Technical Paper: Streamline Operation of ESP Systems in the Ecuadorian Jungle

Society: SPE
Paper Number: 2007425
Presentation Date: 2007
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Safety, minimization of environmental impact, and profitability are key drivers for Petrobras and its partners in the exploration and production of the Block 18, located in an environmentally sensitive area of the jungle of Ecuador. Petrobras runs the operation of the Palo Azul and Pata fields producing over 42,000 barrels of oil per day via artificial lift. Most wells are equipped with Electric Submersible Pumps (ESP).

The installation of an ESP system includes a series of steps that the field service engineer has to perform in a well-defined sequence. The procedure is not the same for all ESP configurations because it depends on the arrangement of sealing chambers in the protector. Even though the field installation procedures are time consuming and weather and skill dependent, they must be strictly followed because any non-conforming or short-cut can lead to premature failures that ultimately require pulling the ESP.

The range of application of ESP systems has broadened considerably during the last 30 years. New development has focused on designing ESP components to operate in more severe environments, however the field installation procedures have remained weather and operator-skill dependent since the invention of the ESPs more than 75 years ago.

This paper describes how Petrobras streamlined its ESP installation operations in the well Palo Azul # 38 by installing a new plug-in-play ESP technology in pursue of the company's goals of reducing operating costs and improve profitability of ESP operations in the Block 18, without compromising job safety or system reliability. The paper illustrates the design of the new ESP components and how it eliminated critical steps from the well-site assembly procedures enabling Petrobras to complete the installation 40% earlier than similar ESPs with conventional technology.

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