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This paper reviews the chemicals used to help control many operating problems encountered in U.S. offshore oil and gas production. The discussions covers the production treating chemicals, gas processing chemicals, and stimulation and workover chemicals. A brief discussion of each chemical group presents its purpose, solubility properties, primary generic chemical types, and typical use concentrations. Acute aquatic toxicity and solubility information provided by the chemical suppliers is presented for the production treating chemicals, including biocides, scale and corrosion inhibitors, emulsion breakers, etc. Aquatic toxicity data for the gas processing chemicals (methanol, glycols) was primarily obtained from the literature.
A portion of these chemicals will dissolve in the produced water, with the remainder going with the oil. Most of the water produced with oil and gas in offshore operations in the U.S. is treated to remove dispersed oil and grease, then discharged to the sea. The discussion on environmental aspects summarizes information on the aquatic toxicity, solubility, and typical treatment and discharge concentrations for chemicals used for each purpose. Actual environmental impact must include site specific factors, such as water depth, current, temperature, etc., which are outside the scope of this paper.
oilfield, offshore, treating chemicals, pollution, acute aquatic toxicity
President, Petrotech Consultants Inc., Houston, TX