Abstract

Leadership, teamwork and technical ingenuity were critical strategy elements that resulted in an 82% run life improvement for Electric Submersible Pump (ESP) systems in the TNK-BP Company. During the past four years, the 12-month rolling Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF) steadily improved from 295 days during January 2006 to the current 541 days in July 2010. This 246 day improvement was achieved across more than 14,250 ESP’s and achieved $307 million value to date.

This case history paper contains insights, best practices and technical innovations used by TNK-BP to safely improve relatively low ESP run life. As of July 2010, TNK-BP had 15,700 active producing wells and approximately 98% used some form of artificial lift. Average production was 200,000 tonnes of oil per day (1.5 million barrels per day) from more than 200 mature fields across Western Siberia and Orenburg region.

The most significant insight during the past four years was the amount of effort it took to change the way the Company viewed ESP run life.

TNK-BP improved ESP equipment reliability with specific technical protocols and innovations. Benefits from longer run time resulted in less deferred oil, reduced equipment repairs, fewer new replacement equipment purchases and better deployment of rigs to perform other production enhancing wellwork. An important technical learning early in the program was reduced early-time failures. A TNK-BP best practice was its ESP MTBF Sector Team for unified communication of strategy, work plans and learnings across 14 regional businesses.

Understanding true root causes for ESP failures had a profound effect for improved run time. TNK-BP participated in the Joint Industry Project called ESP- RIFTS (Reliability Information and Failure Tracking System) and developed its own “state-of-the-art” failure analysis methodology to better classify failures across the Company.

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