ISSN 2305-6894

Laboratory assessment of tetrakis(hydroxymethyl)phosphonium sulfate as dissolver for scales formed in sour gas wells

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1 Saudi Aramco, Research and Development Center, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia 31311
2 Saudi Aramco, EXPEC Advanced Research Center, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia 31311

Abstract: Tetrakis(hydroxymethyl)phosphonium sulfate (THPS) is an environmental friendly biocide commonly used in oil fields. It also has been used to control iron sulfide precipitation for water injection and to remove deposits in oil production systems. In this study, THPS was examined as the dissolver for scale deposits formed on downhole tubular of high temperature sour gas wells. These deposits consisted of a wide range of mineral phases and are often dominated with various forms of iron sulfides and iron oxyhydroxides. The THPS based dissolvers were studied at various concentrations, pH values and with different additives. These additives included ammonium chloride, chelating agents and phosphonates. Experimental results indicated that the dissolving power was not proportional to THPS concentration. The maximum dissolution was observed in THPS concentration of 25 to 50%, depending on scale composition. Its dissolving power could be significantly increased with both ammonium chloride and chelating agents. The synergistic effect of ammonium chloride was largely attributed to pH decrease. As a result, the corrosivity of THPS solution to metallurgy was increased with the addition of ammonium chloride. The corrosion rate of mild steel was increased over three times with 4% ammonium chloride added. Contrary to previous reports, phosphonate additives decreased scale dissolution and induced new precipitation. Formation of calcium sulfate precipitates was also observed during dissolution of calcite, which will limit the THPS from scales containing calcium carbonate. This study also revealed the dissolution behavior of different minerals in the THPS solution. Iron oxyhydroxides had the highest dissolution rate, followed by calcite, siderite and pyrrhotite. Pyrite, marcasite and anhydrite were almost insoluble in the tested solutions. Results from this study can be used as guideline for the development and design of THPS based scale dissolvers.

Keywords: iron sulfide, iron scale, scale dissolver, THPS, gas well

Int. J. Corros. Scale Inhib., , 4, no. 3, 235-254 PDF (1 222 K)
doi: 10.17675/2305-6894-2015-4-3-235-254

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