Flow Assurance and Scale Team (FAST)

The course

Full-time, Part-time
Course type
Entry date



The Flow Assurance and Scale Team (FAST) is a group of over 25 academics, researchers, research students, technicians and support staff, based mainly at Heriot-Watt University and also at the University of Leeds.

FAST deliver research and consultancy, focusing primarily on the management of oilfield scale. Mineral scales such as barium sulphate (BaSO4) and calcium carbonate (CaCO3) can form in oil production wells (and in the reservoir) and this can lead to some severe and expensive production problems. One of the best approaches to managing oilfield scale is to apply chemical scale inhibitors which are a range of chemicals (organic phosphonates and polymeric materials) which can prevent the scale from forming. These scale inhibitors are sometimes injected into the near-well formation of the producer well in a so-called “squeeze” treatment. They are retained in the formation after the producer well comes back on stream by two main mechanisms, adsorption and precipitation. These processes can be simulated in reactive transport models and the group have developed the main model used in the industry, SQUEEZE; this code has been used to design 10s of thousands of scale inhibitor “squeeze” treatment in many oilfields around the world.

More information

All of our work is available to our sponsors on our FAST website where some general public information is also given.


Research projects

In addition to studying the fundamentals of scale inhibitor inhibition and retention mechanisms, the FAST group also works on many other topics. For example, we study “sour systems” (H2S containing) where sulphide scales such FeS (also ZnS and PbS) can form, we develop thermodynamic aqueous electrolyte prediction codes, we are studying the phase behaviour and use of mutual solvents (e.g. EGMBE) and we are carrying out geochemical analysis and reactive transport modelling using various industry and in-house software. The FAST group also has an extensive range of analytical, core flooding and chemical testing laboratories and it has a dedicated ATEC rated “sour” laboratory (for handling H2S).

The FAST group also work in several other research areas where brine-rock geochemical interactions are important. For example, we work on low salinity water flooding, several aspects of polymer flooding, reservoir “sour” system modelling and flow experiments as well as on several other topics.

Entry requirements

Please contact the institute to discuss.


Fees for this course can be found on the tuition fees page.

Scholarships and bursaries

We aim to encourage well-qualified, ambitious students to study with us and we offer a wide variety of scholarships and bursaries to achieve this. Over £6 million worth of opportunities are available in fee and stipend scholarships, and more than 400 students benefit from this support.

View our full range of research scholarships.