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SPE 67275 Rotaflex Efficiency and Balancing

J. N. McCoy, Echometer Company, A. L. Podio, University of Texas at Austin, Lynn Rowlan, Echometer Company
Copyright 2001, Society of Petroleum Engineers Inc. This paper was prepared for presentation at the SPE Production and Operations Symposium held in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, 24–27 March 2001. 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, as presented, have not been reviewed by the Society of Petroleum Engineers and are subject to correction by the author(s). The material, as presented, does not necessarily reflect any position of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, its officers, or members. Papers presented at SPE meetings are subject to publication review by Editorial Committees of the Society of Petroleum Engineers. Electronic reproduction, distribution, or storage of any part of this paper for commercial purposes 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 where and by whom the paper was presented. Write Librarian, SPE, P.O. Box 833836, Richardson, TX 75083-3836, U.S.A., fax 01-972-952-9435.

Abstract The unique geometry of the RotaFlex pumping unit results in a constant torque arm (or torque factor) on most of the upstroke and downstroke. The geometry promotes high electrical efficiencies. These electrical efficiencies can be measured by comparing the work required to raise the produced liquids from the net liquid level depth to the work input to the system as electrical power. Also favorable for high electrical efficiencies is the minimized electrical generation of the RotaFlex pumping unit, when compared to conventional beam pump units. RotaFlex balancing can be performed using electrical power measurements, and the amount of counterweight that must be added or removed from the counterweight box to balance the unit can be calculated directly by software using the power measurements and RotaFlex data. Therefore, power balancing does not require knowledge of the weight of the counterweight box and the auxiliary weights as is required with conventional mechanical balancing. To describe and explain the proper procedure for determining electrical efficiency and balanced torque, an example of electrically balancing a RotaFlex pumping unit to the optimum efficiency is presented. Introduction The RotaFlex is a mechanically driven long-stroke pumping unit. Generally, an electric motor drives a gearbox that in turn drives a long chain at a relatively constant speed. The chain travels around a lower sprocket that is fixed to the gearbox and also travels around an upper sprocket that is mounted at the top of a high mast. (See Figs. 1. and 2.) The long stroke, 288 inches or more, is suited to larger pump capacities; hence the RotaFlex is normally used on higher capacity wells. A weight box is attached to one of the links of the chain using a sliding

linkage mechanism. This weight box moves with a chain link at a relatively constant speed on most of the upstroke and the downstroke. As the chain link comes in contact with the upper sprocket and the lower sprocket, the link begins to travel at a slower vertical speed until it reverses direction and gradually increases vertical speed until the link is again moving at a constant vertical velocity. While the chain always travels at a relatively constant rotational velocity, a rapid change in the vertical velocity of the link, weight box and polished rod occurs at the top and the bottom of each stroke (See Fig. 3). The weight box load counter balances the polished rod load through a simple pulley connection. The weight box is connected to the polished rod carrier bar at the opposite ends of a long belt that runs over a drum (pulley) at the top of the high mast. Fig. 4 shows the corresponding dynamometer data and Fig. 5 shows the wellbore pressure distribution obtained from acoustic fluid level measurement. Characteristics of the RotaFlex Unit The RotaFlex pumping system maintains a relatively constant speed during most of the upstroke and downstroke. The linkage of the RotaFlex system results in a constant torque arm (or torque factor) on the gearbox, which is equal to onehalf of the pitch diameter of the driving sprocket that is attached to the gearbox during most of the stroke. The constant torque arm (or torque factor) and positive loads on most of the upstroke and downstroke (when the unit is balanced and the pump is full) result in work requirement by the motor during most of the upstroke and downstroke. At the top and the bottom of the stroke, the moment arm becomes zero and the motor power requirement is low during these reversals. The weight of the counterweight box including the auxiliary weights should equal approximately the buoyant weight of the rods plus one-half of the fluid load. Thus, energy must be supplied to the system during the polished rod upstroke because the weight of the rods plus the fluid load exceeds the weight of the weight box including the auxiliary weights. During the polished rod downstroke, the weight of the weight box exceeds the buoyant rod weight so power must be supplied to the system in order to raise the weight box while the rods are being lowered. For efficient operations, the pump should be completely filled with liquid so that the traveling valve will open at the start of the downstroke and remove the fluid load from the polished rod. Otherwise, at the

