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SPE 101492

ADCO ESP Pilot


Hafsa A. Hashim, ADCO

Copyright 2006, Society of Petroleum Engineers


This paper was prepared for presentation at the 2006 Abu Dhabi International Petroleum
Exhibition and Conference held in Abu Dhabi, U.A.E., 58 November 2006.
This paper was selected for presentation by an SPE Program Committee following review of
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presented, have not been reviewed by the Society of Petroleum Engineers and are subject to
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Abstract
In one of ADCOs mature fields several horizontal oil wells
have ceased to flow due to the high water cut. In order to
accelerate data acquisition on well, reservoir and ESP
performance at these higher water cuts, an ESP pilot project
was performed in three wells.
ADCOs past experience with ESPs in some of the main fields
in deep, high temperature and GOR wells (250 deg F and 700
scf/bbl, respectively) has been poor and discouraging. To
ensure that future ESP applications in these fields are
successful, a comprehensive review was conducted by ADCO
and industrial shareholders (ISH) to determine the root causes
of the previous failures and recommend methods to improve
current practices.
In accordance with the recommendations, a multidisciplinary
team was set up to plan and execute the ESP pilot project. The
project team was responsible for the tendering, designing and
engineering aspects, gathering the reservoir data, finalizing the
completion strategy, equipment sizing, installation,
commissioning and monitoring.
The result of this effort was the successful installation and
running of ESPs in two of the fields oil wells. The project
success is of paramount importance as it can lead the way for
future ESP applications in similar harsh downhole conditions.
This paper discusses ADCOs approach to overcome the past
difficulties it had in running ESPs in deep and hot oil wells
starting from the review up to the installation and
commissioning.
Field Current Conditions and Reasons for the Pilot:
The field in question is located in the south-east of Abu Dhabi
and was discovered by a seismic survey conducted in 1959.
The field is an anticline approximately 30 km long and 10 km
wide with the reservoir comprising of three main carbonate oil
bearing zones at depths of between 7000 and 8000 feet,

designated here by reservoirs I, II and III lying one above the


other and separated by dense limestone with the majority of
production coming from reservoir II, which can be subdivided
into an upper and a lower unit based on their depositional
facies, reservoir properties and predominant change of
permeability.
Crude oil from the subject reservoir is light with an API
gravity of 42 and a gas oil ratio of 850 scf / stb. The
reservoir temperature is 250 degrees F. and the associated gas
has very low hydrogen sulphide content.
The field has been water flooded for over 25 years resulting in
a long history of producing wells ceasing to flow when the
water cut reaches 40 to 60%. Historically, when a well ceases
to flow due to water cut, the vertical well is abandoned and
horizontalized targeting the lower reserves. However, the long
term solution is to put these wells on artificial lift (AL) such as
Gas Lift (GL) and deployment of Electrical Submersible
Pumps (ESPs).
The slow rise in water cuts, currently experienced on natural
flow, will change to much more rapid rise upon field wide
implementation of the first phase of artificial lift scheduled in
2009. Although Gas lift is seen as the preferred artificial lift
method for the field, ESPs could be used as a secondary
method to be applied.
An initial step to the field wide AL implantation was to plan
an ESP trial with the following objectives:
1. To restore production and,
2. To accelerate the acquisition of data on well and reservoir
performance at higher water cuts, in order to refine field
development plans.
Concurrently a Gas Lift pilot was also performed in the field.
To ensure that the trials did not interfere with each other care
was taken to ensure that the candidate wells for both pilots
were far apart of each other and, simultaneously, cover the
field. Accordingly, the gas lift wells were located next to the
gas injection facilities near the eastern flank of the field and
the ESPs were deployed in the western flank of the field.
Generally ESPs are matched to water injection and gas lift to
gas injection, where ESPs (properly sized) cope best with
increasing water cuts and suffer if free gas breaks through;
conversely gas lift wells struggle to cope with increasing water
cut and benefit from gas break through.
The wells selected for the project were three single oil
producers, which had been horizontalized in 1996, and due to
a high water cut have ceased to flow. Due to the mechanical

SPE 101492

integrity problem of one of the wells, only two ESPs were


installed.

commissioning shall be carefully prepared and discussed


with the relevant parties.

