Abstract

Today, ultrasound is a widely used technology for a number of industrial applications, from processing liquids and slurries, cleaning of optical lenses and jewellery, purification of water, enhancement of mechanical and physical properties of metals, welding, dispersing, humidifiers, to material testing. In the oil and gas industry the ultrasonic technology is typically used for measurement applications. This paper describes first test and research results using ultrasonic waves to remove scaling in the borehole. So far most standard scaling treatments involve the use of chemicals. With ultrasonic treatment, it may be possible to reduce or even substitute the chemical applications. This transgression from a chemical to a physical cleaning process would most likely save costs and reduce the environmental impact. Scaling from calcium carbonate, gypsum/anhydrite or barium/strontium sulfate is considered a major issue with oil and gas production, causing the industry enormous efforts on prevention and removal. To assess the usability of ultrasound for scaling removal, a series of laboratory experiments were conducted, starting with gypsum due to its easy handling and continuing with the more critical calcium carbonate scaling. The cleaning effects could be proven and the main factors influencing the ultrasonic cleaning efficiency could be identified in the laboratory. This paper will present and discuss the findings so far and will give an outlook on future research issues with ultrasonic scale removal.

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