Chemical inhibitors that prevent the formation of sulphate and carbonate mineral scale formation are used in field squeeze treatments. The demand for competent evaluation of all issues associated with mineral scaling in wells and pipelines is continuous throughout the lifetime of any producing asset and the cost implications are very large. It is therefore important that the chemical inhibitor species can be accurately assayed so that the end of the squeeze lifetime can be determined.

Previous work by others has reported the development of accurate detection and assay techniques for oilfield scale inhibitors1,2 . For PVS and VS-Co type inhibitors, these methods involve pre-treatment/purification stages that allow the application of standard wet chemical techniques, in particular the separation of the inhibitor chemical from interfering brine salts. However the typical size of samples from experimental core floods are so small that they render these methods impractical.

In this paper we detail the development of a turbidimetric method without the need for pre-treatment/purification stages for the determination of a sulphonated-polyacrylate co-polymer using Hyamine 1622. The applicability of this technique is illustrated with coreflood samples having small volume size and with real field post-scale inhibitor squeeze produced water samples. It is also shown that the method developed allows the determination of scale inhibitors in produced waters with up to 55,000ppm total chloride concentration and 100ppm crude oil in water.

Finally we report the potential interferences caused by the inhibitor carrier, crude oil and displacement fluid which may arise as a result of both typical and atypical squeeze treatments.

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