Abstract

The South Fuwaris and Humma Fields are located in the Partitioned Zone between Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. The South Fuwaris Field commenced production in 1963, with the majority of its production from the Lower Cretaceous Ratawi Limestone/Oolite reservoir. The Humma Field was discovered in 1998, and has the only PZ production from the early Jurassic Marrat Formation. 95% of the wells in South Fuwaris and Humma produce via electrical submersible pumps (ESP).

The remote location of both fields requires all ESP systems to be powered by individual diesel generator sets located close to the well heads. Based on the requirements of the preventive maintenance program for these generators, each generator set is scheduled for lube oil/filter change every two weeks, at which time production is shut-in. The shut-ins result in a considerable volume of deferred oil.

A recent Root Cause Analysis study of the historical failures of the downhole production assemblies of ESP-equipped South Fuwaris and Humma producers revealed that a significant number of failures could be directly or indirectly attributed to the produced solids settling back into the ESP after shutdown. When the well is shut down, the fluid column above the ESP drains back into the wellbore through the pump, causing produced solids to be deposited in the ESP. This causes high current draw during start up and eventually leads to motor or cable failure, in many cases resulting in complete seizure of the ESP shaft.

To avoid the production loss and ESP failures that result from well shut in, the asset management teams in South Fuwaris and Humma have developed a method for keeping wells on line while generator sets undergo lube oil/filter change.

The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate how the downhole ESP is kept running while its power generator undergoes scheduled preventive maintenance work. The paper also demonstrates the in-field applicability of the generator set synchronization technique to the oilfield operations, and how this technique has maximized ESP run time in Humma and South Fuwaris Fields, saving Wafra Joint operations greater than $10 MM annually. As more new wells are being drilled and produced, the annual dollar savings increase even further, through the use of a simple and cost-effective process.

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