovalintubulars.Whenpullingcostsarelow(e.g.,readilyaccessibleandshallowland
locations),theleastexpensiveapproachtoscalingisoftentopullthetubinganddrilloutthescaledeposit.

Milling
Scalesaregenerallybrittle.Oneoftheearliestmethodsusedtobreakoffthethinbrittlescalefrompipeswasexplosives:astrandortwoofdetonationcord(stringshot)placed
withanelectronicdetonationcapattheappropriatelocationinthewellbore,mosteffectivelyattheperforations.Thickerscalesrequiremorestringentmeans.Impactbitsand
milling(/Glossary%3AMilling)technologieshavebeendevelopedtorunoncoiledtubing(/Coiled_tubing)insidetubularsusingavarietyofchippingbitsandmilling
configurations.Suchscaleremovalratesaregenerallyintherangeof5to30linearft/hrofmilling.[9]

Jetting
Analternativetomillinganddrillingisjetting(/Glossary%3AJetting).[9]Fluidjettingsystemshavebeenavailableformanyyearstoremovescalesinproductiontubingand
perforations.Thesetoolscanbeusedwithchemicalwashestoattacksolubledepositswhereplacementiscritical.Waterjettingcanbeeffectiveonsoftscale,suchashalite,but
islesseffectiveonsomeformsofmediumtohardscalessuchascalciteandbarite.Theuseofabrasiveslurriesgreatlyimprovestheabilityofjetstocutthroughscalebutcan
damagethesteeltubularsandvalves.
Sterlingbeadsisanalternativeabrasivematerialforscaleremovalbyjetting.[9]Thismaterialmatchestheerosiveperformanceofsandonhard,brittlescales,whilebeing20
timeslesserosiveofsteel.Sterlingbeadsdonotdamagethewellifprolongedjettingoccursinonespot.Thebeadsaresolubleinacidandhavenoknowntoxicity,simplifying
useandcleanup.Hardscales,suchasbarite,areremovedatrates>100ft/hr.Thistooliscapableofdescalingconfigurationsotherthanwellboretubing(e.g.,removinghard
baritescaledepositsontwogasliftvalvesinamultiplemandrelgasliftcompletion).

Chemicaldissolution
Chemicaldissolutionofcertainwellborescalesisgenerallyrelativelyinexpensiveandisusedwhenmechanicalremovalmethodsareineffectiveorcostly.Carbonateminerals
arehighlysolubleinhydrochloricacidtherefore,theycaneasilybedissolved.Bullheadedacidwashesarecommonlyusedtoremovecalciteaccumulationswithinthe
wellbore.
Sulfatescaleismoredifficulttoremovefromthewellborebecausethescalehasalowsolubilityinacid.Chelants(scaledissolvers)haveahighthermodynamicdrivingforcefor
dissolvingsulfatescalessuchasbarite,isolatingandlockingupthescalemetallicionswithintheirclosedcagelikestructures(Fig.2).Thesechemicalsaresuccessfulat
removingfilmsofsulfatescalefromthewellbore.However,theyareslowindissolvingthelargerparticlesizedwellborescalesandplugsthereactionratesaresurfacearea
limitedtreatmentsaretimeconsuming,thusexpensive.

(/File%3AVol4_Page_390_Image_0001.png)
Fig.2Arepresentationofachelant/scale
dissolvermolecule,ethylenediaminetetraacetic
acid(afterCrabtreeetal.).[9]

Ironsulfidesaresolubleinhydrochloric(HCl)acid.ManyHClcorrosioninhibitorsarealsoeffectiveininhibitingtheironsulfidefromdissolution,aswellasthetubularsteel.
Therearenowexceptions:inhibitorsthatprotectthesteelandnotthescale,aswellasbeingcompatiblewithscavengersforthetoxichydrogensulfidethatisgenerated.[10]
Forhalite,dilutionwithlowsalinitywaterissufficienttopreventitsaccumulationinthewellboreandtodissolvehalitethatmayhaveaccumulatedinthewellbore.This
requiresasourceoffreshorbrinetreatedwatertohelppreventotherscalingproblems,whichcanbeexpensive.Acaseinpointistheuseofadesulfationplanttoremovesulfate
ionfromthehalitewashwaterfortheHeronfieldproduction.[11]
Somescalesandscalingsituationsarechemicallydifficult.Fluoritescale,foundwithsomeHT/HPbrines,hasnoknownsolvent.Accessofthescaledissolverchemicaltothe
inorganicscalecanbeblockedbyorganicdeposits(e.g.,asphaltenes(/Asphaltene_problems_in_production)).

