Alternatives to Avoid High Human Efforts in Progressive Cavity Pump Operations

The next opportunities for improvement were identified for operations of Progressive Cavity Pump (PCP) systems, which have caused lost time, injury to people, and damage to equipment:

  1. Make-up and disassembling of PCP bottom hole assemblies at field or workshop, where mostly is absolutely necessary to use hand tools, and those activities require a high human effort. Besides, the personnel use extension tubes (snipes) connected to the pipe wrenches, although that is not technically and safety recommended.

  2. Installation and removal of surface equipment, even inside of well location. This operation is commonly performed using rig's auxiliary lifting mechanism (winch), and the loads are driven manually with a rope. In those cases, people have to do high efforts and loss control of the load movement.

Hydraulic tools can be used for both situations, but these are not always available, are expensive, require skilled labor, are not manually transportable, and in some situations there is not enough space for their operation (cranes).

The objective of this study is to find practical and inexpensive alternatives to perform the above operations in reliable and safe way, using tools that can be operated and transported by only one person. The following aspects were considered:

  • Argentina PCP Experience, in field and workshop operations.

  • Incident Investigations.

  • Mechanical Analysis of forces and displacements involved.

  • International standards.

  • Ergonomic studies.

The goals were achieved through the implementation of the following alternatives:

  1. Use of hand wrenches (friction or chain style), combined with torque multiplier and torque wrenches, detecting that also applies to reciprocating rod pump assemblies.

  2. Use of the rig's lifting mechanisms, main (traveling hoist) and secondary (winch), combined with a mobile sheave mounted on the equipment to transport, and using a fixed point available on location as retention line.

We expect with development and communication of this work, contribute to the reduction of incidents that can damage people and equipment, as well as improving the operations efficiency.

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