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The Industry Challenge:

Progressing Cavity Pumps (PCPs) were a new form of artificial lift that was introduced in Cold Heavy Oil Production (CHOPS) operations in the mid-eighties.

These pumps were well suited to operating in wells producing high viscosity fluids with significant quantities of suspended sand. In recent years, PCPs have also proved effective in coal bed methane developments where solids production makes it difficult to use other types of artificial lift for dewatering purposes.

PCPs are unlike other artificial lift systems in that they are a low speed rotary pump mounted on the bottom of the production tubing, driven from surface by a sucker rod string.

The rotary action introduces several design challenges not seen in beam pumping operations including: torsional loading and rotational fatigue of the sucker rod string, localized tubing wear, and braking systems to control backspin following shut downs.

Selecting the various components of a PCPs is a complex task since changing one component or operating condition can impact the performance of other components.

Therefore, the system has to be designed as a whole, with specific consideration of the operating conditions to ensure that all of the components operate within their design specifications.

How PC-PUMP helps:

PC-PUMP® provides a comprehensive tool for operating companies and equipment vendors to design pumping systems to meet the needs of specific well conditions and operating practices.

Users can select all components of the system from an up-to-date catalogue of equipment available from a broad range of vendors.

The expected fluid properties and well geometry are used to evaluate the loading conditions on the selected equipment for a specified set of operating conditions to ensure that the loads are within the specifications for the equipment.

If issues are identified, the user can substitute different equipment components or can adjust the operating conditions until loads are within acceptable limits. The user can also evaluate the safety of the system by evaluating the capacity of the selected braking system to control back spin during a shutdown event.

PC-PUMP® can also be used to optimize well operations by evaluating how changes in operating conditions such as pump speed could impact the operation and safety of the system.

For more information, visit the PC-PUMP website.

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