Inhibition
Inhibitorsaretypicallyusedafterremediationtopreventfurtherscaling.Obviously,thissametechnologycanbeusedtodopreemptivescalecontrol.Theeffectivenessof
inhibitionisrelatedtothedegreeofscalesupersaturationthehigherthisvalue,themoredifficultitistoinhibit.Forexample,baritesolutionswithsaturationindices>350are
particularlydifficulttoinhibit.

Scaleprecipitationcanbeavoidedbychelatingthescalingcation.Thisiscostlybecausethereactionsarestoichiometric,(e.g.,onechelantmoleculeperonescalingcation).
Moreeffectivearechemicalsthatpoisonthegrowthofscale.Thesearethresholdinhibitors,effectivelyinhibitingmineralscalegrowthatconcentrationsof1,000timesless
thanabalancedstoichiometricratio.Mostinhibitorsforinorganicscalesarephosphorouscompounds:
Inorganicpolyphosphates
Organicphosphateesters
Organicphosphonates
Organicaminophosphates
Organicpolymers
Avarietyofsuchchemicalsiswellknown,andtheyareavailablefrommanycompanies.TwochemicalstructuresareshowninFig.3.Theseareusedforthevariouscarbonate
andsulfatescales.Recently,thesuccessfuluseofanonphosphoruscompoundtoinhibithaliteprecipitationhasbeendescribedandfieldtestedatmoderatetemperatures[12]
moreclassicalaminebasedhalitesaltinhibitorsarealsoavailableforhaliteinhibition.[13]

(/File%3AVol4_Page_391_Image_0001.png)
Fig.3Thechemicalstructureoftwo
phosphonateinhibitormolecules
[hydroxyethylenediphosphonicacid(HEDP)and
diethylenetriaminepenta(methylenephosphonic)
acid(DTPMP)].

Deliveringtheinhibitingsolutiontothescalingbrineinthetubularhasbeendonebyanumberofmeans:
Continuousinjectionintothewellboreviaamacaronistring(anarrowdiametertubingreachingtotheperforations)
Injectionintoagasliftsystem[14]
Slowdissolutionofaninsolubleinhibitorplacedintherathole[15][16]
Thesedeliverymethodsarestraightforwardtoimplementbutnotnecessarilywithoutproblems.Forexample,gasinjectionrequirestheinhibitorsolutiontobeatomizedproperly
andnottodepositsubsequentlyonthetubularwallsimmediatelyadjacenttotheinjectionpoint[17]narrowtubingcanplug.
Themostfrequentlyusedmethodofdeliveringtheinhibitingsolutiontothescalingbrinehasbeentheinhibitorsqueeze.Hereaninhibitorcontainingsolutionisforcedinto
theformation,wherebytheinhibitorthenresidesontherocksurface,slowlyleachingbackintotheproducedwaterphaseatorabovethecriticalconcentrationneededtoprevent
scaling[theminimuminhibitorconcentration(MIC)].Itisintendedthatthereleasedinhibitorprotectthetubulars,aswellasthenearwellbore.Itisrequired,obviously,thatthe
inhibitoradsorbontheformationrockwithsufficientcapacitytoprovidelongtermprotection.Itisalsorequiredthattheinhibitorberelativelystabletothermaldegradation
underdownholeconditionsandbecompatibleintheparticularbrinesystem.Anditisalsorequiredthattheinhibitortreatmentnotcauseasignificantpermeabilityreductionand
reducedproduction(seediscussionthatfollows).Theserequirementsaregenerallyachievable,butagain,onechemicaldoesnotnecessarilyfitallfieldsituations.[18]
Twotypesofinhibitorsqueezetreatmentsareroutinelycarriedoutwheretheintentioniseithertoadsorbtheinhibitorontotherockbyaphysicochemicalprocessan
adsorptionsqueezeortoprecipitate(orphaseseparate)theinhibitorwithintheformationporespaceontotherocksurfacesaprecipitationsqueeze.
AdsorptionofinhibitorsisthoughttooccurthroughelectrostaticandvanderWaalsinteractionsbetweentheinhibitorandformationminerals.Theinteractionmaybedescribed
byanadsorptionisotherm,whichisafunctionofpH,temperature,andmineralsubstrateandinvolvescationssuchasCa+2.Theadsorptionprocessforretaininginhibitorinthe
formationismosteffectiveinsandstoneformations.Treatmentlifetimesaregenerallyontheorderof3to6months.
Theprecipitationsqueezeprocessisbasedontheformationofaninsolubleinhibitor/calciumsalt.Thisiscarriedoutbyadjustingthecalciumionconcentration,pH,and
temperatureofpolymericandphosphonateinhibitorsolutions.Alsousedarecalciumsaltsofphosphinopolycarboxylicacidorapolyacrylicacidscaleinhibitor.Theintentisto
placemoreoftheinhibitorpersqueeze,extendingthetreatmentlifetime.Normally,theprecipitationsqueezetreatmentlifetimeexceedsoneyear,evenwhenhighwater
productionratesareencountered.
Theengineeringdesignofsuchadsorptionandprecipitationsqueezetreatmentsintorealworldmultilayerformationsisgenerallydonewithanappropriatepieceofsoftware.
Thissimulatortakescoreflooddataandcomputestheproperpreflushes,inhibitorvolumes,postflushes,andpotentialsqueezelifetime.Computersimulationofsuchchemistry
isdescribedinShuler[19]andYuan,etal.[20]
Thesequenceofpumpingstepsinvolvedinsqueezinginhibitorsislistednext.
Acidcleansthescaleanddebrisoutofthewellboretopicklethetubing(thisfluidshouldnotbepushedintotheformation).
Spearheadpackage(ademulsifierand/orasurfactant)increasesthewaterwetnessoftheformationand/orimprovesinjectivity.
Diluteinhibitorpreflushpushesthespearheadintotheformationand,insomecases,coolsthenearwellboreregion.
Mainscaleinhibitortreatment,whichcontainstheinhibitorchemical,isnormallyintheconcentrationrangeof2.5to20%.
Brineoverflushpushesthemaintreatmenttothedesireddepthintheformationawayfromthewellbore.
Shutinorsoakperiod(usuallyapproximately6to24hours)thepumpingstopsandtheinhibitoradsorbs(phosphonate/polymers)orprecipitates(polymers)ontothe
rocksubstrate.
Wellisbroughtbacktoproduction.
Fig.4illustratesatypicalinhibitorreturncurvethatshowstheconcentrationofaninhibitordissolvedinthewaterphaseasthewellisbroughtbackonproduction.

