The patented hydraulically regulated progressing cavity pump (HRPCP) has been tested previously in the oilfield, but its range of application is being expanded. The HRPCP can be used in any well where a PCP would be installed and provides added protection in cases where significant free gas may be present. It is as effective as a standard PCP in pumping high viscosity fluids or fluids with high solids content, or both. It retains its effectiveness as a pump even when no gas is present, although its primary benefit is the increase in PCP run-life when there is free gas present at the pump intake. The present study is to evaluate the performance of the HRPCP in new applications around the world.

Previous publications on the HRPCP have looked at installations in Argentina, Venezuela, and Kuwait. There are now installations in coal seam gas (CSG) in Queensland, Australia, gassy oil wells in Colombia, and heavy oil wells in the Lloydminster area of Canada, and in wells in the newer operations in the Clearwater formation near Slave Lake in Alberta, Canada. In Canada in particular, there have been 27 installations in thirteen fields by six oil companies at the time this paper was prepared.

In Colombia, the HRPCPs were installed in new wells that were expected to produce high gas volumes while still producing some sand. In the Australian CSG wells, operators wanted to land the pumps higher in the well to avoid solids problems, knowing that this would result in higher gas volume fraction at the pump intake, so the HRPCP was chosen. In the Canadian heavy oil areas, there can be a higher GOR in many wells than there was in the past, so the gas fraction at the pump intake can now be a larger factor in PCP run-life than in the past. In some of the Canadian wells, the performance data of the previous installation is available for a direct comparison.

Overall, the run-life of the HRPCP has been excellent in comparison to either expectations or to the run-life of previous PCPs in the same wells or fields. In one example well, the previous PCP suffered a significant drop in efficiency (from 60% to 10%) after 90 days. The HRPCP that followed it has been running at 70% efficiency for over 180 days (and still going). In Colombia, the operator saw reduced load on the pump due to the "gas lift" effect from the gas going through the pump and up the tubing, while exceeding expectations for run-life.

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