The Frøy Field, Norwegian North Sea, was closed down in March 2001 but there are plans to re-develop it. Previously, seawater (SW) injection caused persistent BaSO4 scaling problems in the production wells, so this study was undertaken to determine whether there would be any benefit in using Utsira formation water (UW; low SO4) as opposed to seawater as the injection water.

Thermodynamic calculations indicated that whether SW or UW is injected, the principle scaling risks are from BaSO4 and CaCO3 deposition. Being more difficult to treat, the study focused on the BaSO4 risk. ECLIPSE modelling was used to estimate FW:SW:UW ratios over time for each new well assuming (a) SW injection and (b) UW injection. The results indicated that in each case, initial peaks in BaSO4 Saturation Ratio (SRBaSO4) would occur after ~1.5–2.5 years before declining. The peaks reflect co-production of seawater already present in the reservoir and formation water. The subsequent decline in SRBaSO4 reflects (a) decrease in the FW:SW ratio (SW injection case) and (b) dilution of produced Ba and SO4 as the produced UW fraction increases (UW injection case).

An evaluation of produced water analyses from Frøy and from analogue fields indicated that reservoir reactions will occur at Frøy whether SW or UW are injected but significant BaSO4 would only occur in the presence of seawater. Two methods were used to quantify SRBaSO4 in the new production wells over time after accounting for BaSO4 precipitation in the reservoir. In the first, the amount of BaSO4 deposition in the reservoir was predicted from past produced water analyses and applied to the ECLIPSE results. The second involved the use of STARS to model the effect of reservoir reactions on the scaling potential. There were some differences in the results related to the amount of mixing predicted to be occurring in the reservoir, but contrary to initial expectations, both methods indicated that UW injection would not be beneficial.

Based on these results, seawater has been selected as the injection water resulting in significant OPEX and CAPEX cost savings.

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