Scale inhibitors are chemicals that cease or disrupt the nucleation of inorganic compounds, their precipitation, and later co-adherence to production conduit and facilities used in processing, key elements vulnerable to problems related to scaling. Performance of a scale inhibitor is influenced by magnesium and calcium ion levels, pH, temperature, and prevalence of other corrosive chemicals in brine mixtures generated during the process of oil and gas well drilling. The maximum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of a scale inhibitor is ideally 0.5 to 20 ppm. On the other hand, the maximum inhibitory concentration for high-temperature high-pressure fields, which have extreme scale problems, can be near or more than a few hundred ppm.
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Scale inhibitor chemicals used in the oil and gas industry are generally classified into phosphonates, carboxylate/acrylate, sulfonates, and others. The others segment comprises polymaleic acid, synthetic polymeric acid, polyaspartate, phosphinopolyacrylate, and carboxymethyl inulin.
The inhibitors for scaling in oilfields are usually injected continuously with the help of a capillary based on the location of scaling and extent of scaling risks. Otherwise, regular scale squeeze procedures may be needed so that the inhibitor reaches the reservoir ground if required, in certain cases, depending upon where the scaling exactly occurs.
Scale inhibitors can be used wherever a risk of scale damage is expected (or has occurred in the past). For instance, inhibitors are often used in drilling muds, completion brines, and processed water used for de-salting or removal of sand.
Techniques involved in scale-inhibitor squeeze treatments can occasionally lead to undesirable side effects. Some of the side-effects are upsets in process, deferred oil, long clean-up period, and chances of eventual reduction in oil production along with increase in water production. Other major side-effects include loss in the function and quality mainly of the brine, the oil, and squeeze chemicals.
Most of these problems can be avoided or at least minimized if possible with the help of laboratory testing in advance. The side effects stated above may prove to be major restraints for the oilfield scale inhibitors market in the next few years.
However, rise in need for scale inhibitors in the gas and oil industry as well as demand for scale inhibitors that are biodegradable are a few key factors expected to drive the oilfield scale inhibitors market during the forecast period.
The oilfield scale inhibitors market is expanding at a rapid pace. This expansion is prominent in regions such as Asia Pacific, Europe, North America, Middle East & Africa, and Latin America. North America is likely to dominate the global oilfield scale inhibitors market during the forecast period. However, among all regions, the oilfield scale inhibitors market in Middle East & Africa is expected to offer significant expansion opportunities. The region possesses numerous reserves of oil and gas and is a prominent oil-producing region. However, political unrest along with scarcity of efficient building facilities are projected to hamper oil and gas sector-related activities, especially in Africa.
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Global Oilfield Scale Inhibitors Market: Key Players
Few of the key players in the oilfield scale inhibitors market are GE Power & Water Process Technologies, AkzoNobel Oilfield Chemicals, Ashland Inc., BASF SE, Clariant AG, Halliburton Company, Kemira OYJ, Innospec Inc., Schlumberger Limited, Solvay S.A., Evonik Industries AG, The DOW Chemical Company, and Baker Hughes Incorporated.