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Electric Submersible Pumps Mohamed Dewidar 2013

Chapter 5


ESP Gas Technology
Table of Content
Section Content Page
1 Introduction 2
2 Basic types of intake sections 3
2.1 Intake 3
2.2 Static gas separator 4
2.3 Dynamic gas separator 5
2.3.1 Rotary gas separator 5
2.3.2 Vortex gas separator 7
2.3.3 AGH 8

Electric Submersible Pumps Mohamed Dewidar 2013
Chapter 5


ESP Gas Technology
5.1. Introduction
When an oil Well is initially completed, the downhole
pressure may be sufficient to force the Well fluid up the Well
tubing string to the surface. The downhole pressure in some
Wells decreases, and some form of artificial lift is required
to get the Well fluid to the surface. One form of artificial
lift is suspending an electric submersible pump (ESP) downhole
in the tubing string. The ESP will provide the extra lift
necessary for the Well fluid to reach the surface. In gassy
wells, or wells which produce gas along with oil, there is a
tendency for the gas to enter the pump along with the well
fluid. Gas in the pump decreases the volume of oil transported
to the surface, which decreases the overall efficiency of the
pump and reduces oil production.
In order to prevent the gas from interfering with the pumping
of the oil, various downhole separators have been developed to
remove gas from the Well fluid prior to the introduction of
the well fluid into the pump. A typical gas separator is
attached to the lower end of the pump assembly, Which in turn
is suspended on production tubing. Normal gas separators
separate most of the gas and discharge the separated gas into
the annulus outside the tubing string where the gas flows up
the Well to the surface. The separator discharges the liquid
into the tubing to be pumped to the surface.
When free gas is present in the first stage impeller (or first
few stages), it takes up useable space and restricts the
volumetric efficiency of the pump. The result is a decline in
expected production. In fact, if the impeller eye fills
completely with gas, the pump will "lock" or stop producing at
all, see fig (5.1).
The amount of gas a pump can handle without gas locking
depends on stage designs and sizes. Smaller pumps with radial
stages have been known to handle 10 to 15 vol% free gas, and
larger pumps with mixed-flow staging can tolerate 20 to 25
There are two basic types of intake Sections:
Gas Separators

Electric Submersible Pumps Mohamed Dewidar 2013
Chapter 5


Fig (5.1)
5.2. Basic types of intake Sections
5.2.1. Intake
A standard intake does not separate gas. Some gas
separation might occur with a standard intake, but it will
only be natural separation due to some of the gas not turning
and going into the intake when the rest of the fluid does.
Intakes can be either standard or ARZ. The ARZ intake uses
Zirconium bearings and sleeves to better protect against
abrasive wear and lateral vibration.

Fig (5.2) pump intake
Electric Submersible Pumps Mohamed Dewidar 2013
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5.2.2. Static (Reverse flow) gas separator
A gas separator is still an intake, but with some
special features designed to keep free gas from entering the
Original gas separator designs were based on increasing gas
separation by forcing the fluid flow to reverse in the
wellbore. This is where the name of this type of gas
separator, REVERSE FLOW, comes from.
Since this type of gas separator does no real "work" on the
fluid, it is also called a "static" gas separator.
This technique relies on causing the well fluid to flow
downward before reaching the pump intake to cause separation
of gas. Gas bubbles within the well fluid flow tend continue
flowing upward as a result of the buoyant force of the gas
bubbles. The downward flowing liquid in the Well fluid creates
an opposing drag force that acts against the upward moving
bubbles. If the upward buoyant force is greater than the
downward drag force, the bubbles will break free of the
downward flowing Well fluid and continue moving upward.
Buoyancy is a function of the volume of the bubble, and the
drag force is a function of the area of the bubble. As the
diameter of the bubble increases, the buoyant force will
become larger than the drag force, enabling the bubble to more
easily separate from the liquid and flow upward. Consequently,
if the bubbles can coalesce into larger bubbles, rather than
dispersing into smaller bubbles, the separating efficiency
would be greater.
Accordingly, as well fluid enters the gas separator it is
forced to change direction due to buoyancy force. Some of the
gas bubbles continue to rise instead of turn or rise inside of
the gas separator, exit the housing and continue to rise, see
fig (5.3) and (5.4).

