Permanent magnet motors (PMMs) have been used in electrical submersible pump (ESP) applications worldwide, but the oil and gas industry still has questions about the value of the technology in terms of power savings; return on investment (ROI); and evaluation of power consumption, operational considerations, and reliability. Is this technology the future for ESPs? This paper will provide a real analysis based on more than 200 PMM installations in the Quifa and Rubiales Fields in Colombia, South America.

The fields of study are located in a remote location in Colombia where 90% of the total oil production is achieved with ESPs, so power consumption and its efficiency became a focus to optimize the lifting cost of each barrel produced. As a standard in both fields of study, PMMs are installed in all initial completions. Part of the methodology explained in this paper covers electrical power evaluation, including a power factor study, total harmonic distortion (THD) measurements, and criteria for comparing real power savings vs. expected savings as per initial designs. The systematic approach can be used by any other company that wants to evaluate this technology in their fields.

Deploying PMM technology in both fields of study has demonstrated, through formal and systematic analysis, the real efficiency that can be achieved by using this technology. Among the measurements confirmed in the field are power factors very close to 1, reactive power savings as high as 40% and active power saving as high as 10.5% (as compared with conventional induction motors). Additionally, the field case studies demonstrate that not all applications will see a direct energy in active power savings (kW) although total required surface apparent power (kVA) in all cases were reduced. An evaluation of total cost of ownership confirmed that in the field of study and similar operational conditions, PMM technology brings the best value for ESP applications.

The authors evaluate several of the 239 cases of ESP applications with PMMs, disclosing best practices for performance evaluation and lessons learned while deploying this technology, including safety and economics evaluation to understand the conditions that maximize return on investment (ROI) and total cost of ownership (TCO).

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