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SPE 137208

Monitoring PCPs in 500F Steam Flood Applications
Julian Cudmore and Khalid Al-Araimi, Zenith Oilfield Technology

Copyright 2010, Society of Petroleum Engineers
This paper was prepared for presentation at the SPE Progressing Cavity Pumps Conference held in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, 12–14 September 2010.
This paper was selected for presentation by an SPE program committee following review of information contained in an abstract submitted by the author(s). Contents of the paper have not been
reviewed by the Society of Petroleum Engineers and are subject to correction by the author(s). The material does not necessarily reflect any position of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, its
officers, or members. Electronic reproduction, distribution, or storage of any part of this paper without the written consent of the Society of Petroleum Engineers is prohibited. Permission to
reproduce in print is restricted to an abstract of not more than 300 words; illustrations may not be copied. The abstract must contain conspicuous acknowledgment of SPE copyright.

Abstract
PCP technology has progressed to enable their application in high temperature environments.
Typically PCP elastomers limited the temperature range for operation to approximately 150C, but
the recent introduction of metal to metal pumps has removed this ceiling. Operation above 150C
also provided a challenge for the downhole gauges used to monitor the pump and well performance
as downhole gauge electronics designed for PCP monitoring were also typically limited to around
150C operation.
This paper discusses the introduction of permanent high temperature gauges designed for
application in steam flood wells lifted by PCP. The field trials revealed various challenges and hurdles
which were overcome to design a monitoring system suitable for an extremely challenging
operational environment. The paper details the operational environment, challenges encountered
and successful deployment of gauges monitoring wells produced by PCP’s in temperatures above
400F.

The temperatures are also unstable. which for electronic gauges is a most challenging problem to overcome. Also a lack of a pressure sensor at temperatures over 150C at the present time discounted this method as capable of addressing the requirement for a high temperature PCP well bore pressure monitoring. and that we would need to look at cable. It is estimated that a tool which may operate for 10 years at 150C will only operate for 3 months at 175C. Operation above 150C also provided a challenge for the downhole gauges used to monitor the pump and well performance as downhole gauge electronics designed for PCP monitoring were also typically limited to around 150C operation. In addition relatively high torque applied from the surface to the downhole PCP can result in tubing rotation. . and our basic ideas were that it must be electronics free to overcome the 200C barrier. Typically PCP elastomers limited the temperature range for operation to approximately 150C. Installations of electronic based gauges at >175 C still have life expectancy of months. Electronic gauges are at their most unreliable when operating with large temperature swings as the changing temperature quickly weakens the electronic circuitry. Electronic Gauge Limitations Silicone semiconductor junctions cease to operate at 260C. but the recent introduction of metal to metal pumps has removed this ceiling. Most semiconductors generate heat in the actual pn or np junctions and so once you take account of the thermal heat transfer from the junction to the atmosphere you find that electronic technologies are still limited to 200C despite many years of work. The Challenges The primary challenge of installing any permanent gauge in a PCP well is the movement of the PCP and the tubing.2 SPE 137208 Introduction PCP technology has progressed to enable their application in high temperature environments. What we believe the industry needed are tools that will survive. The eccentric operational nature of the PCP can produce a relatively large degree of tubing movement. which can easily damage permanent gauge cables. electrical connections and pressure seals to obtain a complete high temperature system. due to the nature of the steam flood application. A gauge system deployed in steam flood applications must also be able to reliably operate in temperatures upwards of 400F. PCP can produce unwanted vibration which means that any downhole equipment or cable must be able to survive high degrees of mechanical stress. Optical Fibre solutions were not deemed suitable for the harsh operating environment of a PCP well.

Lessons Learned The movement of the PCP provided various challenges. exiting the wellhead through a high temperature pressure feed through. The high temperature gauge is mounted in a gauge mandrel above the PCP stator and measures annulus (intake) pressure and temperature. . whereby it is connected into a wellhead junction box. Again damage to the instrument cable was prominent where tubing hangers had been found to rotate. The instrument line is connected to the gauge cable head and clamped and banded to the production tubing. Downhole torque anchors were found to slip causing damage to the instrument cable. Cross coupling cable clamps where utilised to protect the cable from wear where it crossed the tubing couplings 3. and a only a pressure and temperature transducer is deployed downhole using a specially designed permanent gauge cable. The surface cable is then fed to the surface data acquisition unit which processes the output of the downhole pressure and temperature transducers to provided surface data. 1. 4. Wellhead hangers were found to rotate if not properly designed for PCP operation. 2. The high temperature gauge solution therefore relies on uninterrupted and reliable communication from the downhole gauge to the surface processor by way of a high temperature rated instrument line. The Application The steam flood wells were equipped with metal to metal seal PCPs cable of withstanding the temperatures expected in the steam flood production wells.SPE 137208 3 Solution The high temperature permanent downhole gauge deployed in the steam flood wells is free from any electronic componentry which removes the associated reliability issues faced with regular permanent gauges in high temperature applications. Torque anchors that minimised the possibility of downhole tubing rotation were utilised. and lessons learned through regular gauge Installations where employed in the application of the high temperature monitoring system. 5. The instrument line provides a conduit to read the output of the downhole transducer. Encapsulated cable with suitably temperature rated encapsulation was used to help protect the cable from damage both during installation and operation of the PCP. The surface data is available on a local display and also over the operators SCADA connections. All electronics including power supply and processors are contained at surface. The steam flood was shown to be powerful enough to rotate the downhole PCP when it was switched off causing unwanted high speed revolutions of the PCP rotors.

4 SPE 137208 Conclusions High temperature monitoring of steam flood production wells is now possible in temperatures up to 260C (500F). . The downhole gauge must be able to survive high and rapidly changing temperatures as well as be mechanically sound to withstand vibration and shock. The complete completion and artificial lift system must be designed to minimise tubing rotation. The gauge cable must be adequately protected to survive undesirable tubing movement and vibration.