Commercial SWDs

How Microbes Beat Chemicals at Removing Scale & Corrosion in SWDs

How much money are you spending with chemicals, trying to stay ahead of scale and corrosion in your saltwater disposal wells? And how much down time are you dealing with during hot oiling and other workovers?

SWD downtime and scale-based flow reductions/back pressure increases can affect production, costing you even more in lost revenue on top of workover expenses. On top of that, how’s your ESG score with all those chemicals flowing?

Most producers I talk to answer those with, “too much” and “too long.” Then they ask, “Do you have a better way?” We do. We have several million friends we can call on who literally eat scale for breakfast. And lunch. You get the picture. JGL’s Solution involves injecting specially curated microbes into the tanks or flowlines---microbes that are classified as ‘facultative anaerobic microorganisms,’ meaning they can utilize aerobic or anaerobic pathways for their metabolism. This unique property makes them perfect for attacking both scale and corrosion downhole. 

Determining Your Microbial Treatment Plan and Goals

Before we explain why that’s perfect, let’s back up and talk about how we start the process. First, we test water samples to see what’s causing the scale. We also interview site personnel for a history of flow rates, workovers, and previous remediation plans. Prime scale suspects are TDS substances like iron sulfide and other iron compounds, calcium carbonate, barium sulfate and strontium sulfate. Sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRBs) are also high on the list.

Once we’ve determined what we’re after, we formulate the exact microbe mix to address the system specific problems, injecting them at a rate of one million cells per milliliter of fluid at all times. We do regular testing to evaluate the results and make adjustments as needed.


Corrosion and Scale Remediation

Here’s how they work: The microbes start by using up the available oxygen while working on scale deposits. In this way they compete for both food and oxygen with SRBs and any other harmful aerobic bacteria. Once the oxygen is gone, three good things happen:

  1. The harmful bacteria die, giving our microbes free rein
  2. Our microbes keep working just the same as before, now utilizing the anaerobic pathways
  3. The lack of oxygen reduces or eliminates the formation of corrosion, considering dissolved oxygen is a key component in the formation of corrosion

Microbes reduce scale by chelating the cations, which keeps them from depositing on the inside of the flowlines, tanks and pumps. They also creates barrier protection—all of which give existing scale the opportunity to dissolve.Dissolving the existing scale is a process that can take a few months, depending on the type and severity. During that time, inline filters may actually catch more scale as it’s released from its strongholds. But soon the system will be clean. Field tests have shown increases in injection rates with reductions in back pressure, all of which improves operating efficiency every day. In many cases it eliminates or greatly reduces the need for workovers.

All of this happens at much less cost than for chemicals, especially when reductions in workover costs are figured into the equation.

Sustainability and ESG Reporting

Unlike most chemicals, our microbes are naturally-occurring and so harmless that regulatory agencies such as the Texas Railroad Commission find it unnecessary to track or regulate them. If there is a microbe spill onsite, we’ve actually seen the spill area spring to life with more lush plant growth than before.

JGL offers powerful, sustainable solutions that are cost-effective and can boost E&P operators ESG reporting. It truly checks all the boxes for today’s producers.

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Explore our most frequently asked questions.

FAQ Page

Is there a different microbe product for each issue I have?

There are different strains of microbes for different issues. JGL Microbes are able to blend into one treatment, tailor-made to your system.

Why use microbes instead of chemical?

Synthetic chemicals are man-made copies of naturally occurring chemicals in nature and are for the most part toxic and/or environmentally harmful to personnel, plants, animals, aquifers, etc. Microbes are more effective than chemical because of their biological process, they produce natural chemicals and by-products in situ making them much more effective for common oilfield applications.