The Permian basin in West Texas consists of several different formations
and many different fields. Most have a wide range of downhole conditions even
within the same field. One varying condition is the amount of sand and other
solids that must be properly managed to optimize production and minimize
downtime. Large volumes of sand and solid material within a well can lead to
damaging conditions for the downhole pump.
Each downhole rod pump is designed with a specific clearance in relation
to fluid viscosity and stroke speed, among other factors, to maximize
production and pump efficiency. When the barrel and plunger are severely
abraded, clearance increases beyond the optimal range. The increased clearance
results in increased fluid slippage, reduced pump efficiency, and, in the worst
case, a stuck plunger.
A leading operator in the Permian basin was experiencing severe abrasion
cutting in 15 wells across several fields and asked for a way to improve pump
Sand diverter keeps solids away
Schlumberger recommended adding a sand diverter to minimize the abrasion
effects. A sand diverter is a modified plunger adapter that directs sand and
solids away from the pump barrel. Compared with the conventional design for
plunger adapters, the sand diverter has an increased outside diameter,
providing a much closer fit, and a beveled leading edge with upwardly angled
discharge ports. This combination of design features prevents sand and solid
material from collecting between the barrel and plunger during operation or
while the system is idle.