The injection of seawater into oilfield reservoirs to maintain reservoir pressure and improve secondary recovery is a well-established, mature, operation. Moreover, the degree of risk posed by deposition of mineral scales to the injection and production wells during such operations has been much studied. However, the current drive within the North Sea to reduce the environmental burden of production chemicals and to reduce oil discharge to the environment has focused attention on the challenge of produced water management and has introduced new challenges for scale management involving produced water re-injection.

This paper will outline the risk assessment process required prior to undertaking produced water re-injection. The factors that will be considered are the location of scale deposition around fractured and unfractured injection wells, formation damage potential and impact, and retardation effects on injected scale inhibitors.

The paper will draw upon computer modelling techniques, laboratory generated coreflood data, and field results that will demonstrate the impact of the following factors on long term water injectivity: viz, scaling tendency, suspended solids content, suspended oil content, injection temperature, reservoir type, and completion type. Furthermore, scale control measures currently being employed (e.g., scale inhibition, hydraulic fracturing, drag reduction, and solvent cleaning) will be assessed and reviewed against the risks identified. Finally, this paper will outline in detail the particular scaling issues associated with produced water re-injection for both platform and subsea facilities.

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