Production chemistry is a discipline in the oil/gas industry that deals with issues that occur as a result of the chemical and physical changes[1] in the overall oil/gas production and processing systems (including enhanced oil recovery), especially changes to the well stream fluids as they are transported from the reservoir to the sale's point.

Production chemistry scope

Production chemistry[2] is one of the most promiscuous disciplines in the oil/gas industry. Its areas of influence start from the reservoir, to wells, flowlines, processing facilities, and sale's point. On a project life cycle perspective, it enters the project during early design phase and stays until the field reaches the end of its life and the production system is decommissioned[3].

In general, production chemistry issues include the following types:

  • Problems with solid precipitation and deposition - asphaltenes,scales,wax, gas hydrates, naphthenates, bio-growth, etc.
  • Problems with facility processing - foaming, emulsion, water quality (including injection water quality in case of waterflood), hydrogen sulfide, etc.
  • Problems with material integrity - material corrosion from production fluids, microbial activities, artificially introduced fluids (completion fluids, chemicals, etc.)
  • Problems with HSSE - water discharge, toxicity, radio-active scales, H2S, etc.

Risk characterization

Before any treatment can be applied, it is vital to conduct a proper and thorough investigation of the problems and their root causes and any implications of the recommended treatments[4]. A good facility design and correct choice of materials can significantly reduced production chemistry issues later in field life. To do a proper risk characterization, the following measures are often necessary:

  • Proper fluid sampling and analysis - the sample needs to be representative, free of contamination, and properly sampled/preserved/handled/analyzed.
  • Surveillance - pressure, temperature, chemical residuals, water analysis, corrosion coupons, bio-coupons, online probes, etc.
  • Modeling - hydrate phase diagram, scaling potential, etc.

Production chemistry solutions

The solutions to production chemistry issues can be mechanical or chemical.


Examples: insulation, pigging, use corrosion resistant alloys, proper separator sizing, etc.


Examples: scale inhibitor, asphaltene inhibitor, paraffin inhibitor, demulsifier, defoamer, water clarifier, H2S scavenger, corrosion inhibitor, hydrate inhibitor, biocide etc.


  1. A. Carroll and J. Clemens, BP; K. Stevens, Shell Intl. E&P, Inc.; and R. Berger, Manatee Inc., "Flow Assurance and Production Chemistry for the Na Kika Development", Offshore Technology Conference, 2 May-5 May 2005, Houston, Texas
  2. Malcolm A. Kelland, Production chemicals for the oil and gas industry, CRC Press, 2009
  3. I. Lakatos and J. Lakatos-Szabo, Research Institute of Applied Chemistry, University of Miskalc, and Research Group of Earth Sciences,, "Age of Chemistry In Production of Conventional And Unconventional Hydrocarbons", 19th World Petroleum Congress, June 29 - July 3, 2008 , Madrid, Spain
  4. D.L. Gallup, Unocal Corp.; P.C. Smith, Oil Plus Ltd.; J.F. Star, Unocal Indonesia Co.; S. Hamilton, Unocal Makassar Ltd., "West Seno Deepwater Development Case History - Production Chemistry", SPE International Symposium on Oilfield Chemistry, 2-4 February 2005, The Woodlands, Texas