Technical and Economic Analysis of the Scale Risks and Uncertainties for Subsea Deepwater Field Developments

Graham, Gordon M. (Scaled Solutions Limited) | Collins, Ian Ralph (BP Exploration) | Johnson, Tina L. (BP)



Scale control is conventionally achieved by the use of chemical inhibitors, introduced to the production system either by squeeze treatment into the reservoir or continual injection into the well.However, as new field developments encounter more challenging production environments or when the associated economic impact of chemical intervention is large (e.g. subsea completed wells with poor chemical placement by bullhead treatments, or limited access to wet subsea wellheads), other methods of scale control such as sulfate removal must be considered during the front end engineering design (FEED) stage for the development. However, the final selection of a fields scale management strategy relies on various technical and economic factors which themselves are controlled not just by the severity of the anticipated scaling regimes but also on the proposed field development plan.For subsea completed wells, especially those located in deepwater, the initial field development concept and drainage strategy can have a significant bearing on the costs ultimately associated with various scale management strategies and can, in extreme cases, significantly reduce the Net Present Value (NPV) of the project.The decisions taken at the concept selection stage for scale management in such environments are therefore crucial to the success not only of the chosen scale management strategy but also to the fields economic viability.

This paper reviews the various challenges associated with scale formation and control in subsea and deepwater environments and the impact that different field design scenarios may have on the potential success of various scale management options. In particular, the paper will focus on technical, economic and risk-based analysis conducted for a number of new and proposed subsea field developments with different scaling challenges.The options for scale management in selected subsea and deepwater developments including examples from the North Sea (Shallow water), offshore Angola, and Gulf of Mexico cases will be reviewed.The impact of the various risks and uncertainties associated with determining the severity of the scale challenge (including the quality and source of initial water compositions, the accuracy of simulation tools used for the prediction of future scaling challenges prior to field production, the ability to effectively squeeze treat and place scale inhibitors into particular wells and the potential for changes in the field drainage strategy) are assessed in terms of the total costs associated with particular cases.In summary, the paper will describe the decision process used at the pre-FEED stage to determine a field scale management strategy for different development concepts.Detailed economic analysis of different options considered in recent field cases will be presented to support the different strategies adopted.

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