Electric Submersible Pumps Mohamed Dewidar 2013
Chapter 5


Fig (5.3)

Fig (5.4) static gas separator
5.2.3. Dynamic gas separator Rotary Gas Separator (RGS)
Dynamic gas separators actually impart energy to the
fluid in order to get the gas to separate from the liquid.
The original gas separator was called a KGS (Kinetic Gas
Separator). This design uses an inducer to increase the
pressure of the fluid and a centrifuge to separate the gas and
This design could likewise be called a centrifugal gas
The RGS (rotary gas separator), is a descendant of the original
KGS design which has been improved with Zirconium bearings,
hardened materials, and a few hydraulic enhancements.
The rotary gas separator design works in a similar fashion to a
centrifuge. The centrifuge "paddles" spinning at 3500 rpm cause
the heavier fluids to be forced to the outside, through the
Electric Submersible Pumps Mohamed Dewidar 2013
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crossover and up into the pump, while the lighter fluid (vapor)
stays toward the center, and exits through the crossover and
discharge ports back into the well.
Fluid travels up the Well and enters separator through
openings at its lower end. The fluid is separated by an
internal rotating member with blades attached to shaft
(inducer) at its lower end to aid in lifting the fluid to the
rotating separating member. The rotating separator member
causes denser fluid to move toward the outer Wall of separator
due to centrifugal force.
The fluid mixture then travels to the upper end of separator
and passes through a flow divider or cross-over member.
A radial support bearing is often required to support the span
of such a long central shaft.
Divider comprises a circular ring and a conical upper end.
Divider is oriented to be parallel to and coaxial with central
shaft. One or more gas exit ports communicate an opening in
the sidewall of separator and the interior of flow divider. As
the fluid nears flow divider, the outer (more dense) fluid
remains in the annulus surrounding flow divider and is
diverted radially inward and upward to a liquid exit port. The
inner (less dense) fluid enters flow divider and is channeled
radially outward and upward to gas exit ports. Liquid exit
port leads to pump, but gas exit ports open into annulus (fig

Electric Submersible Pumps Mohamed Dewidar 2013
Chapter 5


Fig (5.5) rotary gas separator Vortex Gas Separator (VGS)
In certain applications in the past, we have
experienced some reliability problems and associated failures
in the rotary gas separators.
Extended length of shaft in an area with a rotating mass of
very high inertia which may be radially unbalanced either in
manufacture or in operation because it is filled with a non-
homogeneous fluid of variable specific gravity or may be n0m-
uniform eroded by abrasives with time or combination of the
Accordingly, reducing the mass of the rotating element and
decrease the radial bearing spacing become the solution of
instability of the dynamic gas separator, in addition to
adding Axial Impeller to induces a fluid vortex, this is the
latest dynamic gas separation devices (Vortex Gas Separator).

Fig (5.6)
The Vortex* gas separator is a dynamic gas separation device
that utilizes a natural vortex action created by a specially
designed inlet configuration, axial flow inducer, multiple
vortex generators, multiple flow-through bearings, and a
discharge crossover to provide highly effective gas
The Vortex gas separator offers an extended range and greater
efficiency over a broader range of flow conditions than
previous 400 and 540 series rotary gas separators.
Electric Submersible Pumps Mohamed Dewidar 2013
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Additionally, the Vortex gas separator features the patented,
compliant mount abrasion-resistant zirconia radial bearing
technology coupled with a dramatically improved overall
bearing system to provide far superior reliability over
previous designs.
To further extend life expectancy, the rotor assembly has been
designed to impart very little energy to solid particles
produced through the separator. The improved hydraulics in the
Vortex gas separator allow for more effective gas separation
at higher fluid flow rates than previously possible (fig 5.7).

Fig (5.7) Vortex Gas Separator Advanced Gas-Handler (AGH)
The AGH advanced gas-handling device was designed to
improve the overall lift efficiency of a submersible lift
installation by maintaining a higher gas-to-liquid ratio in
the tubing string. The systems higher GVF reduces the
hydraulic horsepower required to lift fluid to surface. The
Electric Submersible Pumps Mohamed Dewidar 2013
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AGH system uses a unique centrifugal stage design to alter the
pressure distribution of the impeller, creating a homogenized
mixture with reduced gas bubble size. This conditioned fluid
behaves as a single-phase fluid before entering the pump.
So, the objectives of AGH are:
Homogenize the mixture.
Reduce bubble size.
Put gas back into solution.
Help gas to move to main stream.
The AGH can be used with a standard intake or with a gas
separator. The choice will depend on how much free gas will be
present at the intake for producing condition and on whether
there is a packer preventing gas production up the annulus,
see fig (5.8).

Fig (5.8)
The AGH results in stable operation with reduced restarts due
to under load shutdown (i.e. gas lock). This improves
production and enhances reliability.
See fig (5.9) of amperage chart.
Electric Submersible Pumps Mohamed Dewidar 2013
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Fig (5.9)