Production Chemistry

Production Chemistry

Posted: December 11, 2017

For those unfamiliar with the term ‘production chemistry’, it can be summed up as:

“The management of the chemical reaction of produced fluids from reservoir to refinery with the potential to impact numerous different departments and disciplines, including HSE, Process, Integrity, Commercial and Production Operations.”

The main objective of the production chemistry function is to ensure that production chemical and laboratory management is conducted as smoothly as possible to maintain robust chemistry applications whilst providing business solutions to the company.

This can be achieved through good project and programme management, monitoring and managing the processes with the following objectives:

  • Flow assurance – achieving unrestricted flow of fluids in the reservoir, wells, pipeline, and process facilities
  • Integrity management – ensuring the integrity of the wells, pipelines, and process facility is not compromised
  • Quality product – the oil, gas, and water streams must meet the required export, discharge, and emission specifications/regulations

Indeed, there is potential to reduce the impact of production chemistry issues with a well-designed infrastructure; however, to ensure a proper review of risks, and understanding of the hazard and potential, the Front End Production Chemistry (FEPC) design should consider the following areas:

  • Management of gas and liquid sampling and analysis – the sample needs to be representative, free of contamination and adequately sampled, preserved and analysed
  • Monitoring of process fluids and data – this includes pressure, temperature, gas composition, chemical delivery and residuals, water analysis, corrosion coupons, bio-coupons and online probes
  • Modelling of system dynamics – based on chemistry data and process conditions, this requires looking at wax and asphaltenes deposition studies, reservoir souring, hydrate phase diagram, scaling potential and so on
  • Many different chemical dosing system requirements – pumps, rates, pressures, location, quills, tanks, system design

There may be a number of design and engineering options that provide potential solutions to many of these production chemistry operational issues. Ultimately, these should be considered during the early stages of selection and include:

  • Routine pigging of flowlines to help minimise flow assurance issues
  • Optimising vessel performance/size to improve separation of phases
  • Utilising production rates to manage temperature and depositions of solids
  • Deaeration towers and vacuum assisted techniques to remove corrosive gases
  • Heating of the fluids entering the separation train to assist with emulsion and separation issues
  • Insulation of the pipeline and process equipment to retain the heat and delay the formation of hydrates and waxes
  • Use of electrostatic coalescers, hydrocyclones and coalescence filtration techniques for improved clean-up techniques

However, due to the unpredictable nature of the oil and gas fluids, as well as changes in process conditions and production rates, it is essential that the production chemist still has access to suitably designed chemical injection systems and sample locations that allow for the required actions to be taken to manage, monitor and address any issues, which would not otherwise be able to be fully resolved through engineering options.

Throughout the life of field, the production chemistry department must be able to operate effectively. There are a number of operational aspects that need to be taken into consideration to ensure there are robust chemistry applications and business solutions in place.

Given the chemistry of the produced phases can have a significant impact on various parameters, it is only through robust chemistry applications and business solutions that these effects can be minimised.


Inevitably, most production facilities will experience these chemistry related problems in one form or another, and these can occur for a number of reasons, including:

  • Lack of representative data to conduct a meaningful review
  • Budget constraints and/or lack of priority to address from outset
  • Lack of awareness and/or detailed understanding of potential impact

Management of production chemistry, therefore, should consider working to a performance management lifecycle that:

  • Allows for successful trouble shooting and optimisation of operations
  • Obtains a clear and concise understanding of the process environment
  • Minimises risks that could affect personnel, environment, assets and reputations

All of the above must also be linked to complying with procedures, statutory regulation and legislation.

For more information about Production Chemistry, please contact Richard at

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