Electrical submersible pumps (ESPs), one of the main artificial lift methods employed in the Western Desert of Egypt, can significantly influence the operating costs associated with producing assets. ESP well interventions are typically complex and costlier than other artificial lift-related workovers. Consequently, it is important that operators develop a strategy to closely monitor ESP-lifted producing wells to maximize production potential, ESP efficiency, and run-life. This case study reviews the experience gained from developing a monitoring program and response strategy to optimize ESP well value in Egypt.
Qarun Petroleum Company (QPC), one of the main operators in the Western Desert of Egypt, operates more than 340 ESP producing wells. Similar to other ESP operators in the area, QPC deals with a range of challenges that can affect ESP performance, run-life, and ESP uptime. To address these challenges, a number of wells were selected for a monitoring program based on the transmission of downhole sensor and surface data. The program called for dedicated surveillance engineers to analyze and review the data in real time to identify any suspicious events that may pose a risk to the ESP's performance. Furthermore, a robust communication workflow was developed to enable the surveillance engineers, field operators, and production engineers to communicate, identify root causes of the captured events, and take corrective actions in a timely manner. Actions could then be executed remotely, eliminating health, safety, and environment risks and reducing the time required to optimize the performance of the ESP wells.
The surveillance system proved to be valuable in several instances. Events that could have drastically affect production, such as motor overheating and gas interference were detected in real time. Flow recirculation was also identified more rapidly than without the system; thus, improving operational responsiveness and reducing deferred production. In addition, an ESP failure was avoided by optimizing the pump speed automatically to avoid gas-locking effects without compromising production. This study showed that production gains up to 9,000 BOPD were possible. Moreover, significant improvements in ESP run-life was observed in the monitored wells when compared with premonitoring performance.
Field case studies are used in this study to demonstrate the well production and operating expenditure improvements resulting from real-time surveillance and continuous performance monitoring for ESP wells and fields.