Enhancing Scale Inhibitor Squeeze Retention in HT/HP & High Water Rate Wells - Laboratory to Field Case Study

Sutherland, Louise (Nalco Champion) | Jordan, Myles (Nalco Champion)



The practice of squeeze treatments to oil/gas production wells to prevent inorganic scale formation has been applied for over 30 years and during that period different mechanisms to retain the inhibitor chemical have been evaluated. The simple mechanism of inhibitor retention, adsorption/desorption has been complemented over the years by enhanced adsorption via mutual solvent and full precipitation of the active inhibitor onto the mineral surface of the reservoir.

Previously published studies have shown that the retention of phosphonate scale inhibitors in sandstone reservoirs can be enhanced through the addition of a ‘squeeze life enhancer’. This chemical, typically, a highly charged, low molecular weight polymer can be applied in either the preflush or overflush stage of the scale squeeze treatment. To date these studies have been conducted using low temperature (85°C) sandpack testing.

This paper details the laboratory work carried out under high temperature (146°C) field conditions to qualify the use of the squeeze life enhancer for field application.

The results of the formation damage/inhibitor return corefloods using an MEA phosphonate (EABMPA, Ethanolaminebis(Methylene Phosphonic Acid)) and polymeric squeeze life enhancer additive are presented. The coreflood results indicated that the addition of the additive within the overflush stage of the squeeze program resulted in a 19% extension of the inhibitor lifetime. The ability to extend the squeeze treatment was translated into reduced injected squeeze fluid treatment volume as injected fluid volumes was an issue for the wells being treated and therefore reduced associated oil deferment costs.

The paper will also present field data obtained from the initial two field trial treatments which were carried out in a North Sea field. The trial well had been treated more than ten times previously with the same MEA phosphonate as applied in the enhancer trial making direct comparison of the treatment performance possible. The treatment program applied to the wells resulted in no change to the clean-up rates of the treated well and no process upset during well reflow. The initial scale inhibitor returns from the field trial treatments showed the expected improvement suggested from the coreflood study.

The study brings value to the industry by providing the process to follow for qualifying and trialling a new technology in a challenging high temperature scaling environment with the results from the field supporting the carefully designed chemical selection and evaluation program.