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Wells

J. A. M FELIPPE DE SOUZA

LUIZ H. S. TORRES, LEIZER SCHNITMAN

University of Beira Interior

Universidade Federal da Bahia

Electromechanical Engineering Department

Centro de Capacitaca o Tecnologica

Covilha (phone: +351 275 329 707)

em Automaca o Industrial (CTAI)

Portugal

Rua Aristides Novis, n 02, Escola Politecnica

felippe@ubi.pt

segundo andar, 40.210-630, Salvador, Bahia

Brazil

luizhenrique@ieee.org, leizer@ufba.br

Abstract: Several studies have shown that the satisfactory oil well operations with sucker-rod pumps is attributed

to the techniques and methods which are able to control the performance of the well. However, the presence of

uncertainties in the sucker-rod dynamical models or parameter variations may jeopardize the desired performance

of the control system and the rod pump system productivity. These parameters are normally related to, for example,

fluid characteristics in the well, environmental properties at the bottom of the hole, electrical components and

mechanical assembly. The purpose of this paper is to use a robust adaptive controller (called IVS-MRAC) to

deal with some uncertainties in the system model, unmodelled dynamics, parameter variations, and the presence

of perturbations in the automatic level control system of the annular well. The results obtained in simulated

environment have shown that the adaptive controller is able to deal satisfactorily with uncertainties and variations,

such as for instance, in the pumped fluid composition (water, oil and/or gas), a very common situation in real

production fields. The fast transitory with no oscillations (typical characteristic of variable structure systems) is

also observed in the plant output and control effort signals. The results are also compared with a conventional PID

controller.

KeyWords: Adaptive control, Control applications, Oil industry, Process automation, Production control, Robust

control, Sucker-Rod pump systems.

Introduction

the presence of uncertainties in parameters, parameter

variations, unmodelled dynamics, and perturbations

are challenges to the control system and they can jeopardize the good performance of a conventional controller, PID.

The aim of this paper is to use an Indirect Variable

Structure Model Reference Adaptive Control (IVSMRAC) based on [6] to deal with the challenges into

the automatic control of the fluid level in the annular well. The negative effects caused by parameter

variations and perturbations are related to some physical parameters of the system or faults of electrical

and mechanical components. These effects may risk

the satisfactory operation of the pump controller with

consequences in the system oil productivity.

method most used in the current on-shore petroleum

industry due to the simplicity of its equipments and

facilities [1]. This method is also considered as the

first technique used to lift oil up from wells. Studies

have shown that its popularity is related to low cost of

investments and maintenance, deep and outflow flexibility, good energy efficiency and the possibility for

operating in different fluid compositions and viscosities in a wide range of temperatures [2].

Although this lift method is already well-known

and widely used, there are still some circumstances in

which improvements in the operational conditions are

still possible, especially when dealing with production control strategies of the pump unit for increasing

the system productivity. The development of low cost

sensors turned possible the measurement of bottomhole variables that assists the production monitoring,

application of new control strategies, and enhancement of the process automation [3, 4, 5].

ISBN: 978-1-61804-164-7

prime mover (either an electric or a combustion mo-

273

movement of the valves have repercussions on the bottomhole pressure. The oil production is controlled by

varying the prime mover velocity, which implies in

the manipulation of the pumping speed, measured in

cycles per minute (CPM). In this control strategy the

variable speed drive (VSD) technique is used. That allows to adjust the pumping speed through a frequency

inverter device [7, 8]. It is important to remark that the

production performance is associated with the annular

fluid level, and the operation with the minimum possible annular level (minimum bottomhole pressure) the

reservoir oil outflow is maximized [9]. The control

objective is to increase the oil production avoiding the

effects caused by uncertainties in parameters, parameter variations, unmodelled dynamics, and perturbations. They are normally related to fluid characteristics in the well, environmental properties at the bottom

of the hole, electrical components and mechanical assembly, for example.

tor) localized on the surface of the pump unit is converted in alternative movement of the rods column.

This same column transmits the an alternative movement to the pump components that are located at the

bottom of the well, that are responsible to elevate the

fluid from reservoir up to the surface. The sucker-rod

pump system could be divided in downhole and surface elements (see Fig.(1)).

3

3.1

Adaptive Controller

often it is desired that an operation range is very close

to the pump inlet level. This operation range is characterized by the complete pump filling with the least

bottomhole pressure possible. That provides the minimum back pressure on the production zone of the

reservoir and, in turn, it increases the oil production

[9].

