knowledgebase

Frequently asked questions

A self-serve library of information about Artificial LIft,  Progressing Cavity Pumping systems and Coiled Sucker Rod

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What is the history of Progressing Cavity Pumps as a mode for Artificial LIft?
In 1930, René Moineau, a pioneer of aviation, while inventing a compressor for jet engines, discovered that this principle could also work as a pumping system. The University of Paris awarded René Moineau a doctorate of science for his thesis on “A new capsulism”. His pioneering dissertation laid the groundwork for the progressive cavity pump.

The first use for artificial lift is said to be in the early 1980’s in the heavy oil fields of Western Canada.

It was not until the early 1990’s that the technology was more widely utilized, but still mainly for cold heavy oil production.

Through the early 2000’s the technology started to grow more rapidly both into other applications as well as other geographic regions.

Making Progressing Cavity Pumps relatively new in comparision to the other modes of artificial lift.

Where can I use a Progressing Cavity Pump?
Progressing Cavity Pumping System applications cover wide range of wellbore scenarios. They clearly outperform other modes of lift in applications requiring very low downhole pressure wells, solids handling and viscous oils and/or emulsions, that is the historic application base for the technology.
However, the technology also performs well in low viscosity applications such as dewatering coal seams.

Progressing cavity pumps will always be more efficient than any other mode mechanical mode of artificial lift and because it has a relative low initial cost and wide operational flexibility once installed, it is a very suitable solution for many applications beyond heavy oil and dewatering coal seam gas.

With proper applications engineering and the advancements the service providers have made to the product, progressing cavity pumping systems are a viable solution for many artificial lift requirements that most end users are not taking advantage of.

Do progressing cavity pumps really support a wide range of applications?
There have been many advancements with Progressing Cavity Pump technology that have improved the reliability of the whole system including but not limited to; new elastomer development, unique pump geometries for specific fluid characteristics, a variety of pump inlet subs to provide better gas separation and/or solids handling before entering the pump and numerous monitoring schemes for surface-controlled system optimization.

Progressing Cavity Pumping systems are successfully deployed in medium to lighter oils, mature water flood fields, dewatering coal seam applications, water source wells and more.

They are no longer just for heavy oil, progressing cavity pumps are the most efficient mode of artificial lift, why would you not want to benefit from that in any application?

What are the limitations for Progressing Cavity Pumping Systems?
While ongoing elastomer developments are continually expanding the application window for Progressing Cavity Pumping systems, the reality is that the elastomer resiliency in the wellbore environment will be the limiting factor. Manufacturers continue to improve upon the technology with developments of even wall stators and the non-elastomeric stators to expand the application window even more into higher temperature and higher aromatic wellbore fluids.
Even still temperature, gas content and single ring aromatics are all considerations that need to be taken into account and utilizing strong applications engineering expertise the progressing cavity pumping system can be successful.
What is the relationship of H.P., Torque and RPM?
This can be used on any kind of drive – electric motor, hydraulic to solve for either the speed, torque, or horsepower of the system if the other two values are known.

To find HP: HP = (T x RPM) / 5252

To find Torque: T = (HP x 5252) / RPM

To find Speed: RPM = (HP x 5252) / T

What production chemicals can be used with Progressing Cavity Pumping Systems?
Many Progressing Cavity Pumping Systems are successfully operating in wells and fields that also deploy some regiment of various production enhancing chemical programs.  While it is prudent to get clearance for the pump manufacturer before proceeding with any chemical program, it can generally be said that most chemicals that are water/amine based should be compatible with the pump elastomer.  Many hydrocarbon based chemicals utilize carrying solvents such as toluene and xylene which are very deterimental to most elastomeric materials and should be avoided.  In my opinion the chemical companies are the chemistry experts and should be able to qualify if their products will be safe to use with your pump.  Have them perform a lab test prior for confirmation,
How can you select the proper Elastomer for your application?
Although there is a wide range of different elastomer types, almost all progressing cavity pumps use some variation of a nitrile elastomer.

Within the class of nitrile elastomers, there is a virtually unlimited number of different formulations possible with an associated wide range of mechanical and chemical properties.

Most manufacturers publish guidelines for elastomer selection that are based on anticipated downhole conditions, however each manufacturer has their own formulations, more tailored to suit their individual manufacturing processes than the application, making it difficult to compare one brand of elastomer to any other brand.

When asking the question as to the best elastomer to use, it is common practice to perform compatibility tests with the wellbore fluid and selected elastomer samples. These tests generally provide an effective means to rank the suitability of different elastomers, however they do very little to assist pump applications engineering efforts.

Ultimately, it is important to point out that operators are typically faced with using a “trial-and-error” approach to determine optimal elastomer selection and pump sizing when applying PCP systems in new areas.

Our experience helps to shorten that learning curve and alleviate the uncertainty.

What is Continuous Coiled Sucker Rod?
Coiled Sucker Rod is an engineered sucker rod system designed to overcome the inherent problems created by standard sucker rods.

It is essentially one very long sucker rod, stretching from the pump to the polished rod, fabricated for the well. Removing almost all the connections from the rod string can substantially increase the overall efficiency of the artificial list system which equates into cost savings to the producer.

Effectively removing the upset and couplings every 25-30 feet typical of a conventional sucker rod string effectively eliminates most if not all of the upset and coupling related failures.

Provides incredible benefits in Progressing Cavity Pump and Reciprocating down hole pumping systems

Are the metallurgical and mechanical properties of Continuous Coiled Rod different from Sucker Rod?
No, while each manufacturer has slightly varying product lines, the properties will be similar to the common grades of sucker rod.

All the manufacturers have coiled rod available in various grades and in multiple sizes for a wide range of applications.

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