About 80% of brownfields in Malaysia use Gas Lift as the artificial lift method. Though it is widely used, the operators are facing numerous challenges which include shortages in gas lift source and compressor reliability issues. Consequently fields’ productivity is impacted and results in higher operating expenditure. A case of change from Gas Lift to ESP was studied however due to high rig costs many of these the projects are uneconomic. Given this is the case PETRONAS had been researching the use of high speed slim, power- cable deployed ESPs for installation inside 2- 7/8" and 3-1/2" tubing (TTESP-CD). The challenge was to develop a deployment method using intervention techniques to comply with process safety requirements and installation over a live well without any workover rig. The associated technologies to enable deployment and operation of the ESP were identified, modified, developed and qualified as required in order to meet API 6A, API 14A and ISO 14310.

In order to meet the project objectives and derisk technical uncertainties, an onshore test run and offshore pilot were planned. These ensured the design requirements of the key deployment technologies met relevant API and ISO standards; 1) wellhead adapter for cable exit and load handling 2) the anti-rotation anchor packer and 3) the insert safety valve, 4) wireline unit, 5) pressure control equipment. Each of the technologies developed or modified are key components of the deployment technique. Through the onshore testing, the deployment procedure and running equipment were improvised to fit the offshore pilot installation.

The deployment of the TTESP-CD system offshore was a success; the ESP was installed within 3-1/2" 9.2ppf tubing to a depth of 1752ft over a live well using the modified deployment package. The actual ESP deployment took around 5days including rig up/down of the deployment package. Running the ESP to depth only took around 8hrs including setting the insert safety valve. Major time consuming events were assembling the ESP, cable space- out, cable termination/splice, landing hanger and cleaning out the electrical connections. Looking forward; this is a technology PETRONAS see great value in for Malaysian and international assets. Currently there are plans for four more installations in 2018 and a minimum of five installations in 2019.

The PETRONAS led team have overcome challenges the industry has faced for many years with regards to this type of ESP deployment by investing in R&D and committing resources. By developing this technology PETRONAS and its technology providers have officially opened up market for low cost ESP deployment which is a significant step change to conventional practice. This will be of great benefit to the upstream oil and gas industry, particularly for offshore assets with little infrastructure.

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