Global Scale Inhibitors Market: Overview
Scale inhibition is a chemical treatment used to control or prevent scale deposition in the production conduit or completion system. Scale-inhibitors may be continuously injected through a downhole injection point or periodic squeeze treatments may be undertaken to place the inhibitor in the reservoir matrix for subsequent blending with produced fluids. Some scale-inhibitor systems integrate scale inhibitors and fracture treatments into one step, which guarantees that the entire well is treated with scale inhibitor.
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In this type of treatment, a high-efficiency scale inhibitor is pumped into the matrix surrounding the fracture face during leakoff. It adsorbs to the matrix during pumping until the fracture begins to produce water. As water passes through the inhibitor-adsorbed zone, it dissolves sufficient inhibitor to prevent scale deposition. The inhibitor is better placed than in a conventional scale-inhibitor squeeze, which reduces the retreatment cost and improves production.
Scale occurs because the minerals in produced water exceed their saturation limit as temperatures and pressures change. Scale can vary in appearance from hard crystalline material to soft, friable material and the deposits can contain other minerals and impurities such as paraffin, salt and iron. When energy is applied to hard water, the minerals can drop out of the solution and settle on surfaces forming scale. This deposition creates major problems for food service operators such with ice, coffee, espresso, steam and warewashing equipment. Mineral scale can clog tubing and small orifices, coat heating and cooling elements, and result in increased detergent usage.
Scale also causes reduced energy transfer and efficiency loss, resulting in increased energy demands for cooling or heating, and increased operating costs. Scale inhibitors are used to prevent this deposition. There are various types of scale inhibitors. An electrolytic scale inhibitor has two metals inside it, usually copper and zinc. In the presence of water, the two metals produce an electrical cell. The electrical charge and some new zinc ions in the water cause the hard water (calcium and magnesium ions) which forms scale to cling together in a different crystal form which is less likely to stick to pipes or other surfaces.
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Global Scale Inhibitors Market: Trends and Opportunities
The increasing use of scale inhibitors for water treatment applications has been the key driver for the market. In addition, the demand from oil & gas industry is anticipated to fuel the growth of the scale inhibitor market over the next few years. The water treatment industry in China and Western Europe employ scale inhibitors in order to treat water. The scale inhibitors which exhibit very little reactivity with water purification chemicals are used in the water treatment industry.
Additionally, the thriving oil & gas industry across the globe makes use of scale inhibitors extensively. The pipelines required for the oil & gas transportation from rigs to refineries must be of the highest quality in order to prevent spillage of crude oil. Scale formation in these pipelines weakens the pipes owing to which cracks and fissures develop on their surfaces. Scale inhibitors are used to maintain the quality of these pipes.
China, Western Europe and Latin America are some of the largest consumers of scale inhibitors. In the U.S. and Europe certain variants of scale inhibitors use chemicals owing to the environmental harm they cause. However, the flourishing oil & gas industry in North America coupled with the ongoing shale gas exploration makes extensive use of scale inhibitors for the maintenance of pipelines. Furthermore, the growing industrialization in Latin America is expected to drive the market of scale inhibitors within the forecast period. Other industries such as refineries, chemical processing, lubricants, metal processing & metal working industries are also expected to contribute to the growth of this market.
The key players in the scale inhibitors market are Ashland Inc, AkzoNobel, GE Water and Process Technologies, Solutia Inc, BASF SE, Dai-Ichi Karkaria Ltd, Cortec Corporation, Dow Chemical Co, Ecolab and Henkel among others.