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July 7, 2015

The technical paper "MIC related coiled tubing failures and equipment damage", written by Trican employees Scott Sherman, Sarkis Kakadjian and Duane Brownlee, has been published in the July edition of the Journal of Petroleum Technology magazine (subscription required).

Microbial influenced corrosion (MIC) is any type of corrosion where microorganisms play a role in the corrosion. MIC is an industry-wide problem directly linked to the increased use of recycled frac water from shale fracs. In an effort to reduce fresh water usage, the majority of the work in North America involves circulating recycled frac water from shale wells.

Rather than “eat” the steel, the bacteria attach themselves to the surface of the metal and form a localized corrosive environment. You can compare it with tooth decay, where acid-producing bacteria convert sugars into acid. The acid is what then decomposes the tooth enamel. In a well, the bacteria generate acids, which rapidly corrode the steel. Provided with the right conditions, the bacteria can form a biofilm (protective layer) and can continue to thrive, even during pumping operations.

What is Trican doing about this? We have developed and implemented an MIC-prevention strategy for coiled tubing. Testing led to the discovery of a strategy that includes an oxidizer, mechanical scraper (pig), biocide, and a nitrogen purge in an inert environment. This resulted in 100% bacteria kill and stopped corrosion.

This discovery has established Trican as a world leader in the understanding of this industry-wide problem. We have applied for patent protection on our MIC-mitigation strategies. Trican presented its findings at a Calgary SPE Technical Forum in 2014, and will be taking a lead role in a Joint Industry Program (JIP) on this topic.

Find out more in our two technical papers, and their abstracts here: SPE 173658 and IPTC 18032