ADCO ESP Review:


Although ADCO ESP performance in water production
wells and shallow oil wells is impressive by industry
standards, performance in the deep and high temperature oil
wells has been beleaguered by a number of pre-mature
failures. To ensure that future ESP applications in these fields
are successful, a comprehensive review was conducted by
ADCO and industrial shareholders (ISH) to determine the root
causes of the previous failures in order to maximize learning
and incorporate the findings into the new designs and
procedures for the pilot tests.
On completion of the analysis of the past ESP experiences
in ADCO, the review team agreed that all past failures can be
prevented if due attention is paid to detail, where the failures
in the past were mainly due to well bore pollutants and debris,
poor manufacturing, quality assurance and control (QA/QC)
and installation practices. In addition to the above rapid
decompression was also found to be a likely major failure
cause.
Based on the above conclusions the review team made
several recommendations including:
1- The formalization of a Project Management Team for
each ESP project within ADCO with staff from the
different disciplines covering all the surface and subsurface aspects of the project. The team is to be led by an
experienced project manager and meet on a regular basis to
monitor progress and document minutes, action items and
action parties.
2- The ESP Project Management Team should ensure
that the reservoir data, and in particular the well
productivity index (PI) is accurate (in some previous wells
the prediction of well productivity (PI) has been very
inaccurate).
3- Development of tailored ESP courses for Petroleum
Engineers and Operations Engineers both in the office and
in the field.
4- The use of compression pumps in the pilot tests to
increase operating envelopes to better cope with changes in
reservoir conditions and alleviate the need for the Variable
Speed Drives (VSDs).
5- Avoid the use of a deepset packer for well control
rather overbalance with clean solids-free brine.
6- Address preventative measures rather than remedial
measures with regards to scaling and corrosion, where
remedial measures should only be regarded as contingency.
7- Base case design; vent annulus gas into flowline
downstream of choke. Install NRV to prevent backflow of
produced fluids into the annulus.
8- Install a reliable variable choke to facilitate bean-up and
to allow back pressure to be varied without shutting down
the ESP.
9- Particular attention should be paid to the details of
critical operations during the workovers to secure a
complete understanding of safety issues and critical
success factors. Comprehensive program for wellbore
clean up, running and installation procedures and

Tendering Process:
In line with the above recommendations an ESP project
management team was created. In order to maximize the
probability of success of the project the team conducted a
thorough tender exercise to select the ESP provider where the
tender document was prepared in accordance with the
following strategy:
o
The technical competence of the supplier was of
paramount importance for executing the job, thus the
tender evaluation focused on the technical evaluation
rather than on the commercial evaluation.
Accordingly, it was intended that the bid was not to
be awarded to the lowest bid but to the most
competent bidder. To this end, it had been decided to
split the evaluation into two stages, first the technical
evaluation, followed by the commercial evaluation.
The weight of 75% was attributed to the technical bid
and consequently the commercial bid had 25%. The
strategy was spelled out in the tender document so
the bidders were aware of the strategy.
o
The technical evaluation of the bidders was made
from a comprehensive technical questionnaire which
was included in the tender document. The
commercial bid was only opened after the technical
evaluation had been completed and approved by
ADCOs relevant authority.
o
The successful bidder had to be a service provider
and not only a pump provider. Accordingly, the
scope of work was prepared in line with the
following guidelines:

A detailed ESP System Design Data is to be


provided. The vendor shall perform suitable
analysis and design work resulting from the
expected range of the data to ensure the
robustness of the design.

Upon acceptance of vendors ESP design data by


ADCO, the vendor shall provide the ESP systems
comprising of the pump, motor, equalizer,
monitor, intake, cable, packer and penetrator.

The vendor will provide a detailed ESP running


and installation procedures.

A suitable well bore clean out program is to be


recommended by the vendor.

A Completing the Well on Paper (CWOP)


exercise will be developed with ADCO before rig
operations.

The vendor will provide the operational procedure


for starting, stopping and normal operations.

During the first three months of the installation,


the vendor shall provide a field engineer
responsible
for
monitoring
the
pumps
performance and its related mechanical integrity
in accordance with a pre-defined schedule.
During the first three months of the installation,