(/File%3AVol4_Page_393_Image_0001.png)
Fig.4Generalconcentrationvs.time(return)
curvesforvariousscaleinhibitors(after
SchlumbergerOilfieldReview).

Alargeamountofinhibitorreturnsimmediatelyafterturningonthewell.Thisisnonadsorbedinhibitororweaklyadsorbedinhibitor.Itiswastedinthesensethatitisnot
availableforuselateinthelifeofthesqueeze.Thiswastedinhibitordoesnototherwiseimposeaseriousfinancialburdenonthetreatmenttheinhibitorscanbethecheapest
partoftheinhibitiontreatment.Theplateau(orslowlydeclining)portionofthereturncurveisthecriticaldatathatdescribetheeffectivenessofthetreatment.Aslongasthe
curveisabovetheMIC,scaledepositionisnottakingplaceintheformationorwellbore.ImmediatelybelowtheMIC,scaleformationmaystarttooccur.
ThexaxisinFig.4isgivenintermsoftime(months).Thelifetimeparameterismorecorrectlyvolumesofwaterproduced.Obviously,ahighrateofwaterpassingoveragiven
amountofinhibitorwillmaintaintheMICforashorterperiodoftimethanalowrateofwaterpassingoverthesameamountofinhibitor.
Cautionswithinhibitortreatments
Scaleinhibitorsqueezetreatmentscansometimesbringundesirablesideeffects.Thesesideeffectsinclude:processupsets,poorprocessanddischargedwaterqualityoninitial
flowback,extendedcleanupperiod,deferredoil,andthepotentialforapermanentdecreaseinoilproductioncombinedwithanincreaseinwaterproduction.Thefirstthreeside
effectslistedarefunctionsprimarilyoftheoil,brine,andsqueezechemicals.Mostoftheseproblemscanbeavoided,oratleastminimized,bypriorlaboratorytesting.Deferred
oilisanintrinsicprobleminwellintervention.Theimprovedproductionmustpayforthedeferredoil.
Permanentdecreasesinproductionafterinhibitorsqueezetreatmentsareusuallyassociatedwithpumpinglargeamountsofwaterbasedchemicalsintowatersensitivezones,
assuminganotherwisepropertreatmentdesignandtheuseofcleanfluids.ClayswellingandinsituemulsionsaredamagemechanismslowpHinhibitorsolutionsareoften
detrimentaltoclays,inparticulartochlorites.[21]Handlingthescaleinhibitionofwatersensitivereservoirsisnotasolvedproblem.Severalroutesarebeinginvestigated.One
solutionistheuseofoilsolubleinhibitors.[22]Anotheristheuseofwaterinoilemulsion(invertemulsions),similartotheinvertemulsionsusedfortimedelayedacidization.
Athirdsolutionistheuseofamutualsolventpreflush.[23]Here,themutualsolventisthefirstchemicalseenbythesensitiveformation,anditisthelastseenasthewellisput
backonproduction.Alsousedareclaystabilizersinthepreflush.[24]Asofthiswriting,nosingleapproachsolvesallproblems.
Newinhibitorchemistryisalsobeingdevelopedtohandletheharsherscalingenvironmentssuchasparticularlyhighsupersaturatedbariumsulfatesolutions(saturationindices
>350).[25]AcaseinpointisthebaritescalingproblemintheNorthSeaMillerfield.[26]HarshconditionsalsoincludeHT/HPreservoirswithseverethermalstability
requirements.[27][28]

