Prevention of Carbonate Scale Deposition: A Well-Packing Technique with Controlled Solubility Phosphates
- Cornelis Bezemer (Koninklijke/Shell Exploratie en Produktie Laboratorium) | Karl A. Bauer (Koninklijke/Shell Exploratie en Produktie Laboratorium)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- April 1969
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 505 - 514
- 1969. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 3.2.4 Acidising, 4.1.2 Separation and Treating, 5.2 Reservoir Fluid Dynamics, 2.4.3 Sand/Solids Control, 2.2.2 Perforating, 3.1.6 Gas Lift, 4.2 Pipelines, Flowlines and Risers, 4.3.4 Scale, 1.14 Casing and Cementing
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Relations for the design of polyphosphate well packs to prevent carbonate scale deposition have been effectively applied in South Sumatran oil fields.
The deposition of calcium carbonate scale on surface and subsurface production equipment creates an operation problem in many oil fields. The formation water in which the carbonate-scale-forming components are initially dissolved becomes supersaturated with calcium carbonate as a result of the drop in pressure during production. The continuous flow of pressure during production. The continuous flow of a supersaturated solution through the production equipment results in the growth of a dense layer of calcium-carbonate crystals.
For a scale layer to be built up, the supersaturated formation water should contact the walls of the production equipment. The tendency for scale to be production equipment. The tendency for scale to be deposited, therefore, will be low, if the crude has a low water cut and if the water is finely dispersed in the oil. A scale problem will occur, if at a high water cut part of the water is present as free water. The rate of scale deposition win then be approximately proportional to the rate of free water production. proportional to the rate of free water production. Depending upon where the formation water becomes supersaturated, scale may be deposited in the flow line only, in both flow line and tubing, and in some cases even in the perforations and in the formation near the wellbore.
In the South Sumatran fields (Indonesia) the main difficulties encountered due to the deposition of calcium-carbonate scale have been restriction of flow through tubings and flow lines, wear and abrasion of plungers and liners, and stuck plungers or wellhead plungers and liners, and stuck plungers or wellhead valves. So far, the only methods of combating the scale problem have been routine acidizing and additional well pulling. As for the pumping wells, it was estimated that some 50 percent of the total well-pulling effort was directly attributable to scale deposition.
The most promising alternative was to prevent the deposition of calcium carbonate scale by means of chemicals. Inorganic polyphosphates such as sodium hexametaphosphate and trisodium polyphosphate are known to retard the formation of scale by the "threshold action". They are adsorbed on specific faces of the crystal nuclei and thus prevent crystal growth, thereby stabilizing supersaturation. Polyphosphates are effective at very low concentrations Polyphosphates are effective at very low concentrations (a few ppm), and far less than stoichiometric quantities are required to keep the scaling ions in solution. Recent investigations on barium sulfate scale have confirmed this mechanism.
The types of polyphosphate mentioned can be applied as concentrated aqueous solutions either squeezed into the formation, lubricated down the annulus or injected via macaroni string. Several squeeze jobs with polyphosphate solutions have been carried out in the South Sumatran fields, however, with disappointing results. Lubrication down the annulus and injection through a macaroni string were not considered attractive in this area because of the kind of equipment and the degree of supervision these techniques require.
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