The calcium and bicarbonate ions, present in the produced waters in the oilfields, are two major scaling ions in CaCO3 formation. In the last decade, a lot of studies have been focused on the thermodynamic or kinetics of CaCO3 formation, including the effects of scaling ions, temperature, pH, pCO2, etc. Seldom studies are focused on the kinetics of calcium carbonate surface deposition with different levels of calcium and bicarbonate, especially in the presence of scale inhibitors.

In the work reported herein, dynamic loop tests were carried out to study the kinetics of CaCO3surface deposition in three typical produced waters (Water-1, high calcium and low bicarbonate; Water-2, medium calcium and medium bicarbonate; Water-3, low calcium and high bicarbonate) with same saturation index (SI) at 150°C. Typical scale inhibitor chemistries, including phosphonate, polycarboxylic, polymaleic, polysulphonate, polyacrylic, polyaspartate based scale inhibitors, have been tested in three tested waters.

The following conclusions are drawn based on the test results.

  • SI generated by applied prediction software is a parameter indicating the thermodynamic driving force. The kinetics of scale formation, more representative field conditions, should be studied as well to give a guideline of scale formation in the fields.

  • Comparison of calcium, bicarbonate is the dominant kinetic factor for CaCO3 formation in the absence and presence of inhibitors.

  • Higher bicarbonate water, higher minimum inhibitor concentration (MIC) is requested, even the three tested waters with a same SI.

  • The ranking of the performance of scale inhibitor are dependent on the water chemistries and inhibitor chemistries. Some of the best ranking phosphonates in Water-1 and Water-2 with low and medium bicarbonate showed poor performance on Water-3 with high bicarbonate. Some polymers showed contrary ranking performance.

This paper gives a comprehensive study of the kinetics of CaCO3surface deposition considering the effects of calcium and bicarbonate, including prediction, laboratory evaluation, mechanisms and inhibitor selection. It will contribute to understand the kinetics of CaCO3 formation and recommend effective inhibitors for field application. Environmentally acceptable inhibitors have been developed for different CaCO3 water chemistries at elevated temperature and are suitable for applications through squeeze treatment or continuous injection.

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