Combinedtreatments
Wellinterventiontoplacethescaleinhibitorisparticularlycostlywithhighvolumewellsbecauseoflargeamountsofdeferredoilinterventionatremotelocations(e.g.,
offshoreplatformsandsubseacompletions)addstothecost.Itisoftenpossibletoplaceascaleinhibitoraspartofthescaleremovalstep,providingbothtreatmentswithone
setupandintervention.Oneofthesetechniquesistheinclusionofascaleinhibitorwiththeacidstimulation(/Acidizing)processfordissolvingcalcitescale.[29]Theadvantages
areincostandinputtingtheinhibitorintoexactlythesamezoneopenedupbytheacidtreatment.
Aseconddualtreatmenttechniqueconsistsofplacingascaleinhibitoralongwithahydraulicfracturestimulation.Inhibitorscanbeinjectedintothepumpedgel/sandmixture
withcalciumiontoformasufficientlyinsolubleandimmobilescaleinhibitormaterialwithintheproppantpack.DTPMPacid(Fig.11)hasbeenused,aswellas
polyphosphates.[30][31]Otherinhibitorformulationscangenerateaglazeontheproppantpack.[9]Theconcepthasbeeneffectivewithcalciteandbaritescales.This
technologyhasbeenpracticedsincetheearly1990sontheAlaskanNorthSlopeand,morerecently,inwestTexaslifetimesofnominallytwoyearsarenowclaimed.[9][30]
ShowninFig.5arereturncurvesforsuchatreatmenttogetherwithareturncurveforaconventionalsqueeze.Here,lifetimeisexpressedintermsofquantityofwaterprotected
fromscaling.Therearealsoafewimportantancillaryadvantagestothemethodgreaterthanextendedlifetimethewellreturnstoproductionfasterbecauseadsorptiontime
shutinisnotrequired,andthereislittleopportunityforchangesintheformationwettabilityanditsattendantproblems.TheconceptisillustratedschematicallyinFig.6.

(/File%3AVol4_Page_395_Image_0001.png)
(/File%3AVol4_Page_394_Image_0001.png)
Fig.5InhibitorreturncurvesfortwoPermian
Basinwellstreatedwithinhibition/fracturing
technologyandacompanionwelltreatedbya

Fig.6Schematicrepresentationofthemodeof
operationforacombinedhydraulicfractureand
scaleinhibitortreatment(afterSchlumberger
conventionalsqueeze(afterWiggandFletcher).[7] OilfieldReview).

Anewer,dualtreatmenttechniqueconsistsofdeployinganinhibitorimpregnatedintoporousceramicproppantalongwithconventionalproppantinhydraulicfracture
stimulation.[32]Uponproduction,anywaterflowingoverthesurfaceoftheimpregnatedproppantwillcausedissolutionofthescaleinhibitor.Dryoilwillnotreleasethe
inhibitorfromthebeadsortheinsolubleinhibitor.FieldexamplesofthistechnologyaregiveninWebb,etal.[33]andNorris,etal.[34]Theadvantagesaresimilartothoseofthe
nonencapsulatedinhibitor/fracconceptalreadydiscussedbutwithapotentiallylongerlifetime(e.g.,4years).Thiscomesatanadditionalcostthatmustbeoffsetbysavingsin
deferredoilandsetup/interventioncosts.[33]Thetargetsarehighvolumewellsinremotelocations,suchastheNorthSeaanddeepGulfofMexico.Bothinhibitor/proppant
techniquesalsoprotectthefractureitselffrompluggingwithscale.Thisscalingoccursprimarilywhenincompatiblewatersmixnearthewellbore.

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