A new technique is presented to detect scale deposition and to determine its composition and thickness in real-time in oilfield tubing and pipe. The method is based on continuous triple energy gamma-ray attenuation measurements made at a dedicated, instrumented mandrel or spool piece. Detection and identification of extremely thin scale deposits are possible without disrupting the flow. Simulations of scale deposits in a three-phase pipe are given to demonstrate the method’s practical application. The feasibility of the method has been verified with field measurements. The instrumentation required is based on existing technology with a proven track record in field conditions. Surface installations are safe to operating personnel and the environment.

This new method enables a simple monitoring device to detect and characterize scale in its earliest stages of formation. The technique may be used to determine the appropriate type of inhibition or removal treatment according to the type of scale present, to evaluate the effectiveness of scale treatments in-situ in the pipe in real-time, and can help to optimize chemical consumption for continuous treatment.

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