The Johan Sverdrup field will, at maximum, contribute 25% of the total oil production from the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS). Plateau production from the fully developed field is estimated at 550,000 to 650,000 BOE/D. Geochemical formation-water interpretation and development of a scale-management strategy have been performed to ensure high well productivity and process regularity of the field.

Uncertainty over the composition of formation water made the decision to inject normal seawater or low-sulfate seawater into the reservoir for pressure support a challenge. Water compositions in samples obtained from appraisal wells were unusual for the Norwegian North Sea, being sulfate-rich with negligible barium. This was suspected to be an artifact of drilling-fluid contamination, and corrections were applied to obtain representative estimates. These estimates confirmed that the formation waters had variable salinity (21–48 g/L chloride), and were indeed sulfate-rich (94–746 mg/L) and barium-depleted (< 6 mg/L). The compositions may reflect (a) mixing of formation waters across the field over geological time and/or (b) interactions with the underlying Zechstein group (anhydrite). The focus here is on issue (b) because a detailed evaluation of local/regional aquifer movements in geological time, communication patterns, and flow restrictions is beyond the scope of this paper.

Three appraisal wells in the Geitungen Terrace showed barium-rich formation water outside the main reservoir area where no underlying Zechstein group was present. Initially, there were concerns about the scaling risks associated with mixing sulfate- and barium-rich formation waters. However, present geological understanding indicates insignificant aquifer volumes with barium, implying that full-field development and scale strategy do not need to consider barium-rich water.

Scale predictions were performed for various strategies: formation-water production, seawater injection, produced-water reinjection, and low-salinity/low-sulfate-water injection. Moderate strontium sulfate (SrSO4) and calcium carbonate (CaCO3) scalings are expected in the production wells. If third-party barium-rich waters are tied in, the topside barium sulfate (BaSO4) scaling risk increases.

This work has shown

  • Careful evaluation of formation-water samples/analyses reduces uncertainties associated with water compositions and increases confidence in results and decisions.

  • Underlying geology can influence formation-water compositions.

  • Good-quality water sampling is important for later-phase field development and scale management.

The implications for field development are

  • Seawater will be injected into the reservoir for pressure support, with no need for a sulfate-removal plant.

  • Produced-water reinjection will gradually replace seawater to minimize environmental impact.

  • Downhole scale-inhibitor injection has been recommended to protect the upper completion.

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