In many parts of the world, petroleum is produced from reservoirs, which also produce brine water that is near saturation with respect to sodium chloride salt. During the course of producing these fluids, salt crystals form and grow to a point that a "salt block" occurs in the well and/or flowlines. The mechanisms of formation vary, but most often it follows one of two scenarios:

  1. Temperature cooling, as the fluids are transported from the reservoir to the surface, causes the temperature to drop. Saturation occurs and deposition begins.

  2. Concentrating of the brine downhole as produced gas strips water, leaving the salt behind concentrating the solution of sodium chloride brine. Salt blocks occur as the deposit grows.

Laboratory testing has identified at least two types of additives that will function as a sodium chloride scale inhibitor. From this data, field applications have been designed and applied.

This paper will describe the chemical testing, the field application by three application methods, and discuss field data that illustrates successful salt block inhibition.

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