Metal-to-metal Progressing Cavity Pump (M PCP) technology has become an effective lifting method for challenging thermal conditions, such as for Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD) production. This paper summarizes some of the technical challenges and key learnings following a unique high temperature test on an M PCP system developed by National Oilwell Varco (NOV), which was conducted in a high temperature flow loop at C-FER Technologies. This M PCP pumping system was evaluated by ConocoPhillips as part of their High Temperature Artificial Lift Validation program, the objective of which has been to test the performance of multiple forms of AL under SAGD-like conditions while at high fluid temperatures of 250°C (482°F).
In addition to an evaluation of the M PCP system (i.e. including an assessment of the break-in period, levels of downhole vibration, rod torque, etc.) this program was unique in that it also assessed the performance of the same metallic PCP stator using two different PCP rotors, to mimic a rotor-swapping operation. Some of the challenges encountered during this test program including issues with the downhole completion, high levels of downhole vibration, and significant casing and tag-bar wear. This paper will summarize some of the technical challenges and lessons learned, in addition to sharing some of the key pump performance results for this unique M PCP test program.