Evaluation of the scaling risk at production wells is generally carried out using thermodynamic prediction models. These models are generally very accurate in terms of predicting the type of scale that may form, the degree of supersaturation, and the mass of scale that will deposit by the time the system reaches equilibrium – provided the brine composition or compositions involved are well known, and the pressure and temperatures conditions are accurately specified. However, in performing these calculations, engineers and chemists often fail to take account of reactions occurring in the reservoir, and assume that brines reaching the production wells have not reacted in any way prior to entering the wellbore. This often leads to a significant overestimate of the scaling risk.
The work presented in this paper addresses this issue by studying data from various fields to identify what can be learnt from the produced brine compositions. A new technique to estimate the range of scaling tendencies that takes account of reservoir precipitation is developed, and the results are displayed in a 3D response surface. This is illustrated for barium sulphate scaling tendency, accounting for different levels of ion stripping.
In order to calibrate some simulation parameters, and to identify the more important equations that should be inserted in the reservoir simulation, studies were performed based on the observed data. Different reservoir simulations were used and compared, with a focus on scale management to identify positive and negative aspects of each one.
This work has identified that in fields with reservoir temperatures above 120°C and calcium concentrations above 7000 mg/l, significant sulphate stripping occurs due to anhydrite precipitation. This effect is increased where ion exchange leads to a reduction in magnesium and an increase in calcium concentration as the injected brine is displaced through the reservoir.