With the current trend for application of Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) technologies, there has been much research into the possible upsets to production, from the nature of the produced fluids to changes in the scaling regime. The key question being addressed in this publication is the influence of EOR chemicals, such as hydrolyzed polyacrylamide (HPAM), on scale inhibitor (SI) squeeze lifetime for barium sulphate and calcium carbonate scale risk. Squeeze lifetime is defined as the duration of time (or produced water volume) before the minimum inhibitor concentration (MIC) is reached. This is controlled by the adsorption, and later release, of the inhibitor onto the reservoir rock and the MIC of the inhibitor selected for the produced brine. This paper builds on earlier published work investigating potential changes to inhibitor adsorption caused by polymer EOR produced and moves to the evaluation of the changes in MIC due to the presence of EOR chemical.
In the static inhibitor performance bottle tests, the EOR polymer alone appeared to show some degree of inhibition performance against BaSO4, but below a level required for effective scale management. However, in combination with the inhibitor (DETPMP) at near MIC levels, the inhibition efficiency was negatively impacted by the presence of degraded HPAM EOR polymer. During dynamic tube blocking tests, the inclusion of even low levels of HPAM (2.5 ppm) were shown to reduce the differential pressure build up suggesting barite scale inhibition or reduced adhesion to the coil. Furthermore, the scale morphology produced in these tests, examined under a scanning electron microscope, was clearly impacted in the presence of HPAM. For the CaCO3 system there appears to be increasing positive impact from HPAM on CaCO3 morphology with HPAM concentration and, as observed for BaSO4, an improved performance in dynamic efficiency experiments. However, at higher HPAM concentrations (500 ppm) the precipitate was amorphous and only a minor pressure rise was observed during the tube blocking experiments.
From these observations, it is clear that HPAM can impact the way both calcite and barite scale grow, especially at lower inhibitor concentrations (<MIC) and hence impacts the mechanism by which DETPMP can function to prevent scale nucleation and growth.
This study represents a comprehensive review of both inhibition performance in the presence of an EOR polymer and with these findings the implication to field treatment lifetimes and associated costs of scale management via scale squeeze in a field under HPAM flooding.