Abstract

Application of inflow control devices (ICDs) in a thermal producer has proven to be an effective solution to increase the wellbore performance and reduce production problems such as steam breakthrough. In challenging areas where the potential for scaling is greater, there is concern that the ICD could plug. Often, operators face severe nozzle plugging nozzles with silica and calcium carbonate scales. This work is intended to investigate the relative resistance of various materials to silica or calcium carbonate scaling. Bulk scaling tests on four types of coupons (4140 carbon steel, EN30B alloy steel, and two proprietary grades, proRC05 and proRS06) were conducted in the solution with similar chemical composition of common produced water in steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD), cyclic steam stimulation, and steamflood projects in Western Canada. Both silica scaling and calcium carbonate scaling tests were carried out to evaluate the anti-scaling performance of the material commonly used in manufacturing ICDs for these projects. The microstructure of the scale on the coupons after scaling tests were completed was investigated using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) coupled with energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX). Force measurement using the atomic force microscopy (AFM) colloidal probe technique was applied to interpret the microscopic interactions between different substrate surfaces and silica or calcium carbonate particles. The detailed investigation on evaluating the scaling resistance of different materials provides useful insights into the selection of suitable materials for projects where scaling exists as a major problem.

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