Maximizing production in high gas wells produced with Artificial Lift Systems is one of the greatest challenges operators face daily. The accumulation of gas inside an Electrical Submersible Pump (ESP) creates a condition called "Gas Locking" which prevents fluid production and leads to system shutdown. Multiple shutdowns and frequent Gas Locking negatively affect the runlife and profitability of ESP systems. However, the impact of gas accumulation in ESP applications can be mitigated by implementing intelligent frequency control software included in Variable Speed Drives (VSD's) specifically designed to control and protect ESP's.

Baker Hughes has designed an intelligent solution to solve the problems caused by gas locking in ESP systems: a variable speed drive with built-in gas control software that can mitigate and clear gas locking, manage draw down to minimize formation face damage, and avoid gas locking during extended gas slugs to improve production.

This paper will present the results of the variable speed drive's gas control software implementation in a high gas well in Colombia. The case history presents a mature well with water injection secondary recovery operated by Ecopetrol in partnership with OXY. The ESP system operation was monitored before and after the VSD's gas control software activation. The following significant benefits in ESP reliability and increased production were achieved: 14% daily production increase, stable operation, lower operating downhole temperatures with no high temperature events, lower pump intake pressure (decrease of 170 PSI) and zero system shutdowns due to gas locking.

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