RDTS Webinar on Flow Assurance and Oilfield Scale

A web broadcast in the SPE Webinar Series will take place on the subject of Flow Assurance and Oilfield Scale on Wednesday 17th November 2010 at 8:30 am (Central Standard Time). The presenters will be Dr. Hartley Downs of Baker Hughes and Professor Ken Sorbie of Heriot-Watt University. In the first presentation, Hartley will give an overview and general context of Flow Assurance issues and will present background basics and recent challenges in the management of waxes, asphaltenes and hydrates. Ken will then provide a second presentation on the prediction and prevention of conventional and “exotic” oilfield mineral scales and naphthenate deposits. Each presentation will be approximately 30 minutes. Following the two presentations, the webinar will be opened to participants to ask questions.



Hartley Downs, Baker Hughes, Houston, Texas, U.S.A.

Developing deepwater fields requires substantial investment. The cost for a complete development can approach $4 billion. A deepwater well can cost as much as $100 million to drill and complete and, if intervention is required, day rates for rigs can cost $500,000/day. The high capital costs for deepwater developments, the high interventional costs for remediating deepwater systems, and the potential economic impacts of deferred production make the flow assurance strategy an essential centerpiece of the field development plan. The goal of every flow assurance strategy is to characterize and manage the risks that can adversely affect production; the main risks are from deposition of solids in the wellbore and flowlines due to gas hydrates, waxes, asphaltenes, mineral scale, and naphthenates. In the first of two webinar presentations, current practices for modeling, preventing and remediating gas hydrate, paraffin and asphaltene deposits will be presented. We will review the advantages and limitations of existing technologies and discuss technology gaps and needs. Finally, emerging technologies aimed at addressing these challenges will be presented.


Ken Sorbie, Institute of Petroleum Engineering, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, Scotland, U.K.

Mineral scale may be deposited in the oilfield both downhole and in topside equipment throughout the lifetime of an oil/water production system. In this webinar, we will describe the types of mineral scale that are formed and why these occur chemically. The most common mineral scales formed from produced waters are calcium carbonate (CaCO3) and barium sulphate (BaSO4). We will discuss how these scales form and we will also consider more-exotic scales such as FeS, ZnS and PbS, although these are now observed in many production systems. Although the oil industry has been managing mineral scales for more than 50 years – by applying chemical scale inhibitors and other technologies – there are still a number of challenges that face the industry. As we move to more difficult reservoir developments (e.g., in deep water, using subsea systems, in more complex horizontal wells, in HP/HT/HS (high salinity) reservoirs) we are faced with additional nonconventional scale challenges. Some of these new challenges will be reviewed and approaches to their solution will be discussed in terms of developing new chemicals, equipment, fluid handling techniques, new understanding, etc. Some additional comments will also be made on the more recent problem of naphthenate “scale” deposition and its prevention.


Hartley Downs, Baker Hughes, Houston, Texas USA
Hartley Downs is a technology fellow with Baker Hughes. After completing his doctoral degree in chemistry at West Virginia University and the University of Colorado, Hartley conducted postdoctoral research in organometallic chemistry at the University of Southern California. He has more than 30 years of industrial experience in the oil industry, firstly with Exxon Mobil, where his research centered on ASP flooding and mobility control for miscible recovery and, since 1986, at Baker Hughes. Prior to being named Baker Hughes Technology Fellow in 2009, Hartley held various research and management positions, including Director of Worldwide Oilfield Operations and Director of Research and Development for the chemicals business segment of Baker Hughes. Hartley’s research interests in flow assurance focus on management of risk associated with production of gas hydrates, wax, asphaltenes and mineral scale. Dr. Downs is the author of more than 30 scientific publications and patents. He is recipient of the Sigma Xi Award for Research, the Union Carbide Teaching Award, the Stan Gillman Teaching Award, and Baker Hughes New Technology and Technical Merit Awards. Hartley has chaired numerous NACE International Technical Committees, collaborated with industry groups to publish testing standards and state-of-the-art reviews and has also chaired several NACE International symposia on Mineral Scale Deposit Control and Microbiologically Influenced Corrosion. He served on the Organizing Committees and Chaired SPE Workshops on Emerging Technology and Nanotechnology.

Ken Sorbie, IPE, Heriot-Watt U., U.K.
Ken Sorbie is a professor at the Institute of Petroleum Engineering at Heriot-Watt University. He has a first degree in chemistry from Strathclyde University and a DPhil in theoretical chemistry/applied mathematics from the University of Sussex. Following this, he did a postdoc at Cambridge University working on theoretical aspects of semi-classical molecular quantum theory. He has worked in oil related research for almost 30 years, firstly with the Department of Energy laboratory at AEE Winfrith where he led a group working on improved oil recovery, flow through porous media and reservoir simulation and, since 1988, at Heriot-Watt U. His current research is in oilfield chemistry and he is PI (along with Professor Anne Neville and Dr Eric Mackay) of the Flow Assurance and Scale Team (FAST) joint industry project (JIP). This £2 million FAST project is sponsored by an industrial consortium of about 20 companies and was first launched as a JIP by Ken in 1989. Ken also has other projects on multiphase flow in porous media, funded by a number of industrial companies. He has published more than 250 technical papers on his research (all are downloadable in pdf format from www.pet.hw.ac.uk) and a book on polymer flooding. Ken has also consulted widely in the oil industry for more than 30 industrial companies and is a regular visitor to Companies and Research Institutes in Brazil, Malaysia, Russia, Italy, Norway and the US. He was a Society of Petroleum Engineering (SPE) Distinguished Lecturer in 2000–2001 and is an elected member of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. Ken has been awarded the Society of Core Analysts (SCA) 2004 Technical Achievement award that he collected in Abu Dhabi in October 2004. He also received the “EOR Pioneer” Award from the SPE at the 2008 SPE/DOE Enhanced Oil Recovery Conference in Tulsa, OK, in April 2008. Ken has been invited to serve as a Visiting Professor at the University of Bergen in Norway and was appointed in 2010 as a Visiting Professor at the China University of Petroleum at Qindao, China.

Calling Instructions

Please take a note of the following information which you will need to join the conference:

The Conference Name is R&D Technical Section Live Webinar.
Date: Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Time: 8:30 am, Central Standard Time (Chicago, GMT-05:00)
Your Conferee Pass Code is 562558

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Webinar Instructions

Topic: R&D Technical Section Live Webinar
Date: Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Time: 8:30 am, Central Standard Time (Chicago, GMT-05:00)
Meeting Password: Webinar1

To start the online meeting

Go to https://spe.webex.com/spe/j.php?ED=141237062&UID=479802142&PW=NZjQ1ZmE5YzNj&RT=MiM3
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