the vendor shall train ADCOs appointed

SPE 101492

personnel on pump monitoring, performance, data


interpretation and diagnosis.
Design Parameters and Pump Sizing:
The project management team paid particular attention to
the design parameters and associated pump sizing. Reservoir
and well data was carefully gathered and checked by the
relevant staff prior to being used for pump sizing. All the data
was captured in a document called ESP system statement of
requirements which was vital for the success of the project.
There were several considerations constraining the design
of the ESP completions which were:
o
Bottom hole flowing pressure had to remain above
bubble point.
o
Production was to be limited to 3000 bpd.
Free Gas Volume Fraction (FGVF) at pump intake is
o
to be less than 10%.
o
The pump will need to be able to handle a significant
range of operating conditions.
A design exercise using ESP simulation software was used
to develop a system that could cope with the wide range of
operating conditions and uncertainties without the use of a
variable speed drive. The exercise was used to develop the
designs and explore sensitivities. A summary of the numerous
software runs was analyised to finally determine the best
system.
Based on the design exercise a 2 x 38 stage compression
pump and a 100 Hp (variable rated) motor were selected for
the trial wells.
This system configuration is able to achieve production
rates between 2600 and 4000 bpd with watercuts ranging
between 60% and 95% and PIs ranging between 10 and 26
bpd/psi.
Most importantly the rating of the motor windings in this
ESP system design is 300 deg F. Based on the design
summary the maximum motor winding temperature reached is
275 deg F providing a marginal safety factor. In addition, the
presence of the bypass tubing reduces the flow area and
increases the fluid flow velocity thus increasing the cooling
efficiency. The motor winding temperature and the factors that
affect it such as fluid properties, well geometry and pump
placement, quality of the supplied power, motor type and
operational practices were carefully analysed through various
sensitivities in the design phase to avoid premature failure due
to temperature rise.
The use of compression design extends the pump operating
envelop, while the motor selected for the pilot wells have
better efficiency and run cooler than the previous motors
series used. Also the use of variable rated motors extends the
operating range (greater flexibility by re-tapping transformer
voltage). In addition motor de-rating enables better control of
underload protection. Parallel bags in the equalizer were
chosen in case scale squeezes are required. The intake screen
was designed to match the impeller size to best protect the
pump from debris while minimizing risk of blockage.
Since one of the main causes of the previous failures was
due to corrosion special attention was focused on the selection
of the material for the ESP equipment. Corrosive fluids can

often be managed by the appropriate selection of metallurgy,


coatings and elastomers in the ESP system components.
Particular attention was paid to areas where fluid flow is
expected to be turbulent (e.g. pump intake). In addition the
independent analysis and advice of a corrosion engineering
expert was sought before the material selection for the design
was finalized.
Completion Philosophy and monitoring of the ESPs:
The completion design for the subject reservoir pilot wells
were based on simplicity and minimum operational risk
however several requirements for the pilot compromised this
objective, these included:
o Y-tool and bypass tubing for reservoir accessibility by
coiled tubing for logging purposes.
o Stinger into 7 liner to facilitate coiled tubing entry
and prevent buckling.
o Packerless completion with annulus gas vented into
flowline downstream of choke.
o Data transmission of the pump parameters.
Y-tools and bypass tubing complicate the design and
introduce eccentricity and obstruction to flow, but as well
accessibility is mandatory for reservoir surveillance, the
completion with Y-tool was included in the ESP system.
The system called for a packerless completion since the
packer can cause gas to accumulate under it and increase local
temperatures. The gas may also be ingested into the pump and
cause gas lock problems on start-up. The annulus is
continuously vented into the flowline downstream of the
choke to prevent gas accumulation and therefore minimize
compression-decompression cycles which may affect the life
of the cable. A NRV was required to prevent backflow of
produced fluids into the annulus.
To enable proper wellbore clean-out (whether using
chemical or acid) the completion had to be able to facilitate for
coiled tubing entry and for scale/corrosion inhibition
programs.
A downhole sensor was installed to help monitor the ESP
performance by measuring the following parameters:
o Intake temperature
o Intake pressure
o Discharge pressure
o Current leakage
o Motor winding temperature
Pump Installation and Commissioning:
As several of ADCOs ESP failures were due to solids
contamination both from scale and corrosion a thorough
wellbore clean up program was developed prior to ESP
deployment as follows:
o Well was circulated with filtered brine till the returns
were clean of any debris.
o Coiled tubing with jet blaster was run till TD.
o The ESPs were then installed.
o The well was kicked off with Nitrogen until reservoir
fluids were produced at the surface.

