Initial stages of barium sulfate formation at surfaces in the presence of inhibitors

Eleftheria Mavredaki, Anne Neville, Kenneth Stuart Sorbie

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    The formation of barium sulfate (BaSO4.) in the oilfield is known to occur a precipitation process from the aqueous phase Within oil production facilities: This barite deposition causes many problems related to flow assurance. In this paper, the initial stages of barium sulfate deposition on a metallic surface are investigated. The mass rate of deposition of barite on the surface was measured using a quartz crystal microbalance (QCM). The morphology of the deposited BaSO4 was then observed directly with an atomic force microscope (AFM) and the main crystal faces of barite were identified. Both the formation kinetics and the crystallography of the deposited barium sulfate were studied at three supersaturation ratios and in the presence and absence of 2 chemical scale inhibitors, namely, polyphosphino carboxylic acid (PPCA) and diethylene triamine penta acetic acid (DETPMP). In addition, the precipitation of the barite in the bulk phase was also monitored (by turbidity measurements) thus giving a more complete description of the overall bulk/surface barium sulfate kinetics. PPCA proved to be an effective barite inhibitor both at the surface and in the bulk phase in these measurements. DETPMP did not perform so well but there are several reasons why this may be so irk such early time experiments and these are discussed in the paper. Thus, such experiments must be interpreted with some caution when we are relating the results to the oilfield scale system. In the industrial application addressed here, the brine system is very specific in that it is at relatively high ionic strength, the divalent cations (Ca2+/Mg2+/Sr2+) play an important role and the supersatuaration ratios of barite are very high. However,,barite deposition is currently a very significant problem in the oil and gas industry, and this: paper presents findings that will contribute to better ways of managing barite scale in the future.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)4751-4758
    Number of pages8
    JournalCrystal Growth and Design
    Issue number11
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2011


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