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Technical Paper: First Successful Offshore ESP Project in Saudi Arabia

Society: SPE
Paper Number: 126066
Presentation Date: 2009
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Abstract

The Electrical Submersible Pump (ESP), a form of artificial lift technology, has proven to be a durable solution for delivering the required rates from Saudi Aramco fields. Therefore, this form of artificial lift was selected to increase production rate from one of the offshore fields, while optimizing offshore producing facilities. This offshore field has favourable conditions for ESP application, producing from carbonate reservoir with no anticipated fines production, low GOR, low temperature, low bubble point pressure and high API gravity.

All new installations were carried out without interrupting the ongoing production target. The project has completed a four-years operating cycle while continuously maintaining the field production rate with an acceptable ESP failure and run life.

So far, 41% of the originally installed ESP systems are operating more than 4 years and 20% are operating in the range of 3-4 years run life. The cumulative average run life of operating ESPs is 2.7 years and that of failed ESPs is 1.74 years. To maintain required production target, an effective ESP replacement program is a core element of field production strategy. Therefore, several measures such as replacement of underperforming ESP systems and upsizing of the pumps have been implemented. Furthermore, Dismantle Inspection and Failure Analysis (DIFA) of pulled ESP systems were conducted to evaluate the root cause of the failures and remedial actions were implemented to prevent such occurrences in future. Increasing Motor Lead Extension cable thickness, utilization of tandem seals and new wellhead penetrators are also expected to further enhance the ESP run life.

New applications to minimize ESP failures due to human intervention and ensure proper equipment handling during installations are being pursed. In addition, tandem ESP completions and different types of wellhead penetrators are being pursued to reduce rig utilization, increase producing life and minimize failures.

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