FASTThe Flow Assurance And Scale Team (FAST) is a partnership between Heriot-Watt University and the University of Leeds. FAST has established a solid track record with oil and gas industry sponsors from the results of applied research into the formation of mineral scale.

Scale creates formation damage (restriction / blockage within the rock matrix) and blockage of the production tubing, causing a detrimental effect to the productivity and safety of the oil well and surface facilities. Industrial sponsorship of this research began in 1981, and since then over 50 companies have funded over £15 million of research through more than ten phases of the Joint Industry Project (JIP), in addition to Research Council and one-to-one project funding. The expertise developed over this period has been extended and applied to study Chemical Enhanced Oil Recovery (C-EOR) processes.

FAST's extensive research is carried out by two principal means:

  • The Flow Assurance and Scale Team Joint Industry Project – Phase 6 (FAST6): 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2019, which leverages sponsor income over three year phases, with gearing of up to 1:25, with results disseminated equally amongst all sponsors, and with arising Intellectual Property (IP) rights retained by the university (;
  • The FAST Research and Consultancy (FASTrac) activity, which is a series of bespoke one-to-one research projects, training, consultancy and equipment manufacture, where arising IP rights are assigned to the funder and results may be treated as commercial in confidence.

Areas of Expertise

The foundation of complex research begins with a routine scale inhibitor evaluation:

  • compatibility and thermal stability tests;
  • static BaSO4 inhibition efficiency tests;
  • dynamic BaSO4 CaSO4 "tube blocking" inhibition efficiency tests;
  • and formation damage and inhibitor retention core flood tests.

This process facilitates a reduced number of scale inhibitors to proceed onto further compelling areas of research, such as the mechanisms of inhibition, the impact of brine composition on functionality and retention, and optimal application. Thermodynamic models are developed and applied to predict brine and mineral interactions, and the impact of CO2, H2S, pH, pressure and temperature. Reactive transport models are developed and used to simulate fluid flow and interactions in the reservoir, and our in house SQUEEZE model is used worldwide for thousands of scale inhibitor squeeze design calculations.

Research Impact

FAST's deliverables over the years have included many hundreds of report sections, dozens of theses and the world leading SQUEEZE software that enables companies to plan the best scale-inhibiting treatment from project outset. SQUEEZE has become the industry standard for planning scale-inhibiting treatment

Learn more about our research impact.


Our research is conducted using in house and commercial software, state-of-the-art analytical equipment and five highly specialized laboratories; this includes custom-built equipment.

Energi Simulation Chair in Reactive Flow Simulation

Energi Simulation is a not-for profit foundation, formerly known as Foundation CMG, which promotes and financially supports R&D and students through research grants and university chair programmes. Energi Simulation supports a major research programme at the Institute of Petroleum Engineering, which is operated by Professor Eric Mackay and by Professor Sebastian Geiger.

This highly interdisciplinary and international research programme tackles major technical challenges related to the sustainable, secure, and efficient production of hydrocarbons. The research involves over 25 PhD students, over 20 MSc students, and several research associates, thanks to significant financial support from Energi Simulation and a wide range of operating and service companies.