In this work a robust adaptive controller (called

IVS-MRAC) is applied to a sucker-rod pump. It could

be also desired that the controller operates inside the

range. Moreover, the controller must be able to adapt

the parameters and show robustness in case of process changes, uncertainties, variations, unmodelled

dynamics, and perturbations in the system.

The IVS-MRAC was initially proposed in [6], and

appears as an alternative project to the direct approach

called VS-MRAC [10]. The stability analysis and its

proof in presence of unmodelled dynamics and perturbation, for the case of relative degree one, can be

found in [11]. A simplified version with practical application of the IVS-MRAC to the speed control of a

three-phase induction can be found in [12].

The base that this technique was developed is the

indirect MRAC. By using the sliding mode control

based on VSC (Variable Structure Control) [13], the

MRAC is associated with faster transitory and robustness to the parameters uncertainties, variations, and

perturbations. The IVS-MRAC could estimate the

unit localized on the surface and the bottomhole

pump. The bottomhole pump is a kind of alternative pump of positive displacement of simple effect, in

other words, the fluid is displaced in a one way direction of the alternative movement. The function of the

bottomhole pump is providing energy to (increasing

the pressure of) the fluid from reservoir [1]. In Fig.(2)

the bottomhole scheme is presented. The annular well

and pump inlet level are also shown.

system.

ISBN: 978-1-61804-164-7

274

This adaptive controller provides a straightforward design for the relays amplitudes used in switching laws of the controller algorithm [12], since these

relays will be directly associated with the plant parameters. These parameters, in turn, represent the relationships among the physical parameters of the system such as the resistances, capacitances, moments of

inertia, friction coefficients, etc., that have more easily known uncertainties. The block diagram shown

in Fig.(3) may illustrate the general idea of using the

IVS-MRAC.

np (s) = sn1 +

n1

X

i sn1i ,

(2)

i=1

dp (s) = sn + 1 sn1 +

n1

X

i+1 sn1i .

(3)

i=1

The desired response given by the transfer function of the model reference signal could be written as

follows,

ym (s)

nm (s)

= M (s) = km

,

r(s)

dm (s)

(4)

the reference input r is a part-continuous signal and

uniformly bounded. The polynomials nm and dm are

similarly defined as the polynomials of the plant

nm (s) = s

n1

n1

X

m,i sn1i ,

(5)

i=1

n1

X

i=1

is set as,

p = [kp , T , 1 , T ]T ,

(7)

Rn1

where

contains the elements of i (i = n

1, . . . , 1), i R is the element 1 in (3), Rn1

contains the elements of i+1 (i = n1, . . . , 1) in (3),

and, in the same way, one sets m , m,1 and m , in

(5) and (6). When the plant parameters are unknown

or known with uncertainties, the estimated vector is

given by,

The model plant P (p ) is parametrized in relation with the vector p . An estimator generates p (t),

by processing the input signal u and the output signal y. The estimate p (t) specifies a model characterized by P (p (t)) that, for the purposes of controller

design, is treated as the true model of the plant at

the instant t. The latter is used to calculate the controller parameters c (t) by using the algebraic equation c (t) = f (p (t)). The calculation of the control law C() and the equation c = f (p ) are made

to meet the performance requirements for the model

P (p ).

3.2

p = [kp , T ,

1,

T ]T .

and the reference model are made: [12]:

A1 the plant is completely observable and controllable with degree (dp ) = n and degree (np ) =

n 1, where n is known;

Mathematical Description

be presented to obtain the IVS-MRAC. The transfer

function of the plant could be described as follow,

P (s) = kp

np (s)

,

dp (s)

A3 np (s) is Hurwitz, i.e., P (s) is the minimum

phase;

(1)

is chosen to be Strictly Positive Real (SPR);

of relative degree one (n = 1), np and dp are monic

polynomials set as,

ISBN: 978-1-61804-164-7

(8)

are known.

275

For a first-order system, the vector of the estimated parameters could be rewritten as,

p = [kp ,

1 , ]T .

simulate the proposed controller for the level control

of the fluid in the annular well of a sucker-rod pump

system.

From [14] one has the SISO transfer functions of

the plant dynamical system and its reference model,

respectively,

(9)

and the reference model output (desired response) is

given by,

e = y ym .

