The majority of chemical based solutions that the industry requires will fall into one or more of the following categories.  By having an understanding of WHY the chemical solution is required, a better overall solution is often achieved.

SOLUTIONS

FLUIDS CONDITIONING/SEPARATION

These chemicals tend to be a required expense for many producers because there is a basic need to remove unwanted impurities or toxic agents prior to selling the crude oil or natural gas products to the markets, which have highly specific specifications at the point of sale. In other words, these types of chemicals are often a “cost of doing business” because the use of these products helps protects the customer’s own ability to earn and even maximize the revenue.

The following product lines fall into this category:

  •     •  Emulsion Breakers
  •     •  Water Clarifiers
  •     •  Hydrogen Sulfide Scavengers
  •     •  Oxygen Scavengers

FLOW ASSURANCE SOLUTIONS

These chemicals can be considered an “optional” expense but in reality, are often critically important to the cost effective operation of a production facility. Many wells and gathering systems will become very restricted or even completely plugged if flow assurance programs are not developed and maintained. In some cases, mechanical or thermal methods may be used in place of chemicals to maintain or re-establish product flow, but with inherent risks to safety and unplanned downtime. There are also situations where mixtures of mechanical, thermal, and chemical technologies collaborate to provide the most cost effective long term solutions.  Restrictions in gathering systems can have a large, negative impact on productivity and profitability.

The following chemical product lines fall into this category:

  •     •  Paraffin / Asphaltene Prevention
  •     •  Paraffin / Asphaltene Removal
  •     •  Scale Inhibitors
  •     •  Hydrate Inhibitors
  •     •  Salt Inhibitors
  •     •  Anti-foulants

ASSET INTEGRITY SOLUTIONS

These chemical solutions can be considered necessary or optional, dependent upon the nature of the production and the risk management principles of each client. The large capital cost of production wells, gathering systems, and processing equipment makes protection of assets versus replacement, a highly logical choice in most cases. In cases where toxic materials such as H2S and produced water are both present, producers must employ a due diligence approach to reduce the potential of harm to the public and environment through accidental releases due to internal corrosion. Corrosion inhibitors, when designed and deployed correctly, are well documented to reduce the rates of internal corrosion attack by greater than 95%.

The following product lines fall into this category:

  •     •  Corrosion Inhibitors
  •     •  Micro-Biocides**
  •     •  Oxygen Scavengers**

** Can also be categorized within fluids conditioning – depending on actual use

 

The reason it is important to categorize the various product lines is because the producer can gain the most value from each application by understanding WHY each product is being purchased.

In the first two categories, the chemical product is being used to protect the revenue stream of the producer by (1) separating waste products from saleable products, and (2) to maximize the daily output of saleable products by maintaining efficient transport of production from the reservoir to the sales point.

The third class of products is typically purchased using a cost avoidance justification. For example, a producer may choose to add inhibitor to a well tubing string at a cost of $300/month or allow the well to produce naturally until it fails and then repair the production string, potentially at a cost of $20,000 or much higher. Both strategies can be cost effective and the lowest cost strategy is often highly dependent upon the nature of the production itself and the design and failure frequency of the system. Given the industry trend of deeper wells and more aggressive reservoir conditions, the use of asset integrity chemicals is increasingly becoming a preferable, cost effective option compared to repair work.

The underlying reason for chemical purchases should dictate the communication and value added services that are provided. In all cases, a well performing product is critical to success, however in the latter cases, increased levels of communication is critical to ensuring our customers recognize the benefits of the expense – which at times can be less than obvious without such communication.