Magnesium Depletion and Impact on Produced Brine Compositions in a Waterflooded Reservoir

Ishkov, Oleg (Heriot-Watt University) | Mackay, Eric (Heriot-Watt University) | Jordan, Myles (Nalco Champion, An Ecolab Company) | Blair, Sarah (Nalco Champion, An Ecolab Company)



Produced water composition analysis provides evidence of what geochemical reactions are taking place in the reservoir. This information can be useful for predicting and managing oilfield mineral scale resulting from brine supersaturation.

This paper presents results of a study of the produced brine compositions from three wells in a field operated in the North Sea, with geochemical modelling complementing the analysis. The findings presented in this work provide evidence of magnesium depletion and sulphate retardation in a sandstone reservoir at 130° C.

This adjusted formation water composition was then used for calculations of the injection water fraction in each of the produced water samples. The Reacting Ions Toolkit was used to plot data in a variety of formats, including ion concentration vs. ion concentration, ion concentration vs. injection water fraction and ion concentration vs. time to identify trends and to examine the extent of involvement of the various ions in geochemical reactions.

The breakthrough of sulphate, a component primarily introduced during seawater flooding, was retarded during injection water breakthrough. Observed sulphate concentrations were lower than predicted for the case of brine/brine interactions only. The implication of this sulphate reduction was lower minimum inhibitor concentration required to control scale formation and longer squeeze treatment lifetimes for the operator.

A brine/rock interaction mechanism was proposed that involves magnesium depletion and is reproduced in the reactive transport model. 1D reactive transport modelling was performed to match possible in situ geochemical reactions (precipitation, dissolution, ion exchange) and account for observed ion trends. The model predicts that the process, which is beneficial in terms of reducing the scale risk, is more pronounced at higher temperatures. It has been observed previously that high temperature (130°C) chalk reservoirs may act as natural sulphate reduction plants during seawater flooding, reducing sulphate scaling and souring risks, and so reducing the operating costs (scale squeeze treatment frequency, chemical volumes) of these fields. This work illustrates new evidence of magnesium depletion and sulphate retardation above levels expected for just brine/brine interactions for a 130° C sandstone reservoir with the implication that the geochemical reactions may lead to reduced operating costs (in terms of squeeze treatment volumes and treatment frequencies) in sandstone reservoirs with low carbonate mineral content that are undergoing seawater flooding.