(10)

the matching condition, i.e., y ym . The control law

u could be rewritten as,

u = n y + 2n r ,

1 m,1

,

n =

kp

2n =

km

.

kp

Plant

Reference Model

(12)

(15)

where sgn is called signal function and 1 is an auxiliary signal. In this work this signal is defined as

1 = y. The values of kpnom , k p , and 1 are constants. The values k p and 1 are associated with the

relays sizing in the switching laws in (14) and (15).

From (14) the presence of kpnom (positive and nominal

value of kp ) is justified to prevent that the estimate of

the high frequency gain of the plant kp becomes negative, situation that would violate the assumption A2.

Finally, the sufficient conditions to design the relays

amplitudes and, in turn, to obtain the sliding mode,

k p > |kp kpnom | com kpnom > k p ,

(16)

1 > |1 | .

(17)

The argument va v in (14) is a mean-value-firstorder-filter with a time constant and that it is sufficiently small (i.e., 0). It could be seen here as an

inherent unmodelled dynamics that could influence in

the system stability. The stability proof of the IVSMRAC that considers this fact can be found in [11].

The function va v, therefore, could be set as,

1

v,

(18)

s + 1

where v is an auxiliary signal defined as v = e0 uc .

vav =

ISBN: 978-1-61804-164-7

m (s)

M (s) = km ndm

(s) =

3.874105

s+7.671104

In these models the level in the annular well (measured in meters) is considered as the process variable

(PV), and the pumping speed (measured in cycles per

minute - CPM) as the manipulated variable (MV).

The plant parameters kp and 1 used in the simulations are with 10% of uncertainties around the

model reference parameters. The initial conditions of

the plant and the reference model were different to facilitate the observation of the tracking properties. The

simulations were performed regarding the reference

input r, a set of step signals. It was adopted kpnom =

3, 522 105 and k p = 7, 044 107 . The value

of 1 is chosen from the value |1 | = 6, 973 104 .

It was adopted 10% plus of uncertainty and the value

was 1 = 7, 671 104 . The time constant was adjusted along the simulation. It was adopted = 0, 01.

In Fig.(4) the compared response between the reference model output and the plant output is presented.

In Fig.(5) and Fig.(6) show the error signal (in meters) and the control effort (related to the variation of

the CPM - in percent).

It could be observed in Fig.(4) that the reference

model (desired response) output given was tracked by

the plant output. The process variable (fluid level in

the annular well) could be observed in Fig.(4) with

no oscillations in transitory and stable in steady state.

The error in steady state is small and bounded according to Fig.(5) and the control effort is also bounded

in Fig.(6). However, Fig.(6) indicates an input usage

for the proposed controller that in some cases would

be considered unacceptable. Thus, some strategies for

alleviating the chattering phenomenon [12] should be

further studied.

A new set of simulations is performed to compare the IVS-MRAC designed with a conventional

PID controller. By this time the objective is to evaluate the robustness and adaptation properties of the

the estimates of the plant parameters, characteristic of

the approach of IVS-MRAC. The estimates, in turn,

are obtained according to the original laws proposed

in [6],

1 = 1 sgn(e0 1 ) ,

3.522105

s+6.973104

(13)

(14)

n (s)

P (s) = kp dpp(s) =

(11)

kp = kpnom k p sgn(vav ) ,

276

(reference model signal) and plant response.

Figure 7: IVS-MRAC with variation in the parameters

and perturbations.

Figure 8: Conventional PID with variation in the parameters and perturbations.

It could be seen in these new simulations that the

references are tracked by the controllers. However,

in the control system with conventional PID (Fig.(8)),

the parameter variations and perturbations cause a performance loss deviating the plant output in relation

to the reference and the desired operation range. In

the Fig.(7) there is no performance loss and the IVSMRAC shows robustness. It is important to remark

that outside the operation range the oil production is

lower. This deviation in the plant output can also

cause a fluid pound [9]. The fluid pound phenomenon

occurs due to entry of air in bottomhole pump, that is

caused when the fluid level is below the pump inlet

level. This phenomenon has influence on the oil production and the maintenance costs. The mechanical

fatigue of the pump components is also increased by

the fluid pound occurrence. The parameter variations

controllers. It is introduced a 15% of variation in the

parameters kp and 1 and a step perturbation of 20%

on the MV and PV variables. The results is shown in

ISBN: 978-1-61804-164-7

277

fluid composition (water, oil and/or gas), a very common situation in real production fields. The perturbations on PV may be associated to faults on the power

supply of the frequency inverter. Perturbations on MV

may be related to the leaking in the travelling and/or

standing valves [14].

