Gradient descent algorithm to optimize the offshore scale squeeze treatments

Vahid Azari*, Oscar Vazquez, Eric Mackay, Ken Sorbie, Myles Jordan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
50 Downloads (Pure)


Scale deposition is one of the serious oilfield chemical issues which may lead to a range of downhole and production problems, including the reduction of well productivity index. Scale Inhibitor (SI) squeeze treatments are one of the most common techniques which are applied to prevent downhole scaling in production wells. A treatment typically consists of four stages, (i) a preflush, to condition the rock surface; (ii) a main treatment, where a batch of high concentration inhibitor is bullheaded into the formation; (iii) an overflush, to displace the scale inhibitor slug deeper into the near-well formation, and (iv) a shut-in stage to allow further inhibitor retention before putting the well back on production. During this backflow period, scale inhibitor is released from the rock surface into the produced water, and the scale deposition is prevented if the inhibitor concentration is above some specified Minimum Inhibitor Concentration (MIC). Due to logistic constraints in offshore wells, it is often required that the scale protection afforded by a squeeze treatment should last for some fixed design lifetime until the next treatment becomes available. For example, in the North Sea sector, well operations are often based on an annual treatment design. This paper presents a methodology to optimize the squeeze treatment design for a fixed target lifetime and this is applied for two offshore well squeeze treatments. This approach allows us to account for the operational constraints in the squeeze optimization process to treat a fixed volume of produced water, while minimizing the inhibitor neat volume and the total pumping time. A sensitivity study was performed on the inhibitor concentration, where the results showed that deploying a smaller inhibitor slug but with higher concentration is more effective than a larger slug with lower concentration, assuming a fixed volume of inhibitor and injected water. Therefore, it is recommended that the inhibitor is deployed at the maximum possible concentration, while avoiding the potential for any formation damage. Considering the same inhibitor slug (volume and concentration), this study suggests that the squeeze lifetime continuously increases with the overflush volume. This implies that the lifetime function is differentiable with respect to the overflush, and thus a gradient-based optimization algorithm, specifically the Gradient Descent (GD) may be applied to find the exact overflush volume resulting in the target lifetime. Employing this procedure for a wide range of main treatment volumes allows us to calculate the squeeze “Iso-Lifetime” curve which represents all the possible squeeze designs for the target lifetime. Thereafter, from the iso-lifetime designs, the CPB value (total cost of squeeze per treated barrel of water produced) can be minimized to find the most optimum squeeze design. This approach is shown to result in the optimum scale inhibitor squeeze treatment strategy in the long-term.

Original languageEnglish
Article number109469
JournalJournal of Petroleum Science and Engineering
Issue numberPart B
Early online date4 Sept 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022


  • Gradient descent algorithm
  • Iso-lifetime designs
  • Oilfield scale
  • Squeeze treatment
  • Treatment optimization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Fuel Technology
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology


Dive into the research topics of 'Gradient descent algorithm to optimize the offshore scale squeeze treatments'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this