Evaluating and Optimizing High Temperature Artificial Lift Technology
C-FER launched the Laboratory Testing of Artificial Lift Systems JIP in December 2003, with over a dozen thermal operators participating including Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Devon, EnCana, Imperial Oil, Husky, Nexen, Suncor, Total, and Petrobras.
The broad goal of this JIP was to evaluate and optimize high temperature AL technology for thermal applications. Under Phase I of this JIP C-FER designed and built a world-class experimental flow loop to evaluate High Temperature (HT) AL systems under SAGD-representative conditions. The loop is highly instrumented, and capable of testing AL over a large envelope of conditions that would be difficult to mimic in a field-pilot.
For example, the High Temperature Flow Loop is capable of:
- fluid temperatures of up to 260°C,
- operating with different fluids (oil, water, and oil/water emulsions to mimic the viscosity and density of produced fluids at various fields); and
- multiphase flow testing (with gas and/or steam).
During Phase II of this JIP a number of thermal AL systems (ESPs, PCPs, MxM PCPs, gear pumps, etc.) from different vendors were evaluated by C-FER, while primarily focusing on both HT and low intake pressure operation. In early 2010 C-FER also launched Phase III of this JIP, which is a parallel group that’s focused on identifying and testing the highest temperature AL options (> 250°C). Both Phase II and Phase III of this JIP are currently ongoing.
This JIP has provided operators with an independent validation of HT AL technology over a range of conditions (i.e. instead of “trying them” in an active well), and it has allowed vendors to characterize (and optimize) their new HT AL systems for SAGD before releasing them to industry.