In several high temperature and high pressure (HT/HP) production environments severe downhole carbonate scale formation is often anticipated and effective carbonate scale dissolvers are required. However for most cases the selection of scale dissolvers is conducted under much less severe conditions, involving simple bottle tests conducted at temperatures up to 95°C and ambient pressure. These tests although generally accepted for screening purposes suffer a number of significant limitations. In addition to the moderate test conditions the low pressure means that carbon dioxide is readily released following the dissolution and results in changes in the test pH which may mean the efficiency of the dissolvers could be overstated.
This paper describes the use of a novel a novel HP/HT "stirred reactor" test rig to more closely examine the relative performance of selected scale dissolvers including organic acids (formic and acetic acids), inorganic acids (16% HCl) and other more conventional scale dissolvers under typical field application conditions. The equipment is specially designed for the extraction and stabilisation of samples at or ‘near’ tested conditions and therefore allows the equilibrium dissolution level to be determined under more representative HP/HT conditions. In this work preliminary tests were conducted using 16% HCl under progressively more severe test conditions (RT & 1,500 psi; 150°C & 1,500 psi and then 150°C & 4,500 psi. Further tests were then conducted to compare the performance of organic acid based scale dissolvers (formic acid and acetic acid based products) together with other selected scale dissolvers at 150°C and 4,500 psi and compared with the results obtained for 16% HCl. For these HP/HT tests, samples were collected and analysed after 2 and 20 hours equilibration time and results were compared with those obtained in more conventional "bottle tests conducted at less severe environmental conditions (90°C and ambient pressure).
In summary the results demonstrate the importance of conducting scale dissolver tests for field applications under more representative (HP/HT) conditions. Of particular significance was the impact of the cooling and pressure reductions. For one of the products tested, although very good dissolution was recorded under the HP/HT conditions, re-precipitation of a different polymorph of calcium carbonate occurred very rapidly resulting in a significant increase in the volume of carbonate precipitation within the reaction vessel and various sample lines. The paper will describe the details of the test equipment used in this work and present a mechanistic interpretation of the various results obtained.