In a field offshore Sumatra, several wells were experiencing pump failures because of loss of flow, sand erosion on pump stages, pump shaft rotation, broken shafts, and motor burnout. The remote offshore location of the wells was an additional hindrance, making it difficult to quickly respond to pump performance issues. This paper will show that the combination of abrasion-resistant pumps and accessibility and analysis of electric submersible pump (ESP) data are critical parameters for responsiveness and efficiency in troubleshooting.

The ESP reliability initiative began with well candidate selection to identify the most challenging wells with a known history of short run life primarily due to excessive sand and gas production. A new abrasion-resistant pump with enhanced compression design was installed in four wells as a pilot project. This count increased to 11 by Q2 2016. In addition, all these wells were put under 24/7 real-time surveillance to ensure that the pump performance issues were noticed immediately and acted upon much faster than in the manual troubleshooting process, which could take 2 to 3 days, at best.

A right combination of technical solution for pumps enabled better run life performance, and remote surveillance enabled faster troubleshooting and optimization of ESP peformance. These improvements are sustained through defined end-to-end workflows for performing root cause analysis of incidents performed jointly by the operators and ESP suppliers.

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