Synthesis and application of phosphonate scale inhibitor nanomaterials for oilfield scale control
Tomson, Mason B.
Doctor of Philosophy
In this study, several synthesis routes were adopted to prepare nanometer sized metal-phosphonate particles to expand their use in the delivery of phosphonate mineral scale inhibitors into formation porous media for oilfield scale control. An aqueous solution of calcium chloride or zinc chloride was mixed with a basic phosphonate solution to form nanometer sized particles. The physical and chemical properties of the fabricated nanomaterials and their solutions have been carefully evaluated. The obtained nanomaterial suspensions were stable for a certain period of time at 70°C in saline solutions. The nanomaterials demonstrated a good migration performance through formation porous media. Transportability was affected by both the flow velocity and the surface chemistry of the nanomaterials as well as the formation medium. The transport of these nanomaterials can be enhanced, when the formation materials were pre-flushed by surfactant solutions. The potential application of the synthesized nanomaterials for scale treatment in oilfields has been investigated by a series of laboratory squeeze simulation tests. The synthesized nanomaterials were injected into formation medium and retained on the medium surfaces. After a shut-in period, the inhibitor nanomaterials slowly released phosphonates into the produced fluid to prevent scale formation. It has been observed that the prepared nanomaterials are able to return phosphonates in a similar return profile as that of the conventional acidic pills. Moreover, the crystalline phase Ca-DTPMP nanomaterials, developed from their amorphous precursors, demonstrate a long term phosphonate return behavior with a stable phosphonate return concentration for an extended period of time. The long term flow back performance of metal-phosphonate nanomaterials can be interpreted by their solubility product in brine solutions.