Inorganic scale deposition is one of the most serious flow assurance problems. One of these exotic scales is halite (NaCl). Injection of hydrate inhibitors (HIs) [methanol, monoethylene glycol (MEG), triethylene glycol (TEG)] to prevent plugging of flow lines and tubing could induce precipitation of halite scales. Thus, utilizing these chemicals might adversely affect salt solubility, causing scaling problems, particularly halite scales, in high total dissolved solid (TDS) brines. In this study, the influence of HIs on scaling of a supersaturated NaCl solution with and without inhibitor was experimentally investigated.
The results of these experiments show that increasing the concentration of HIs results in a higher amount of halite precipitation. Moreover, the effect of methanol on halite precipitation is more severe compared to MEG and TEG. On the other hand, the static efficiency results illustrate that raising the concentration of HI reduces the scale inhibition efficiency in the presence of methanol and TEG to a lower extent, while the inhibitor could have a 100% inhibition efficiency in the MEG solution. Furthermore, in the case of methanol, the optimum inhibition efficiencies at HI concentrations of 10 and 40 wt% were observed at SI concentrations of 500 and 200 ppm, respectively. Alterations in the morphology of halite in the presence of HIs were analyzed using optical microscopy and environmental scanning electron microscopy (ESEM) techniques. In this study, the effect of morphology changes of halite due to the addition of HI is addressed for the first time. These investigations can help provide a better understanding of the mechanism of halite scaling in the presence of HIs.