Electrical Submersible Pump (ESP) systems have been applied successfully for seabed hydrocarbon boosting for years. However, the design of ESPs for in-well applications presents several limitations for its use on the seafloor. The long slender body and limited gas handling capabilities have historically been important factors restricting the wider use of ESPs in subsea applications. In order to overcome the main design challenges, ESPs have been placed in caissons that enable gas/liquid separation and installation of the pump in a vertical position. This arrangement has resulted in high installation and work-over costs, limiting the acceptance in subsea applications. For low gas applications, skid based subsea ESP designs have also recently emerged, but these are large and heavy, which also leads to higher installation and work-over costs.
The Subsea Production Alliance between Baker Hughes and Aker Solutions has developed an innovative new solution to these challenges in the form of an ESP system installed in a flow line jumper. This new solution utilizes the same well proven ESP and increases its gas tolerance by utilizing state-of-the art technology used in subsea separation and boosting applications. Fluid conditioning, gas/liquid mixing and liquid recirculation together with field proven control algorithms form the revolutionary flowline booster system. Installation and retrieval of the jumper-mounted ESPs are as simple as retrieving a standard flowline jumper by using a light installation vessel and field proven tie-in technology. This new system provides for a step-change in operational robustness and cost-benefit for subsea boosting solutions.
This paper presents the concept and highlights the benefits of modularity, ease of installation and replacement, operability and client value. A simulation of the operational performance of the system applied in a brown field application is presented. A commercial comparison between the flowline booster system and a skid based ESP boosting system is also presented.