Industry Leading Research

The ESP Reliability Information and Failure Tracking System (ESP-RIFTS) Joint Industry Project carries out studies focused on specific ESP failure mechanisms and operational challenges.

Please contact C‑FER if you would like to know more about any of these studies.

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Power Quality

There are uncertainties in how various aspects of the electrical power system and related Power Quality affect performance and run-life of an ESP System.

This leads to uncertainties in power equipment selection, setup and operation decisions.

To address this, a Repository of Practices document was developed that contains information on power quality design and operational challenges and recommendations.

Future work includes the potential development of downhole ESP power quality standards and laboratory test programs.

High GVF Wells

In a recent review of ESP challenges, the JIP identified the need for greater understanding of the performance of ESP systems, specifically pump components, in high GVF wells. The JIP divided the challenge into four areas, which would then help to guide future work:

  • Upstream Flow
  • Static/Natural Gas Separation
  • Dynamic Gas Separation
  • Gas Handling/Pump Performance

Through industry interaction and collaboration, C-FER is developing a GVF repository focusing on dynamic separation and gas handling.

Shaft Seal Testing Program

An analysis of failure data identified leaking mechanical shaft seals as a severe reliability challenge in ESP systems.

The JIP identified that there was a need to establish design validation tests for mechanical shaft seals used in downhole applications, particularly in SAGD operations.

A mechanical shaft seal test apparatus was then designed, built and commissioned.

Electrical Penetrators

Electrical penetrator reliability was recently identified by Participants as a high concern in the overall reliability of an ESP system.

Work was proposed to better understand the reliability of both wellhead and packer penetrators through industry interaction. A data collection effort is being initiated to better understand the relationship between the key failure mechanisms and equipment run-life and to guide future work in this area.

Pothead Connectors

Several Participants have highlighted that ESP Pothead reliability, particularly in unconventional applications, is a key concern in the overall reliability of their ESP systems.

Participants presented on their challenges, practices and learnings related to pothead connectors, and work is currently focused on engaging with industry experts.

High Curvature Wells

Participants were experiencing equipment failures that were attributed to operating ESPs in wells with regions of high curvature.

Based on this, Participants initiated a spin-off JIP, the ESP Reliability in High Curvature Wellbores JIP (ESP RHCW JIP),  aimed at providing participants with state-of-the-industry expertise and tools for designing ESP systems in deviated or directional wells and analyzing the impact of bending on ESP reliability

Through two phases, the ESP RHCW JIP developed a repository of practices document covering best practices for installing and operating ESPs in high curvature wells. As well, the JIP supported the development of a software tool, named ESPBend, which calculates ESP component stresses and curvatures across a wellbore trajectory defined in three dimensions, as well as estimates the impact of landing an ESP assembly in a curved section on the expected ESP run-life using field data.

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