A Novel Stimulation Approach for Scale Control in Marrat Carbonate Reservoir - Case Studies from Joint Operations, PZ Kuwait

Al-Ghamdi, Saleh Ali (Joint Operations) | Al-Najim, Abdulaziz (Joint Operations) | Al-Khonaini, Talal (Joint Operations) | Bouyabes, Ahmed Nouman (Kuwait Gulf Oil Company) | Nugraha, Ikhsan (Schlumberger Oilfield Eastern Limited) | Hamid, Saad (Dowell Schlumberger)


Carbonate scaling is one of the common problems that occur in wells producing high amount of water. The tendency of scaling escalates in mature fields. This problem becomes critical in sub-hydrostatic wells with Electrical Submersible Pumps (ESP). In such cases, the scale not only reduces the flow of fluids into the wellbore, but also causes frequent failures in downhole equipment, eventually stopping production leading to well workover. Frequent ESP failures can increase the operating costs to unacceptable levels which may eventually lead to field abandonment.

Joint Operations (Chevron and KGOC) in Partitioned Zone (PZ) faced severe scaling problems in Humma field producing from Marrat Carbonate reservoir. A thick layer of calcium carbonate scale was observed in the completion string during the workover. As a result of this scale, ESP repair and replacement frequencies increased abnormally. Also, the ESP amperage charts showed erratic behavior due to solids interference inside the pump resulting in pump failures.

A combined scale control and stimulation treatment was applied in three wells in Humma field in Joint Operations to slow down scaling tendency in the formation and tubular. These wells are producing up to 1523 BWPD averaging 28% water cut. The treatment provided effective placement of scale inhibitor in the formation while controlling any increase in water production because of stimulation. As a result, the workover frequency due to pump failures was reduced. Not only did the production improve, the amount of deferred oil was also significantly reduced resulting in direct oil gain and significant savings in operating costs.

This paper describes the lab analyses, treatment design and execution procedure, adopted for the implementation of this technique as well as the recommendations and lessons learned from the field experience.

Brief Review of Scale Problem
Numerous studies have been done to understand the scale in oilfield. Subjects are very wide covering scale behavior, deposition, identification all the way down to treatment and inhibition chemicals. In the subject of material selection Wang, Z (2005) reported that the surface can be engineered in order to decrease the scale formation and adhesion. Minimizing the surface roughness and number of hooking sites can decrease the extent of scale deposition.

From the treatment point of view various technique has been employed to introduce scale inhibitor into the well even beyond matrix rate, in the effort to maximize the amount of inhibitor can be placed in the well, hence extend the scale protection. In 2001, Norris, et al, published a report that the uses of scale inhibitor impregnated proppant in the fracturing treatments were able to get acceptable scale inhibitor residual.

In order to achieve successful scale control, it is required to take a holistic approach and looking at the scale within the frame of total production system from reservoir to completion and all the way to surface. For that, the first question should be to predict whether a reservoir with the existing production system will have scaling tendency sometimes during its production life. Brown, M (1998) reported a loss of production in one of North Sea well from 30,000 BOPD to zero in just 24 hours. This shows that the predicting scale tendency and its magnitude are not an easy task.