Scale Management

Investigation of Mesoporous Nanoparticles as Scale Inhibitor Squeeze Enhancing Retention Additive

Supervisors:  Leeds University (Mechanical Engineering): Prof Anne Neville, Dr Richard Barker, Dr Thibaut Charpentier & Herriot Watt University (Petroleum Institute): Dr Oscar Vazquez

Project Summary: Oilfield scale deposition is one of the most important flow assurance challenges facing the oil industry, particularly in mature water-flooded basins. There are various methods to mitigate oilfield scale, amongst which chemical inhibition is particularly recommended if there exists a severe risk of scale deposition that may affect safety (i.e. operability of subsurface safety valves) or reduce oil production rates before a removal treatment can be deployed. Inhibition consists in the injection of a chemical which prevents the deposition of scale, either by stopping nucleation or retarding crystal growth. The inhibiting chemicals can generally be injected in a dedicated continuous injection line, or bull-headed as a batch treatment into the formation, commonly known as a scale inhibitor squeeze treatment.

Tasks and expected milestones/deliverables: The purpose of this PhD project is to investigate the use of nanoparticles (NPs) as a retention enhancing additive for scale inhibitor squeeze treatments. The study will focus on three work package:

WP 1 – Firstly it will investigate the interaction between chemical inhibitors, NPs and the reservoir formation. The aim of this work package is to optimize the loading capacity of the nanoparticles and optimize the release of scale inhibitors once the NPs have been injected into the reservoir.

WP 2 – The second work package will focus on optimizing  the hydro-dynamical retention of chemical inhibitor in the porous media using nanoparticles. Mesoporous nanoparticles with a diameter of 5 to 50nm, are small enough to be transported through the porous media of reservoir formations, however, the physicochemical attraction between the nanoparticles and the pore walls may still lead to significant retention. The project will identify suitable mesoporous nanoparticles to act as enhancing retention additives, then a number of pack columns and core flood will be used as reservoir analogues to evaluate the level of retention.

WP 3 – The third work package will assess the ability of the nano carriers to act as a heat sink to preserve the scale inhibitors in high temperature reservoirs.. Indeed, many chemistry are currently not suitable for high pressure- high temperature (HP-HT) reservoirs which lead to the undesirable degradation of inhibitors. Some preliminary works has shown the potential of such NPs to act as a heat sink and therefore extend the lifetime of downhole chemicals. A range of and autoclave to replicate environments will be used in parallel with state of the art analytical facilities (i.e HPLC-MS, ICP, DSC, TGA).

This is a cross-disciplinary project at the crossroad of nano technology and reservoir engineering. The final step of the project will aim to use the experimental data to build a model, which will be incorporated in the SQUEEZE software. This software is developed by Dr Vazquez at Heriot Watt University; it is estimated that every treatment design in the North Sea is performed or influenced by the SQUEEZE software, and it has been used extensively in the Gulf of Mexico, offshore Brazil, offshore Angola, the Middle East and Malaysia.

Academic requirements: Degrees in Engineering, Materials Science, Physics and Chemistry are particularly suitable.  The successful candidate will join the School of Mechanical Engineering and will work as part of the Institute of Functional Surfaces (iFS) a vibrant and supportive international community of early career researchers who collaborate with each other and the engineering community. You will be extensively trained for a career as a professional engineer, which will set you on the right track for a future in industry, academia or government.  Follow the links to find out more about what we offer in the institute of Functional Surfaces https://institutes.engineering.leeds.ac.uk/functional-surfaces/

Relevant publications:

  1. Automatic Optimisation of Oilfield Scale Inhibitor Squeeze Treatment Designs, Vazquez, O., Fursov, I. & Mackay, E. Nov 2016 In: Journal of Petroleum Science and Engineering. 147, p. 302–307
  2. Scale Inhibitor squeeze treatment design in an acid stimulated carbonate reservoir, Vazquez, O., Mackay, E. J. & Myles, J. 2015 SPE European Formation Damage Conference and Exhibition 2015 : Budapest, Hungary, 3 – 5 June 2015. Society of Petroleum Engineers , p. 1151-1166 16 p. SPE-174270-M
  3. Reservoir simulation and near-well bore modelling to aid scale management in a low temperature development with multilateral wells, Ishkov, O., Mackay, E. J., Vazquez, O. & Jordan, M. M. 2015 Proceedings – SPE International Symposium on Oilfield Chemistry. Society of Petroleum Engineers , Vol. 1, p. 415-439 25 p
  4. Preparation of Magnetic Carboxymethylchitosan Nanoparticles for Adsorption of Heavy Metal Ions, TVJ Charpentier, A Neville, JL Lanigan, R Barker, MJ Smith, T Richardson

