According to the 2010-2011 annual statistical bulletin issued by the OPEC oil reserves in Venezuela reached 296.5 MMMBls, positioning the country with the biggest proven oil reserves worldwide. Most of these reserves are in the FPO (Orinoco Oil Belt) as part of the ambitious project PDVSA Magna Reserve.

The produced oil in the FPO is 8-10° API, high viscosity and located in shallow reservoirs so horizontal type wells are constructed to increase well productivity. The artificial lift system of choice is predominantly progressing cavity pump (PCP).

During the pumping operation conditions are generated that affect the performance and run life of the main elements of the pumps. T o manage and improve the run life a prudent field operator should implement specific methods to trace each pump component from delivery to the field until the final failure report is completed. This abstract describes the recommended steps, including; manufacturer quality assurance, installation documentation and completion diagram, operational data, and workover completion. The failure database should include all details: well information, bench test data, operating parameters such as torque, intake and discharge pressures, production data, operating days and accumulated revolutions, among others. At this point it is important to mention that this work will be specified only regarding the process of handling of pump failures without specifying actual statistical data that belongs to the joint venture Petropiar PDVSA (PDVSA 70% and Chevron 30%).

This methodology allows clearly identifying the weak point in the chain of the process regarding this artificial lift method. The use of it has documented properly the history of pump field failures and also serves as the basis for the completion of a significant destructive and non-destructive analysis of failed pumps with the different suppliers.

For the above and considering that only in the FPO are currently more than 3,000 wells with this system, it is necessary to manage a process to ensure the completion of the failure analysis of this equipment in a safe and technically reliable manner.

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