Identification of Novel Chemicals for Iron Sulfide Scale Control and Understanding of Scale Controlling Mechanism

Ko, Saebom (Rice University) | Wang, Xin (Rice University) | Kan, Amy T. (Rice University) | Tomson, Mason B. (Rice University)



Although iron sulphide (FeS) scale is not as common as carbonate and sulfate scales, it is difficult to inhibit, especially at high temperature conditions, due to its low solubility and fast precipitation kinetics. Moreover, the complexity of FeS solution and solid phase chemistry makes FeS deposition and related issues difficult to be solved. This study is to identify more efficient and effective dispersants and inhibitors for FeS scale. Polyacrylamide (PAM), polyvinyl pyrrolidone (PVP), polyoxazoline (OX) and carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC), which are frequently employed during oil and gas production activities for various purposes, successfully prevented FeS particles from settling. CMC was the most effective to disperse FeS particles in brines and it can disperse FeS particles under the conditions of as high as 4M of ionic strength. The size of FeS stabilized with polymers remained in nano-scale. Polymers did not work as threshold inhibitors, but prevented particle growth. Phosphonates and carboxylate chelating agents were also tested for FeS scale inhibition. Diethylenetriamine pentamethylene phosphonate (DTPMP), ethylenediaminetetraacetate (EDTA) and nitrilotriacetate (NTA) successfully inhibited FeS nucleation greater than 90% in a given reaction time of 2 hours at 70 °C, based on the measurement of Fe concentration in filtered solution with 0.22 μm syringe membrane. NTA showed the best inhibition performance at pH 5.0 and all three inhibitors stopped FeS nucleation at a substoichiometric concentration of inhibitors to iron(II). EDTA performed better than NTA and DTPMP at pH 6.7 at about 10% excess of EDTA molar concentration over iron(II). As pH and saturation index (SI) increased, greater concentrations of inhibitors were required to inhibit FeS scale.