The long-term development plan for a giant oil field offshore Abu Dhabi calls for new extended reach wells drilled from artificial islands. The existing wells in this field have historically suffered from inorganic sulfate-based scale deposition in the production tubing which is mitigated by periodic scale inhibition squeeze treatments. The new extended reach wells will have more sophisticated lower completions, including limited-entry liners (LELs) and inflow control devices (ICDs) with external debris barriers. It is currently planned to mitigate inorganic scale in these wells with periodic coiled tubing or bullhead scale inhibition squeeze treatments, which are anticipated to be more challenging and costly due to the extended reach. It is unknown as to whether these types of completion equipment are susceptible to scale deposition or how much scale deposition can be tolerated before well productivity is impacted.

Knowledge of the rate of scale buildup on ICDs and LELs versus the volume of water produced through the devices is an important factor for choosing the optimum frequency for scale inhibition squeeze treatments to mitigate scale in these completions while keeping operational costs down. A two-phase laboratory study is currently underway to assess the susceptibility of ICDs to scale deposition. The first phase of the study will focus on the potential for strontium sulfate scale deposition on the debris barrier upstream of the ICD.

This paper reports the experimental design and results of laboratory scale deposition experiments on a series of debris barrier test coupons with the goal of estimating the rate of scale buildup on the full-size ICD debris barriers, and the volume of scaling brine that can be produced through the ICD debris barrier (in the absence of any scale inhibitor chemical) without risking significant plugging.

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