Water Power Fluid for Hydraulic Oil Well Pumping
- F. Barton Brown (Kobe, Inc.)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- February 1966
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 172 - 176
- 1966. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 3.1.3 Hydraulic and Jet Pumps, 4.2.3 Materials and Corrosion, 4.1.9 Tanks and storage systems, 4.1.5 Processing Equipment, 2.4.3 Sand/Solids Control, 4.1.2 Separation and Treating
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Water is the obvious answer for a substitute to crude - fresh, sea or produced brine. This paper presents experimental work done on the development of additives to make water suitable for hydraulic pumping. Field testing and recent commercial applications have shown the numerous advantages, practicability and economy of using water as a power fluid.
Fluid normally available for power is the produced crude which frequently lacks good lubricating properties, has too high a viscosity at times and contains sand, water, paraffin and other foreign materials. In the early days of hydraulic pumping, only the open system was available and there was an economic limit to improving the quality of the crude power fluid. Development of the free pump gave impetus to use of the parallel string. A natural sequence was the three-string closed system which provided a better, more economical method of cleaning the crude power oil and opened the door to use of other liquids for power fluids. Water is a liquid with a high bulk modulus and is the obvious Substitute for crude.
Search for Additives
In 1958 an intensive experimental program was initiated on the use of water as a power fluid for hydraulic pumping. Low viscosity, lack of lubricating properties, corrosive tendency and bacterial action all combined to make additives a necessity. The additive should provide the desired lubricity, and it should be a corrosion inhibitor, a bactericide, an oxygen getter and a thickener-all mutually compatible. The additives should also be suitable for sea water and oil- field brines. The commercial non-inflammable hydraulic fluids on the market included water glycol, phosphate ester, chlorinated phosphate ester and oil emulsions of 40 per cent water, 55 per cent oil and 5 per cent emulsifier. But the cost of each was prohibitive, running from $40 to $190/ bbl.
In this early work, an oil in water emulsion of less than 2,000 ppm was sought. Over 200 samples of different emulsions were investigated seeking those that would be stable in brine. Further evaluation of oil in water emulsions and film-forming lubricants was carried on in the wear test machine, the laboratory test well and by field tests. In the future, there may be different types of additives available and the choice will be determined by the particular pumping problem involved. Undoubtedly, the selection of additives will revolve around the type of water being used - fresh, very soft, brine or sea water.
Wear Test Machine
In 1933 a wear test machine was built that used reciprocating motion between the wear parts instead of the usual rotary motion. This machine more nearly duplicated the wear action in the bottom-hole pump and has always been useful in evaluation of both materials and lubricants. For evaluating a lubricant, nitralloy blocks, lapped flat to within one light band, are mounted (Fig. 1). Water runs into the bucket at a constant rate, gradually increasing the load on the blocks.
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