Kinetics of scale formation in oil and gas production

Scale formation in the production equipment of the oil and gas industry poses a general challenge. It tends to build up on the interior pipe wall both downhole and in the upper part of the well and production tubular.

A significant amount of scale will eventually precipitate. The internal diameter of the pipe is gradually decreased by excessive scale deposition.

This can cause a failure of downhole safety valves or a complete stop of production. Scales may also cause under deposit corrosion and there is a great need to understand why and where the scale is formed. 

The scales in focus in this study are the most common scales in North Sea production equipment: BaSO4, SrSO4, CaCO3, FeCO3, FexS. The solubility of these scale minerals are well known and are being modeled using the ScaleCERE software.

The aim of this study is to develop an experimental basis which allows for the determination of scale formation kinetics. Existing equipment and methods are further developed. Measurements will be conducted under conditions allowing the determination of scale formation under varying supersaturation conditions as functions of brine composition. The study of the interaction between brine and surfaces will play a role in the project.

The experimental design and the modeling of scale kinetics is supported by existing thermodynamic models at DTU such as the ScaleCERE software.

The project is funded by the Danish Hydrocarbon Research and Technology Centre

Main supervisor: Kaj Thomsen
Co- supervisor: Philip Loldrup Fosbøl



Kaj Thomsen
DTU Chemical Engineering