 

Surface engineering: A new paradigm for the control of mineral fouling using liquid infused porous surfaces

Supervisors: Prof Anne Neville, Dr Richard Barker, Dr Thibaut Charpentier

Project Summary: Mineral scale formation and deposition in down-hole completion equipment such as subsurface safety valves can cause dramatic and unacceptable safety risks and associated production losses and operational costs. Currently, there are several approaches available to remove and prevent scaling with kinetic scale inhibitors, chemical scale dissolvers and mechanical methods being the most prevalent ones. Despite their own advantages these costly techniques can have a detrimental impact on the environment and desirable performance efficiencies are sometimes not achievable. An alternative way forward identified is to turn to surface engineering – this research project will translate this successful approach in the control of bio-fouling to the prevention of mineral scale build-up. The project will build-up on the recent works on Slippery Liquid Infused Porous Surfaces (SLIPS) to design stable super-hydrophobic surfaces with antifouling, self-cleaning and self-healing properties. Researchers from the University of Leeds have recently demonstrated that such technology is showing a great potential in a laboratory environment and so the current project will optimize the technology for more realistic conditions.

Tasks and expected milestones/deliverables: The research packages are a synthesis of experimental and theoretical research.  The early stage researcher (ESR) will receive training in some generic nanotechnologies related methodologies but mostly specific methodologies relevant the research project. The key methodologies will be thin-film processes (e.g. PECVD), nanoscale microscopy and probing techniques (atomic force microscope, transmission electron microscopy), micro/nanofluidics. Science and technology objectives: 1.Altering surface wettability through interfacial physicochemical modification. 2. Controlling heterogeneous nucleation, growth and coalescence properties of interfaces. 3. Develop new strategies that enable control at the nanoscale during the fabrication of porous coatings using PECVD technologies. 4. To evaluate the chemical and mechanical stability of the surface in its final environment.

Academic requirements: Degrees in Engineering, Materials Science, Physics and Chemistry are particularly suitable.  The successful candidate will join the School of Mechanical Engineering and will work as part of the Institute of Functional Surfaces (iFS) a vibrant and supportive international community of early career researchers who collaborate with each other and the engineering community. You will be extensively trained for a career as a professional engineer, which will set you on the right track for a future in industry, academia or government. Follow the links to find out more about what we offer in the institute of Functional Surfaces, https://institutes.engineering.leeds.ac.uk/functional-surfaces/

Relevant papers

  1. Charpentier, T. V. J.; Neville, A.; Baudin, S.; Smith, M. J.; Euvrard, M.; Bell, A.; Wang, C.; Barker, R., Liquid infused porous surfaces for mineral fouling mitigation. Journal of Colloid and Interface Science 2015, 444, 81-86.
  2. Vazirian, M. M.; Charpentier, T. V. J.; de Oliveira Penna, M.; Neville, A., Surface inorganic scale formation in oil and gas industry: As adhesion and deposition processes. Journal of Petroleum Science and Engineering 2016, 137, 22-32.
  3. Sanni, O.; Charpentier, T. V. J.; Kapur, N.; Neville, A., Study of Surface Deposition and Bulk Scaling Kinetics in Oilfield Conditions Using an In-Situ Flow Rig. NACE International. 2015, Dallas, US.
  4. Charpentier, T. V. J.; Neville, A.; Baraka-Lokmane, S.; Hurtevent, C.; Ordonez-Varela, J. R.; Nielsen, F. M.; Eroini, V.; Olsen, J. H.; Ellingsen, J. A.; Bache, Ø., Evaluation of Anti-fouling Surfaces for Prevention of Mineral Scaling in Sub-surface Safety Valves. Society of Petroleum Engineers. 2014, Aberdeen, UK.
  5. Charpentier, T. V. J.; Neville, A.; Baraka-Lokmane, S.; Hurtevent, C.; Ordonez-Varela, J. R.; Nielsen, F. M.; Eroini, V.; Olsen, J. H.; Ellingsen, J. A.; Bache, Ø., Development and Evaluation of Anti-fouling Surfaces for Mineral Scale Management. NACE International. 2014, San Antonio, US.
  6. Keogh, W.; Charpentier, T. V. J.; Neville, A.; Baraka-Lokmane, J. R.; Nielsen, F. M.; Eroini, V.; Olsen, J. H.; Ellingsen, J. A.; Bache, Ø., Evaluation of anti-fouling surfaces for prevention of lead sulphide (PbS) scaling in single and multiphase conditions NACE International. 2017, New Orleans, US