Barium sulphate is one of the most difficult types of scale to inhibit in oil and gas production systems, due to its physical hardness and its chemical and thermal stability. Barium sulphate is most commonly inhibited using either phosphonate or polymeric scale inhibitors (SIs) deployed at sub-stoichiometric concentrations. What is less well known in the oil industry is the effect of using combinations of two (or more) SIs synergistically for enhanced scale inhibition performance. A positive “synergistic” effect would be where, for example, 5ppm of A + 5ppm of B performed better than 10ppm of either A or B. In this paper, a series of static barium sulphate inhibition efficiency (IE) test results are presented, in which a series of pairs of SIs have been tested to determine their synergistic properties at pH 5.5 and 95°C. Polymers can be blended with phosphonates, or alternatively pairs of phosphonates or polymers may be applied. In all cases, the synergistic IE is compared with the IE of each SI tested independently at the mass dosage (i.e. the same concentration in mg/L or ppm). Each separate single SI used in the work has been tested previously for barium sulphate IE at pH 5.5, 95°C in order to determine the minimum inhibitor concentration (MIC) for each species (Shaw et al, 2012a, 2012b). Previously, 9 phosphonate and 9 polymeric SIs have been tested individually and, in this work, 34 SI combinations have been tested to examine their synergistic properties. The MICs of the synergistic blends are compared with the normal MICs of the individual SIs. Surprisingly, in most cases, the IE of the blends is usually higher over the range of SI concentrations tested (i.e. the MIC of the blend is lower), compared to that of each SI tested separately. Certain “pairs” of SIs used together yield a significantly beneficial effect, e.g. DETPMP and HMTPMP. Some mechanistic reasons why these synergistic pairs work particularly well are suggested.

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