The FAST Group has established a solid track record with our oil and gas industry sponsors from the results of our applied research into the formation of mineral scale. Scale creates formation damage (restriction / blockage within the rock matrix) and blockage of the production tubing, causing a detrimental effect to the productivity and safety of the oil well and surface facilities. Industrial sponsorship of this research began in 1981, and since then over 50 companies have funded over £15 million of research through more than ten phases of the Joint Industry Project (JIP), in addition to Research Council and one-to-one project funding. The expertise developed over this period has been extended and applied to study Chemical Enhanced Oil Recovery (C-EOR) processes.
FAST’s extensive research is conducted by an established team of experts and a continuously renewing group of research students, using in house and commercial software, state-of-the-art analytical equipment and five highly specialized laboratories; this includes custom-built equipment. The deliverables over the years have included many hundreds of report sections, dozens of theses and the world leading SQUEEZE software.
“We use the most recently updated version of the SQUEEZE modelling software to plan all the scale inhibitor squeeze operations that we manage for our clients. Across the global organization this equates to approximately 300 squeezes per year and protects over 500,000,000 barrels of produced water resulting in many billions of dollars of protected oil production.”Company A
We maintain good communication channels with our industry sponsors and collaborative partners through regular steering group meetings, training and workshop events, personal discussions, consultancy and conferences. Our research is published in key technical journals; we produce approximately 15-20 technical papers annually. The research is independent, of the highest academic quality, undergoes continuous academic and industrial peer review, and is very much focused on addressing immediate industry needs.
“…use the latest version of the SQUEEZE software for all our squeeze designs, which annually numbers approximately 250 squeeze treatments. Along with our current customer contracts we are required by operators to demonstrate expertise in the use of the SQUEEZE software in tendering for chemical squeeze business. In the past 12 months [Company B] has been able to secure contracts worth over $3,000,000 based on our ability to use the current version of this software.”Company B
The research is carried out by two principal means:
- The FAST JIP, which leverages sponsor income over three year phases, with gearing of up to 1:25, with results disseminated equally amongst all sponsors, and with arising Intellectual Property (IP) rights retained by the university;
- the FAST Research and Consultancy (FASTrac) activity, which is a series of bespoke one-to-one research projects, training, consultancy and equipment manufacture, where arising IP rights are assigned to the funder and results may be treated as commercial in confidence.
Areas of Expertise
The foundation of complex research begins with a routine scale inhibitor evaluation: compatibility and thermal stability tests; static BaSO4 inhibition efficiency tests; dynamic BaSO4 / CaCO3 “tube blocking” inhibition efficiency tests; and formation damage and inhibitor retention core flood tests. This process facilitates a reduced number of scale inhibitors to proceed onto further compelling areas of research, such as the mechanisms of inhibition, the impact of brine composition on functionality and retention, and optimal application. Thermodynamic models are developed and applied to predict brine and mineral interactions, and the impact of CO2, H2S, pH, pressure and temperature. Reactive transport models are developed and used to simulate fluid flow and interactions in the reservoir, and our in house SQUEEZE model is used worldwide for thousands of scale inhibitor squeeze design calculations.
A Production Chemistry Team Lead at Company C commented that “Scale management is a key activity to protect baseline production and is a high priority in planning of new projects in our company. HWU research that has been undertaken over the past decade is used both theoretically and practically to optimise squeeze designs, introduce new chemical technologies and meet the ongoing challenges of maximising production …. It is worthy of mention that HWU equally have worked with our company on a 1:1 basis of real time advice which additionally allows the researchers to keep abreast of the operational challenges facing the industry. [Company C] has some fifty four wells under active scale squeeze management protecting 36,798 barrels of oil production per day. This production typically equates to a significant portion of the company’s annual production and revenue.”
A Production Chemist at Company D indicated that they have used the SQUEEZE software to go from a treatment every six months to a treatment every 12 months in three of their fields, saving £3M per well per annum.
“FASTrac has made a significant contribution to the fundamental understanding of the mechanism by which Low Salinity Water Flooding increases oil recovery. Without such understanding and contribution from (FASTrac), we would not be in a position to change the Water Flood strategy to a default base case position of Low Salinity Water Flooding.”Company E
New sponsors are welcome to join at any stage of the project, subject to them agreeing the same general terms and conditions as existing sponsors. Companies or individuals interested in receiving further information should contact Heather O’Hara, and those wishing to discuss the project should contact: Eric Mackay or Ken Sorbie.
The FAST 7 JIP (April 2019 to March 2022) is currently underway, and contracts with various companies have been finalised, with others in process.
The following 15 companies have signed contracts for the FAST7 JIP:
Aker BP, Baker Hughes, ChampionX, Chevron, Clariant, ConocoPhillips, Equinor, Halliburton, Pemex, Repsol Sinopec, Schlumberger, Shell, SNF, Winterhsall DEA, Vedanta (Cairn).