The utilization of chemical additives for oil, gas and water treatments is routinely performed in oilfields. Other oilfield fluids such as steam and solutions of polymers, CO2 or surfactants (micellar flooding) are also routinely treated with chemicals. Often, the chemical additives are continuously injected into the various process streams as they occur in the field.

This continuous injection of chemical additives is hampered by numerous technical and economical problems. An identification and delineation of these problems related to a continuous injection of chemicals for a fluid treatment in oilfields is the main subject of this paper.

A number of recent studies have been conducted to identify and quantify some of these technical and economical problems related to chemical injections in oilfields. The objectives of these studies were:

  1. Identification of the actual cost of this chemical injection in percent of either the total field operating budget or, more appropriately, the total revenues generated in a given field or well.

  2. Identification of factors and variables that have an increasing (i.e., detrimental) effect on the field operational expenses caused by this chemical injection.

General problem areas regarding these chemical injections include but are not limited to the following:

  1. Improper selection of potentially existing and viable chemicals for the various fluid treatment processes.

  2. A pronounced lack of suitable chemicals for some of the more severe field operating conditions.

  3. Various physical and chemical compatibility problems related to the injection of chemicals into the native or other field fluids. These problems may occur even if the selection of chemicals is optimized.

  4. Deficiencies of the utilized chemical injection equipment.

  5. Improper or insufficient rate maintaining and monitoring of the injected chemicals. This includes overtreatments and undertreatments of the oilfield fluids.

  6. Lack of understanding the pertinent correlations between chemical injection programs and workover, stimulation or repair jobs frequently performed in the field.

Attempts are made in this present paper to identify and quantify the various sets of technical and economical problems and to offer some viable solutions.

The budgets for the injection of chemicals in oilfields are surprisingly and, often, unnecessarily high. Frequently, the operational problems are not properly identified and/or the wrong countermeasures are taken, thus requiring additional expenditures or causing additional losses of revenues. To keep track of the entire cost for any chemical injection program is extremely difficult. Both the cost for the chemicals and their actual injection must be added to establish the basic cost for any chemical injection program. In addition, one must also consider the cost for certain workover, stimulation and repair jobs into the technical and economical validity of any chemical injection program.

The entire cost for these chemical injection programs is normally underestimated. Improved chemical injection programs (including a better selection of chemicals and injection equipment) can easily boost profits with little or no capital expenditures.

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