scale | Energy Glossary

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1. n. []

A deposit or coating formed on the surface of metal, rock or other material. Scale is caused by a precipitation due to a chemical reaction with the surface, precipitation caused by chemical reactions, a change in pressure or temperature, or a change in the composition of a solution. The term is also applied to a corrosion product. Typical scales are calcium carbonate, calcium sulfate, barium sulfate, strontium sulfate, iron sulfide, iron oxides, iron carbonate, the various silicates and phosphates and oxides, or any of a number of compounds insoluble or slightly soluble in water.

See: calcium carbonatecalcium sulfatecarbonate ionformation damagegypsumiron sulfideprecipitationsaturated solution

2. n. []

A mineral salt deposit that may occur on wellbore tubulars and components as the saturation of produced water is affected by changing temperature and pressure conditions in the production conduit. In severe conditions, scale creates a significant restriction, or even a plug, in the production tubing. Scale removal is a common well-intervention operation, with a wide range of mechanical, chemical and scale inhibitor treatment options available.

3. n. []

A mineral deposit that can occur in the tubing, the gravel pack, the perforations or the formation. Scale deposition occurs when the solution equilibrium of the water is disturbed by pressure and temperature changes, dissolved gases or incompatibility between mixing waters. Scale deposits are the most common and most troublesome damage problems in the oil field and can occur in both production and injection wells. All waters used in well operations can be potential sources of scale, including water used in waterflood operations and filtrate from completion, workover or treating fluids. Therefore, reduction of scale deposition is directly related to reduction of bad water production.

See: acid washscale removalwater control