The presence of scale in a well is arguably one of the most difficult and expensive problems facing the production function of the oil industry today and despite many years of concentrated effort to effectively combat it, the problem still exists in a widespread manner. Much of the effort to mitigate the scale problem and render it less of a threat to production has been centered on methods of inhibiting its formation with chemicals or by mechanically removing it, but in many cases the action taken has not met the overall effectiveness sought by industry. A new approach to the problem is indicated but what form might it take? If a method were to exist that would prevent the deposition of scale rather than treating it when it appears, then this would represent a quantum leap forward in production operations.

This paper presents a unique and non-chemical method for the control of oilfield scales using a physical water treating device that was originally developed for industrial water treatment. This patented technology presents an alternative for oilfield scale treatment and control when it is installed at the surface of the well. It functions by inducing a randomly pulsed high frequency signal into the piping system which causes the scale crystals to form in the produced fluid rather than on the walls or surfaces of down hole and topside equipment. Prior to field testing this mechanism was evaluated under laboratory conditions using a dynamic tube-blocking test with concentrated brines that produced calcium carbonate, barium sulfate and combinations thereof. Subsequent field studies encompassed the treatment of oil and gas wells with various forms of lift in four different regions in North America with over ten different companies. The system was designed to overcome the wide range of variables that exists from well to well and specific results from several wells will be reviewed to illustrate the value that this approach is bringing to well management.

The conclusion to be drawn from this work is that physical water treating technology can be effective in controlling oilfield scale deposition and there are many benefits to be enjoyed by an operator including increased production, significant cost savings and a positive impact on the environment. It is these benefits that make continued work in this field of science a worthy endeavor to pursue for the oil industry.

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