The advent of US unconventional completion presents new challenges for electrical submersible pump (ESP) systems. Rapid production decline from fractured unconventional wells, solid production, and high amount of gas are considered the main challenges for ESP system performance and longevity. In addition to production decline and high free gas, unconventional wells introduce scale, gas slugs, and solids. Consequently, it is important to monitor ESP systems to optimize performance, to detect anomalies, and prevent potential failure. This paper discusses multiple case histories where real-time remote monitoring was deployed to overcome unconventional wells challenges.
Real-time ESP monitoring uses downhole and surface data such as pressure, temperature, vibration, production data, motor load, and many other parameters to monitor the system performance. The data are stored in several servers and interfaced in real time with production engineers or production analysts through a web browser for analysis, optimization, and diagnosis of any potential failures. Monitoring helps to identify opportunities for maximizing accumulated oil production and reducing ESP system downtime. Remote monitoring provides analysts with access to the well for remote ESP optimization that significantly reduces the number of ESP shutdowns and decreases HSE incidents related to field trips and interfacing with surface units.
This paper presents a comparison between ESP performance before and after remotely adjusting the operation parameters using the monitoring system. The result shows how real-time monitoring system improved ESP system run life and maximized oil production. In addition, we look into details how the monitoring system enhances overall ESP efficiency and reduces the number of trips to the wellsite to adjust the operation parameters. ESP monitoring provides the operator with a good indication of issues related to scale, paraffin, asphaltenes, or system plugging to start chemical treatment promptly. In addition, this paper discuss how remotely modifying the ESP variable-speed drive (VSD) operating mode reduced ESP repeated shutdowns due to possible gas interference.