Produced water was sampled and measured repeatedly during production from an offshore field, and an extensive brine chemistry dataset was developed. Systematic analysis of this dataset enables an in-depth study of brine/brine and brine/rock interactions occurring in the reservoir, with the objective of improving the prediction and management of scale formation, prevention and remediation.

A study of the individual ion trends in the produced brine, using the types of plot developed for the Reacting Ions Toolkit (Ishkov et al., 2009), provides insights into what components are involved in in situ geochemical reactions as the brines are displaced through the reservoir, and how the precipitation and dissolution of minerals and the ion exchange reactions occurring within the reservoir can be identified. This information is then used to better evaluate the scale risk at the production wells.

A thermodynamic prediction model is used to calculate the risk of scale precipitation in a series of individual produced water samples, thus providing an evaluation of the actual scaling risk in these samples, rather than the usual theoretical estimate based on endpoint formation and injection brine compositions, and the erroneous assumption that no reactions in the reservoir impact the produced water composition. Nonetheless, the usual effects of temperature, pressure and brine composition are accounted for in these calculations using classical thermodynamics. The comparison of theoretical and actual results indicates that geochemical reactions taking place in this given reservoir lead to ion depletion that greatly reduces the severity and potential for scale formation. However, ion exchange reactions are also observed, and these too affect the scale risk, and the effectiveness of scale inhibitors in preventing deposition.

Additionally, comprehensive analysis using a geochemical model is used to predict the evolution of the produced brine compositions at the production wells, and to test the assumptions about which in situ reactions are occurring. A good match between the predictions from this geochemical model and the observed produced brine compositions is obtained, suggesting that the key reactions included in the geochemical model are representative of actual field behaviour. This helps to establish confidence that the model can be used as a predictive tool.

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