Behavior of a Scale Inhibitor Water-in-Oil Emulsion in Porous Media
- Carolina Romero (Institute Francais du Petrol IFP) | Brigitte Bazin (Institute Francais du Petrol IFP) | Alain Zaitoun (Institute Francais du Petrol IFP) | F. Leal-Calderon (Universite de Bordeaux)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE Production & Operations
- Publication Date
- May 2007
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 191 - 201
- 2007. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 4.1.2 Separation and Treating, 1.6.9 Coring, Fishing, 1.8 Formation Damage, 5.3.2 Multiphase Flow, 3 Production and Well Operations, 2.7.1 Completion Fluids, 5.4.10 Microbial Methods, 5.1 Reservoir Characterisation, 4.3.4 Scale, 5.2 Reservoir Fluid Dynamics, 5.6.5 Tracers, 5.4.1 Waterflooding, 4.3.1 Hydrates, 5.3.1 Flow in Porous Media, 5.3.3 Particle Transportation, 1.2.3 Rock properties, 4.1.5 Processing Equipment, 4.3.3 Aspaltenes
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The use of water-in-oil emulsions (W/O) to deploy scale inhibitors has been reported in the literature as an alternative to water-based squeeze treatments. The non-aqueous nature of these emulsions has the advantage of preventing water blocking, which adversely affects oil production in aqueous squeeze treatments. Placing the scale inhibitor in a w/o or "invert?? emulsion has shown in some cases the additional advantage of enhancing treatment lifetime. However, results from the literature seem contradictory sometimes and highlight a poor understanding of this technology.
The present paper aims at providing further insight on emulsified scale inhibitor placement in porous media. We focus on studying the retention mechanisms of the emulsion droplets containing the scale inhibitor (SI), whilst SI release and, consequently, the performance of the emulsified squeeze is not discussed here. Preliminary experiments were conducted using a low molecular-weight biopolymer as a scale inhibitor. They evidenced a low adsorption/retention of this SI in aqueous solution. Reformulation of the product under invert emulsion was investigated to enhance inhibitor retention.
Results from coreflood experiments using well-characterized silicon carbide (SiC) packs provided preliminary evidence of aqueous droplet adsorption as the main retention mechanism in porous media. This was expected considering the average droplet size of 0.3 mm (300 nm). The mother formulation of the w/o emulsion is a concentrate, containing 80% weight of water phase and 8% weight of active scale inhibitor. The product can be diluted down to 2% water phase by adding the desired oil phase. Dilution does not affect emulsion stability or increase the emulsion's droplet size. These results represent a promising first step towards the development of a technically and commercially viable, environment-friendly scale inhibitor technology based on w/o emulsions. Future work to study the emulsied SI release mechanisms and its consequent performance are being prepared to compare with conventional aqueous squeeze treatments.
The formation of mineral scale in production facilities is a relatively common problem in the oil industry. Most scale forms either by pressure and temperature changes that favor salt precipitation from formation waters, or when two incompatible waters mix during pressure maintainance or waterflood strategies. Scale prevention is achieved by performing "squeeze?? treatments in which chemical scale inhibitors are injected into the producer near wellbore.
Once the scale inhibitor is injected, it is retained in the porous matrix and hopefully it will be returned with produced fluids in slow enough rates to assure long treatment durability and lifetime. Many conventional squeeze treatments, where scale inhibitors are injected in aqueous solution, show lifetimes that are occasionally short (3 to 6 months). This, together with differed oil production observed after the treatments, adversely affects oilfield economics (Crabtree et al. 1999; Lawless et al. 1997). Differed oil is by far the more detrimental of the two. It is caused by invasion of the aqueous solution in the near wellbore, creating a highly water-saturated region where oil flow is greatly impaired. This effect is commonly known in formation damage literature as "water blocking?? (Economides et al. 1993).
To overcome these problems, one of the many approaches reported in the literature is the injection of oil continous squeeze treatments. These treatments use either oil-soluble scale inhibitors (Wat et al. 1998a; Wat et al. 1998b) or Emulsified Scale Inhibitors (ESI). The latter are the subject of this paper, where scale-inhibitor brine solution is dispersed in a continuous oil phase, forming what is known as a water-in-oil or "invert?? emulsion (Lawless and Smith 1998; Collins et al. 2001; Collins et al. 2002; Jordan et al. 2002; Lawless and Smith 1999; Smith and Lawless 2000).
In this paper we present a brief literature review of previous work published on ESI squeeze treatments, followed by the description of a new invert emulsion formulation, developed and currently under study in our laboratory.
ESI injectivity behavior and droplet retention mechanisms for this new ESI formulation are discussed. The product is developed entirely with biodegradable products, to comply with stricter environmental legislation currently under way for the North Sea region.
|File Size||2 MB||Number of Pages||11|
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