ESP Failures: Can We Talk the Same Language?

This paper was prepared for presentation at the SPE ESP Workshop held inHouston, Texas, USA, April 25-27, 2001.


Several operators have recently launched a new industry-wide initiativefocused on sharing failure information, operational practices and otherpertinent data, in an effort to gain a better understanding of the variousfactors that affect ESP run life in any one application. Early on, thecompanies involved acknowledged that there were many challenges in such aneffort, one of the main ones being how to achieve consistency in the datacollected by several operators.

This paper presents an approach to establish consistent practices forcollecting, tracking and sharing ESP run life and failure information. Theapproach is based on two key elements: (1) a general and common data set; and(2) a standard nomenclature for coding ESP failure information. The generaldata set contains basic information on operating conditions, ESP equipment, andthe observed failures. While this data set is not overly detailed, in that theinformation is typically already collected by most operators and relativelyeasy to obtain, it is comprehensive enough so that meaningful analyses can beperformed. The nomenclature standard builds on the International Standard ISO142241 and on the API Recommended Practice (RP) 11S12. Broad definitions andfailure attributes follow the guidelines of ISO 14424, while nomenclature forcomponents, parts and possible teardown observations follow the terminologysuggested by API RP 11S1.

The paper also provides a review of the past practices in the industry, withregards to the types of data collected, and the main types of analysisperformed with the data. Comments are included on difficult related issues,such as the tracking of used equipment and the treatment of running systems,when evaluating current operations or making future failure ratepredictions.

It is hoped that the paper will encourage discussion on the topic, and helpthe industry share ESP run life data in a more consistent manner. The ultimategoals are to assist the industry improve ESP run life, expand the use of ESP's,and better realize the full potential of the ESP technology.


Operators and vendors have long identified that having a failure trackingsystem in place is key to reducing failure rates of ESP systems3-33. Problemswith system design, equipment specification, manufacturing, installation, andday-to-day operation can be identified and corrected, contributing to increasedrun lives, lower operating costs and increased profits. As a result, manyoperators and vendors have set up database systems to track ESP run life andfailure information.

Author: Alhanati, F. J. S., Solanki, S. C., & Zahacy, T. A.

Publisher: Society of Petroleum Engineers

Year: 2001

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