ConocoPhillips has been on a quest to find a high volume artificial lift system that will operate reliably in a 250°C (482°F) downhole environment, which exists in certain SAGD applications. This presented two problems: 1) there were no commercially available technologies for such a high temperature; and 2) there were no facilities capable of testing these systems.

This paper describes the complexity of building and operating a high temperature flow loop rated for 250°C, and the lessons learned while upgrading an existing flow loop, from the initial design through the final commissioning phases. The paper also describes the issues encountered with the first artificial lift system tested at 250°C, which was a metallic stator progressing cavity pump system, rated for 1100 m3/d (6919 bpd) at 500 rpm.

In the end, the test program not only served to validate and define the pump's performance, but also provided valuable lessons on the completion configuration and operational procedures.

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