The Scale Problem at Oil and Gas Industry


The Scale Problem at Oil and Gas Industry

The scale is a large problem in the oil and gas industry. It mostly affects exploration, drilling, production, transportation and refining phases. 

Accumulation of mineral deposits is a large problem in the oil and gas industry. It affects wells, rigs, pipes, pumps, valves, and much of the equipment, including surface installations. The secondary reservoirs, consisting mainly of inorganic chemical compounds, are particularly affected by scale and corrosion. Both the native formation fluid, as the changes in thermodynamics, kinetics, and the hydrodynamic conditions in which such fluids are produced, can cause the creation of scale.

Scale can reduce the porosity formation and permeability when it grows in the formation pores, especially when this occurs near the well. Scale can also block the normal flow when the holes are clogged or when a thick layer is formed on the walls of the production tubing. Scale can also cover and damage the finishing equipment, such as safety valves and gas mandrels (artificial gas lift mandrels system).

Scale formation begins when any natural fluid condition is altered in a manner that exceeds the solubility limit of one or more of its components. Thus, the CaCO3 is one of the most common types of scaling. Scale is formed by precipitation of minerals present in water or by the existence of two incompatible waters into the well. 

In oil fields where the presence of water is considerable, or those in which water injection is used for secondary oil recovery, the scale problems may be more serious and can increase with time. If this scale is solved mechanically, such removal must be carried out with increasing frequency.

Therefore, it is advisable to perform preventive work on the wells, pipes or finishing equipment to avoid scale formation. This can be done as a supplemental treatment after mechanical removal of the scale.

Scale is one of the main causes of decrease in oil and gas production at worldwide level.

Following pictures show the typical appearance of calcium carbonate scale in oil equipment

Picture 1

scale at pipe - oil and gas industry

Picture 2

scale at oil and gas industry


The Technological Solution

In order to reduce the scale in oil and gas industry, there are different solutions. One of them is the use of scale inhibitors which are added in preventive jobs, during the stimulation period, or when water or fluids are injected into the well. Scale inhibitors are also used in fracking fluids and in pipelines too.

Polyacrylates, phosphonates and/or aspartic acid are commonly used scale inhibitors, but they are highly pollutants, harmful and hazardous, having a high negative environmental impact for the oil and gas industry. Furthermore, they are a costly solution. 

Our Green Solution

Our green technological solution is a chitosan and aloe based formula for use as scale inhibitor. There are different studies and investigations developed by Aloetrade America LLC, Aloe Eco Park, the Instituto Tecnologico de Sonora –ITSON- and other research centers and universities worldwide, showing the effectiveness of the chitosan and aloe complex as scale inhibitor.  

Our INHISCALE 1-BIO is a new product made with technology and know how from Aloetrade America LLC and manufactured by Aloe Eco park. It is a new sustainable product based on a proprietary blend of chitosan and aloe gel with anthraquinones, for its use as scale inhibitor in oil and gas wells and pipelines.

Chitosan is a linear polysaccharide composed of randomly distributed β-(1-4)-linked D-glucosamine (deacetylated unit) and N-acetyl-D-glucosamine (acetylated unit). It is made by treating mushroom or shrimp -and other crustacean shells- with the alkali sodium hydroxide. Chitosan is obtained by a process called deacetylation.

Chitosan is derived from a natural product, chitin, and a non toxic, biodegradable polymer of high molecular weight. After cellulose, chitin is the most common polysaccharide found in nature.

The combination of chitosan and aloe polysaccharides and anthraquinones found in the formula, makes an ideal green scale inhibitor for the oil and gas industry. The high content of polysaccharides found in chitosan and aloe creates inhibition mechanisms that affects directly nucleation changes of calcium carbonate crystals.

The chitosan and aloe interact with the divalent ions which cause scale, such as CA++, MG++ and the like. The chitosan polysaccharides also create a bio protective film against carbonate or sulfate scale. As a biodegradable compound-based polymer, the chitosan creates and additional biofilm with resistance to high temperatures, up to 130 degrees C. In the tests, the inhibition efficiency was found in the range of 98% to 100% at a temperature of 130 degrees C.

For all those reasons, INHISCALE 1-BIO can be used in high or low calcium concentrations, does not precipitate by hydrolysis causes and it is a thermally stable product up to 125 degrees C.

For more information about our green scale inhibitor  for the oil and gas industry, please visit the Specific Product Page