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A major operator in the Permian basin’s Wolfcamp formation had a problem horizontal well where two conventional electrical submersible pumping (ESP) systems had failed within eight months. The failures were related to handling gas-to-liquid ratio as high as 5,000 SCF/ STB. The production rates were too high for conversion to a rod lift system and the operator wanted an alternative solution in order to operate in the high gas rate environment.

Baker Hughes, a GE company (BHGE), Artificial Lift Systems applications engineers recommended installing the patented* CENesis™ PHASE multiphase encapsulated production system designed to improve overall ESP reliability by naturally separating gas from the production stream before it enters the ESP system.

The CENesis PHASE solution fully encapsulates the ESP system to naturally separate gas from the fluid stream, preventing the majority of the gas from entering the ESP. The design creates a reservoir of fluid to keep the system primed when gas slugs displace fluid in the well and a recirculation pump keeps fluid flowing past the motor to prevent overheating.

Since the well was completed with 5-½ in. 20 lb. casing it would not accommodate the traditional CENesis PHASE system. However, with the recently developed slimline CENesis PHASE system, featuring a 300 series FLEXPump™ 6 production pump combined with a 338 GI™ gas insurance boost pump, BHGE was able to design an ESP system to operate in this high gas rate well. The system runs through gas locks and increases gas separation, working more efficiently with less free gas.

Challenges & Results
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Challenges

  • Low-flowing well
  • ESP failures and deferred production due to system downtime
  • High gas-to-liquid ratio from 3,000 to 5,000 SCF/STB
  • 5-½ in. 20 lb casing, which limited artificial lift options

Results

  • Increased ESP system uptime and drawdown
  • Eliminated gas lock shutdowns due to gas slugs