The accurate and precise analysis of scale inhibitors can play an important role in conjunction with other field data like ion analysis, total suspended solids and productivity index in making key decisions on the efficiency of scale squeeze and continuous chemical injection treatments. It is essential to have reliable data on scale inhibitor residuals in produced fluids to prevent wells from scaling and to enable maximum lifetime for scale squeeze treatments especially in complex operating environments.

A variety of techniques exist for scale inhibitor analysis including the more simple methods like hyamine, fluorescence and Inductively Coupled Plasma Optical Emission Spectroscopy (ICPOES) to more complex techniques like high pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC) and mass spectroscopy (MS). All of these techniques, including combinations thereof, are currently in use and the advantages and disadvantages of each technique will be compared and contrasted for the different types of scale inhibitor.

The impact of phosphorus speciation in phosphorus tagged polymers and for thermal degradation of phosphonates and phosphate esters will also be considered. Examples will be provided of how the analysis results can be misinterpreted if the wrong analysis techniques are used. In addition, specific scenarios in North Sea fields for treating conventional and co-mingled sub-sea wells will be discussed to highlight the use of scale inhibitor analysis techniques to aid chemical selection based upon chemical retention, minimum inhibitor concentration (MIC), detection limits and well production conditions.

This paper will present a state of the art review of scale inhibitor analysis techniques and describe how these techniques can be used to provide cost effective scale management in simple to complex production scenarios.

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