Neil Johnson Vazhappilly, and Gustavo Gonzalez, Odessa Separator, Inc.
A dual purpose design is presented in this paper to face high gas presence and sand production conditions in petroleum wells with an Electric Submersible Pump (ESP) system installed. The results of this design’s application in severely problematic wells, due to high gas and sand production, will confirm the importance of conditioning the fluid before it gets to the pump intake.
This engineered design consists of different stages from the isolation of the pump intake until the tubing bodies in charge of gas and sand handling. Engineering concepts were applied in the construction of this solution such as gas re-solubilization, changes of pressure and velocity, agitation, and vortex effect to finally present a design that is capable of breaking gas slugs into smaller gas bubbles that can be produced by the ESP system without impacting its performance, and at the same time separating fine solid particles (<250 microns) using centrifugal forces.
Case studies from wells located in the Permian basin will better explain the positive impact of selecting a proper downhole conditioning system to improve the ESP systems efficiency. A drastic improvement on the sensor parameters will also illustrate the effect of handling the gas and sand before the pump intake, which also leads to one of the most important consequences: A decrease in the number of shutdowns, which in turn decreases non-productive time, resulting in positive impact of fluid production. Additionally, the flexibility of this design is significant, since it allows it to be installed in a wide range of fluid production, gas-liquid ratio, tubing and casing sizes.
The novelty of this new design is the addition of the surge valve below the packer, which accomplishes multiple purposes: to avoid surging in the well, to allow testing the packer to assure it is properly set, and finally, allow chemical injection below the packer.