The water cut and gas fraction associated with oil field production typically increases over time. The production reaches a point where part of the field becomes severely restricted, leading to low production and even premature abandonment of an oil producer. Artificial lifting methods are applied in this case to maintain the production. The most widely used methods are electrical submersible pumps (ESPs) and gas lift. Recently, it has been shown that multiphase pumping (MPP) technology is becoming a competitive method. MPP can also extend well production life and ultimately increase total recovery from producing fields; however, there are selection criteria for the proper application of the MPP. Considering an MPP for a well should be carefully approached and evaluated on a case by case basis. MPP may not be the best alternative for all weak wells. For example, a dead well, which cannot flow smoothly to the surface, does not provide sufficient wellhead pressure to the MPP inlet, and therefore is not a candidate for MPP.
The MPP (twin-screw technology) has been installed in a remote field to boost the oil production from three oil wells with high water cut and insufficient pressure to flow to the processing facility. For these wells, a MPP package was designed and installed at the field manifold. The unit was a simplified portable pumping system powered by a diesel generator. The MPP is now operated unmanned with local controlling and monitoring systems.
The trial test has proven the high percentage of operating efficiency of this type of MPP1. An oil gain was realized from the manifold using this MPP, which improves the oil recovery and sweep in the subjected area. The MPP has proven its reliability to introduce a successful performance for specially selected low flowing wellhead pressure (LFWHP) wells' applications. In addition, the MPP has further advantages in terms of piping modification requirements, maintenance ease, power consumption, compatibility with intelligent fields, monitoring operations, etc.
This paper discusses the advantages of utilizing MPP with twin-screw technology in a Saudi Aramco field. The paper also addresses project implementation as well as the operating experience with the MPP.
The multiphase pumps (MPPs) are modified liquid pumps that are capable of pumping various combinations of oil, water, gas, and minor sand in flow stream without separation. The MPPs are most commonly used to add energy to unprocessed fluids, which are to be transported to processing facilities far located downstream. Therefore, a reduction or elimination of the production infrastructure such as separation equipment and offshore platforms can be achieved. This leads to lower operating costs associated with the development of hydrocarbon reserves. In this way, marginal fields located in hostile environments can be developed more economically2. The MPPs can also reduce the back pressure on producing wells, leading to an increase in production and recoverable reserves.