Filho and J.A.M. Felippe de Souza, Pattern

recognition for downhole dynamometer card in

oil rod pump system using artificial neural networks, in Proc. of 11th International Conference

on Enterprise Information Systems, 2009, Milan,

Italy, pp. 351-355.

[6] J.B. Oliveira and A.D. Arajo, Indirect variable

structure model reference adaptive control: Indirect VS-MRAC, in Proc. of XIV Brazilian Control Conference (CBA), 2002, Natal, Brazil, pp.

2557-2562.

[7] R. Peterson, T. Smigura, C. Brunings, W. Quijada, and A.Gomez, A production increases at

PDVSA using a improved SRP control, in Proc.

of SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, 2006, San Antonio, USA, ISBN: 978-155563-149-9.

[8] B. Ordonez, A. Codas and U.F. Moreno, SuckerRod Pumping System: Simulator and Dynamic Level Control Using Downhole Pressure,

in Proc. of IEEE International Conference on

Emerging Technologies and Factory Automation, 2008, Hamburg, Germany, pp. 282-289.

[9] B. Ordonez, A. Codas and U.F. Moreno, Improving the operational conditions for the sucker-rod

pumping system, in Proc. of IEEE International

Conference on Control Applications, 2009, Saint

Petersburg, Russia, pp. 1259-1264.

[10] L. Hsu and R.R. Costa, Variable Structure Model

Reference Adaptive Control Using OnlyInput

and Output Measurements Part I, International

Journal of Control, 1989, v. 49, n. 2, pp. 399416.

[11] J.B. Oliveira and A.D. Arajo, Design and stability analysis of an indirect variable structure

model reference adaptive control, International

Journal of Control (Print), 2008, v. 81, n. 12,

pp. 1870-1877.

[12] J.B. Oliveira, A.D. Arajo and S.M. Dias, Controlling the speed of a three-phase induction motor using a simplified indirect adaptive sliding

mode scheme, Control Engineering Practice,

2010, v. 18, pp. 577-584.

[13] V.I. Utkin, Sliding Modes and Their Application

in Variable Structure Systems, 1978, Moscow,

Russia, MIR.

[14] L.H.S. Torres, Modelling, Identification and

Adaptive Control of Rod Pumping Systems for

Oil Wells (in portuguese), 2012, M.Sc. Dissertation, Universidade Federal da Bahia, Salvador.

Conclusion

In this paper a robust adaptive controller (called IVSMRAC) was applied to a sucker-rod system of oil

wells. It could be observed through the simulations

and analysis results that the desired response given by

the reference model was tracked by the plant response.

The error signal could be seen bounded and small, and

the control effort could be seen also bounded, though

alleviating the chattering should be further studied.

The results also show that the adaptive controller is

able to control satisfactorily the fluid level in the annular well, in spite of the presence of model uncertainties, unmodelled dynamics, parameter variations, and

perturbations. Moreover, the results reveal that the

control technique could increase the production performance and diminishes the maintenance costs (for

example, by avoiding the fluid pound). For future

work is being considered the implementation of this

adaptive controller in a real physical system.

Acknowledgements: The research was supported by

the CTAI (facilities and infrastructure) at the Universidade Federal da Bahia and CAPES (financial support).

References:

[1] W.L. Lake, Petroleum Engineering Handbook,

2006, Society of Petroleum Engineers, Richardson, USA.

[2] G. Takcs, Sucker-Rod Pumping Manual, 2002,

PennWell Books, Tulsa, USA.

[3] G.V. Moises, T.A. Rolim and J.M. Formigli,

Gedig: Petrobras corporate program for digital

integrated field management, in Proc. of SPE

Intelligent Energy Conference and Exhibition,

2008, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, ISBN: 9781-55563-166-6.

[4] B. Smith, M. Hall, A. Franklin, E.S. Johansen and H. Nalmis, Field-wide deployment of in-well optical flow meters and pressure/temperature gauges at buzzard field, in

Proc. of SPE Intelligent Energy Conference and

Exhibition, 2008, Amsterdam, The Netherlands,

ISBN: 978-1-55563-166-6.

ISBN: 978-1-61804-164-7

278

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