SPE 101492

Results and Way Forward:


The ESP equipment was installed in the two wells in
September 2004, and once the surface infrastructure was
completed, the pumps were started for the second time in
February 2005 where they both ran successfully for over one
year producing in the range of 2500 3200 BPD with water
cuts varying between 15% - 40%.
In February 2006 the first ESP pump failed, the reason
suspected for the failure is an electrical fault on the cable,
where during the initial commissioning tests an earth fault was
detected in the downhole equipment. Since the ESP would still
be able to run despite the earth fault the decision was made to
start the equipment nevertheless, as it would have been
impossible to repair the problem unless the string was pulled
out and the entire length of the cable inspected.
The second ESP string was removed from the well and a
standard completion was put in its place after a PLT log in
March 2006 showed the well capable of sustaining natural
flow due to an increase in the reservoir pressure as a result of
continuous water injection in the surrounding area in the field.
The following charts summarize the production history of
the wells during the ESP run life.
Well # 1 Production Data
30

1,000,000

Cumm ulative Oil (bbl), Cummulative Liquid


(bbl)

900,000

Well # 2 Production Data


1,000,000

60

900,000

Cummulative Oil (bbl), Cummulative Liquid


(bbl)

50

800,000
700,000

500,000

30

400,000
20

300,000
200,000
10

100,000

700,000

15

500,000
400,000

Water Cut (%)

20

600,000

10

300,000
200,000

100,000

0
6-Mar-06

20-Mar-06

20-Feb-06

9-Jan-06

6-Feb-06

23-Jan-06

28-Nov-05

26-Dec-05

14-Nov-05

12-Dec-05

3-Oct-05

31-Oct-05

17-Oct-05

5-Sep-05

Date

Fig. 1 Well No. 1 Production Data

19-Sep-05

8-Aug-05

25-Jul-05

22-Aug-05

11-Jul-05

27-Jun-05

13-Jun-05

30-May-05

16-May-05

4-Apr-05

2-May-05

18-Apr-05

7-Mar-05

21-Mar-05

7-Feb-05

21-Feb-05

Cummulative Liquid
Cummulative Oil
Water Cut

19-Jan-06

30-Dec-05

10-Dec-05

31-Oct-05

20-Nov-05

11-Oct-05

1-Sep-05

21-Sep-05

12-Aug-05

3-Jul-05

23-Jul-05

13-Jun-05

4-May-05

24-May-05

14-Apr-05

5-Mar-05

25-Mar-05

0
Cummulative Liquid
Cummulative Oil
Water Cut

Date

Fig. 2 Well No. 2 Production Data

During May 2005 a workshop was held between the


different disciplines to further review the approach taken and
determine the effective mechanisms that helped in the success
of the pilot project, so that they can be implemented in all
future ESP projects, while taking care to avoid any shortfalls
that occurred in the pilots.
In addition two ESP strings were installed during the first
half of 2006 in a different field with similar conditions using
the same integrated approach, while another two for a third
field are currently in the planning stages.
Conclusions:
The period that the pumps have been running smoothly
confirms the success of the integrated project management
approach and indicates that a satisfactory ESP run life can be
achieved under the current field conditions provided that
special attention and understanding of the requirements of the
ESP system are taken in consideration. This establishes that
for future development of the reservoir within ADCO fields
ESPs can be considered a feasible artificial lift method.
Acknowledgement:
* The author would like to thank ADNOC Management for
the permission to present this paper. Also the author wishes to
thank Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Oil Operations
(ADCO) in general and the ESP Project Team in particular for
their assistance and support in preparation of this paper.
** Some of the contents of this paper are from the ADCO
ESP Task Force Shareholders Review and the ADCO
Artificial Lift Guidelines documents.

25

800,000

Water Cut (%)

40

600,000

13-Feb-05

In addition a functioning test of each ESP was performed,


which consisted of a first start up for a period of time between
15 to 19 hours to confirm that the reservoir and pump
parameters were within the design parameters. This first start
up was performed with the assistance of a well site generator.
Before running the ESP into the wells, a comprehensive
document containing the completion drawings, risk
assessment of the operation, running and installation
procedures, start up and commissioning procedures was issued
to and discussed with the relevant staff. The document
incorporated the results of a completing the well on paper
exercise (CWOP) performed with all parties involved in the
rig operations, where the completion program and all
installation procedures were scrutinized.
Operational procedures for starting, stopping and normal
operations including decompression sequences when starting
an ESP were established and distributed to the relevant
Operations staff. A variable choke was installed to facilitate
bean-up and to allow back pressure to be varied without
shutting down the ESP.

Nomenclature:
AL
: Artificial Lift
CWOP : Completing the Well On Paper
ESP
: Electrical Submersible Pump
FGVF : Free Gas Volume Fraction
GL
: Gas Lift
ISH
: Industrial Shareholders
NRV : Non Return Valve
QA/QC : Quality Assurance/ Quality Control
VSD
: Variable Speed Drive