Iron sulfide scale is found almost ubiquitously in maturing oilfield produced water handling and injection systems. Keeping injection systems clean of sulfide scale is becoming more of a shared challenge, but there are few examples where true root cause analysis has led to specific laboratory testing and development of bespoke removal and prevention methods. This paper aims to link these aspects by sharing the best practices from around the world with cutting edge techniques and chemistries used to maintain flow assurance and injectivity in produced water handling systems affected by iron sulfide scale.

Discussion includes root causes analysis of iron sulfide scale formation and deposition mechanisms focusing on the interplay of pH, along with sources of iron and sulfide. The paper goes onto discuss laboratory and field evaluation of control methods. Finally, the root causes of iron sulfide scale formation and deposition mechanism, including the relative advantages and merits of the different techniques, including:

  • Chelating agents (for iron sequestration)

  • Surfactants (for water wetting)

  • Biocide (to target SRB and biofilm)

  • Corrosion inhibitor (to lower iron in system)

  • Sulfide scale inhibitors (threshold inhibition of scale)

Additionally, case histories are used to elaborate the theoretical discussion. The first case history is from an offshore oilfield water injection system, where fouling occurred due to changes in the flow assurance strategy further upstream and capture the lessons learned on the interplay of different production chemicals. The second case history concerns an onshore oilfield with a vast water injection system of over 3,000 wells supporting approximately 5,000 production wells.

The paper concludes with a summary of the decades of experience of solving the most challenging sulfide scaling scenarios, as well as cutting-edge research on a new class of polymeric exotic sulfide scale inhibitor dispersant, effective as threshold concentrations against even lead and zinc sulfide.

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