Oilfield Production Chemistry (MLJ560)

The course will teach about the chemical processes, chemical problems and chemical treatments that are used in the production phase of oil and gas fields, both onland and offshore. This includes some downhole stimulation methods, flow assurance issues in the well and flow lines and processing problems. Environmental issues will also be discussed.

Course description for study year 2022-2023


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The course provides an introduction to the production phase of an oil or gas field see from a chemical perspective. Often, the unsung heroes of the petroleum industry, the production chemists and engineers are the technologists that keep the oil and gas flowing.

The topics within the curriculum include:

Production well and stimulation methods - acidising and scale removal, water and gas shut-off, chemical sand control, liquid unloading of wells, asphaltene and scale control (including squeeze treatments, downhole injection etc.)

Water injection chemicals - biocides, oxygen scavengers, desulphation, tracers, water-based drag reducers, IOR chemicals.

Flow assurance issues - corrosion, microbiological problems, H2S scavenging, wax/paraffin, gas hydrates, scaling, naphthenates. Integration with reservoir management, HPHT, subsea tie-backs, chemical injection, wintering.

Processing chemicals - demulsifiers, flocculants, defoamers

Environmental and health issues - ecotoxicological tests and interpretations, OSPARCOM, HOCNF, HMS on platforms, human hazard coding, heavy metals.

Other topics: drag reduction, heavy oil, hydrotesting. 

Learning outcome

The students will learn about the chemical processes, chemical problems and chemical treatments that are used in the production phase of oil and gas fields, both onland and offshore. This includes some downhole stimulation methods, flow assurance issues and processing problems. Environmental issues especially for offshore discharge limits are also included.

Required prerequisite knowledge

KJE100 Environmental Chemistry

The student must have taken and passed Chemistry and Environmental Science (KJE100) or equivalent subject.

Students must have a basic undertanding of the naming of inorganic compounds and organic chemicals (including aromaticity and basic functional groups in organic molecules), equilibrium, amounts of chemicals (moles, weight.%, ppm/ppb), redox reactions, solubility, acids/bases.  

Recommended prerequisites

KJE150 General Chemistry, KJE200 Organic Chemistry 1, KJE220 Inorganic Chemistry
It will be very useful to have some understanding of: 
  • kinetics and thermodynamics (part of General Chemistry course KJE150)
  • the structures and solution properties of polymers and surfactants
  • instrumental methods to analyse chemicals
  • the oil and gas industry in general (from drilling to production and on to the refinery)


Dissertation and oral exam

Form of assessment Weight Duration Marks Aid
Dissertation 1/2 Letter grades
Oral exam 1/2 Letter grades

Written work - a project report - on a theme related to the course. Mimimum 3000 words plus figures and references. The student can use recommended literature and other information. The student can propose a topic that he / she might like to write about (to be approved by the course leader), also from contacts made in the chemical and petroleum industry. 

Coursework requirements

Students are required to attend a minimum of 50% of all lectures, in order to be able to take the exam. 

Course teacher(s)

Course coordinator:

Malcolm Andrew Kelland

Head of Department:

Ingunn Westvik Jolma

Course teacher:

Roald Kommedal

Method of work

4 hours lectures (2 x 2) per week.

Open for

The course is available for master students in Biological Chemistry, Environmental Engineering and Petroleum Technology.

Other students may be accepted as long as they fulfill the admission requirements.

Course assessment

Usually by forms and/or discussion according to university regulations


The syllabus can be found in Leganto