Electrical Submersible pumps (ESPs) have been installed on a large scale for the first time in offshore Brunei. Despite having produced in Brunei for 80 years the company previously only had a single ESP running, and that was in an onshore field. The primary lift method in Brunei has been gas-lift, and regionally ESPs have not been widely adopted. As ESPs were relatively novel to offshore operations a steep learning curve was expected. Poor operation practices are a threat to run life, and failures are costly (especially offshore). This paper outlines the challenges faced by the project team, and the approach taken to execute this project successfully and operate ESPs smoothly from day one.

The application for these ESPs was relatively simple, with benign environments in low temperatures and shallow setting depths. The primary challenge with introducing ESPs to offshore Brunei was developing people, and building capability and hands on experience. The main approaches for this included:

  • Building a new ESP operations team.

  • Learning from other assets in the company portfolio (including in the Middle East and Western Siberia) via official visits, and sending staff for short term assignments.

  • Developing long term vendor relationship including field operations support onshore and offshore.

  • Rolling out an ESP competency plan with a clear outline on the required competency level for all personnel and how it could be achieved.

  • Hosting more engagement sessions closer to first oil between the operations team and project team.

This paper shares:

  • The challenges faced by the project.

  • Details on building a competent team to successfully startup and operate ESP wells.

  • Early results and performance of the operations team.

  • Lessons learnt and next steps.

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