During hydrocarbon production, there is several different chemical or blends of chemicals used to help to achieve the most efficient and effective production, both from a technical and commercial standpoint. The critical reasons as to why chemicals are used during oil and gas production process are 1) avoid/prevent waxing; 2) Deposition of scale, hydrates and asphaltenes 3) Prevent or deal with corrosion issues and 4) Prevent or deal with bacteria issues.
Generally, the formulation of production chemicals consists of 1-3 major components with some other additives. Very often, the final blend and composition will depend on field condition, and sometimes can even vary within the same field, depending on several variables and operating / reservoir conditions.
All those chemicals and blends generally called production chemicals and could be divided into major groups, based on function and/or outcomes required.
- Asphaltene dispersants / control agents used to minimize the risk ( almost impossible to eliminate this risk 100%) of precipitation of asphaltenes at various stages of production and transportation of crude oil. Deposition of asphaltenes may result in blockage of pipelines and downhole production equipment and damage to reservoirs.
- Corrosion Inhibitors obstruct corrosion risk to downhole equipment and surface/plant piping system, from hydrogen sulfide, carbon dioxide and oxygen
- Defoamers / Anti foam agents are used to prevent or break the foaming process caused by gases being out of crude oil.
- Demulsifiers / Emulsion Breakers are used to treat the issues of water-in-oil emulsions.
- Paraffin Inhibitors obstruct the risk of and build-up and deposition of wax in the downhole equipment and surface/plant piping system.
- Wetting Agents - are Surfactant substances that help to ease the surface tension of water and the ratio of oil and water. This, in turn, allows improves the spreading abilities of a liquid.
- Biocides are used for various purposes, such as prevention/dealing of bacteria and micro-organisms that in turn, can cause broader issues.
- Scale inhibitors are used to control or prevent deposition scale in the downhole equipment and surface/plant piping system
- Hydrate Inhibitors are used to prevent/control the formation of hydrates during the production of natural gas, that in turn may cause plugs and blockage. Those chemicals include methanal, glycol, ethanol and kinetic inhibitors.
- Oxygen Scavengers obstruct corrosion risk to downhole equipment and surface/plant piping system, as a result of dissolved oxygen.