Calcium carbonate scale was detected in the majority of wet producers in a tight carbonate reservoir in the northern part of Saudi Arabia. Extensive lab work indicated that a phosphonate-type scale inhibitor was effective in mitigating carbonate scale, as well as sulfate scale that were found in a few wells. Field application of conventional scale squeeze treatment in this field is not an easy task for the following reasons:

  1. The formation is tight and water blockage is a serious concern.

  2. Formation brine contains high Ca concentrations (up to 19,930 mg/L).

  3. The formation contains high TDS (up to 231,262 mg/L); therefore measuring low concentrations of the phosphonate inhibitor is a real problem.

  4. Nearly 70% of the field is offshore, which imposes limitation on the volume of fluids that can be used.

As a result of these challenges, several modifications were introduced to conventional scale squeeze treatments, where a large amount of aqueous phase is typically introduced into the formation. Coreflood experiments were used to evaluate various available options to reduce the amount of aqueous phase introduced into the formation and associated problems. Based on the results obtained from these tests, significant changes were introduced to the preflush, main treatment, postflush, and soaking time.

The new modifications were applied at two wet producers in this field. Well Z-C is a vertical well with 70 vol% water cut, 218°F bottom hole temperature, and 78,540 mg/L TDS. Well B is a horizontal well with 5 vol% water cut, 235°F bottom hole temperature and 209,828 mg/L TDS. An extensive wellhead-sampling program was conducted to measure residual scale inhibitor in the produced brines.

Both wells responded positively to the treatment. The new modifications have resulted in better well response. Analysis of phosphonate in the wellhead samples was used to determine the MIC for this field.

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