Motors are more efficient when operated near their nameplate rating. A. the load and torque again oscillate. An example of the gearbox torque on a RotaFlex pumping unit is shown in the lower graph of Fig. But. the motor will be more heavily loaded a higher percentage of the time.S)2] 1/2 . Generation does supply electricity back to the power system. Generally. the torque factor (or torque arm) is zero near the bottom and top of the stroke. The prime mover of a beam-pumping unit will generally slow down near the middle of the upstroke and downstroke. During weight box ascent (polished rod downstroke). the net load on the gearbox is the polished rod load minus the weight of the counterweight box. In a beam pumping unit.…………………………………. if reasonably balanced. the motor will be inefficient when raising the counterweights if the motor is lightly loaded. the polished rod reverses direction and travels downward. and then speed up as the torque arm decreases near the top and bottom of the stroke. Then. For RotaFlex pumping units. Also. Torque factors are positive (+) on the upstroke and negative (-) on the downstroke. the torque arm is near zero and the power requirement from the motor is very low. MCCOY. but electrical losses occur when a motor supplies excess potential and kinetic energy to a rotating system. the belt absorbs some of the change in load that occurs as the polished rod changes speed and direction. The mechanical torque factor method uses torque factors and polished-rod load and position data together with counterbalance weight to determine the instantaneous torque.(R – PR)2] 1/2……………. At the top of the upstroke. the excess potential and kinetic energy drives the motor and generates electricity3. As the chain link that is attached to the weight box moves and leaves the idler sprocket. The load on the flexible belt and on the polished rod oscillates.5 x Power x EFF / (SPM x CR x SV) . but then dampen and become more uniform. the torque arm becomes half of the pitch diameter (16.…(2) For PR > R and PR < S – R: TF = R . and the overall electrical efficiency will improve4. The plot shows the torque (K inch-lbs) at the output shaft of the gearbox as calculated from the instantaneous motor power measured during one complete pump stroke using the following equation: Torque = 84. as the torque arm is reduced. the pumping unit should be put on a pump off controller.…(3) For PR > S – R: TF = [R2 . During the reversal and during the beginning of the downstroke. 6. L.. LYNN ROWLAN SPE 67275 beginning of the downstroke. For RotaFlex pumping units.……. If a gaseous liquid column exists above the pump and the pump is not filled with liquid on the upstroke. the pump should be positioned below the formation.. When a reversal in the chain link and weight box direction occurs. If a pumping system is rod heavy.. the oscillations tend to dampen and the load becomes more uniform. The instantaneous gearbox torque at a given polished rod position (whether on the polished rod upstroke or downstroke) is the torque factor at that polished rod position multiplied by the net gearbox load at that position.(R + PR .…. A conventional beam-pumping unit operates differently than the RotaFlex pumping system. and the motor is operating in a more efficient range a higher percentage of the time if the unit is properly balanced. and these load oscillations or “torque oscillations” affect the power requirements of the motor as shown in Fig. After the first portion of the upstroke. another method for determining the instantaneous torque throughout the pumping cycle is the mechanical torque factor method.2 J. the vertical speed of the chain link slows to zero and reverses direction. If the pump is not filled with liquid at the beginning of the downstroke when the unit runs continuously. The net load can be positive or negative.7. the weight of the rods with the fluid load will exceed the weight of the weight box plus auxiliary weights and the system may actually drive the motor to a speed greater than its synchronous speed and into the generation phase that is inefficient. and then. During the weight box descent (polished rod upstroke). P-O-C.. PODIO.. motors operating at light loads are relatively inefficient. the motor speeds up..…(4) . and the motor is actually driven into generation at the top and the bottom of each stroke. the net gearbox load is the polished rod load minus the weight of the counterweight box. mechanical torque factors (TF) are normally calculated from the geometry of the particular RotaFlex pumping unit. When the pumping system is balanced so that the motor load on the upstroke is approximately equal to the motor load on the downstroke. and the torque factor increases approximately sinusoidally to maximum values near the middle of the upstroke and downstroke..…(1) At the beginning of the polished rod upstroke. N.………………. the TF can be calculated at various polished rod positions from zero (bottom of stroke) to a stroke length of S by the following equations: For PR < R: TF = [R2 ..8 inches) and is constant throughout the remainder of the polished rod upstroke until the chain link comes in contact with the drive sprocket. The torque factor is the same value at any polished rod position whether the unit is on the upstroke or downstroke. the motor will be relatively efficient when raising the rods if the motor is reasonably loaded. or a more efficient downhole gas separator should be utilized.. or time-clocked2 so that the pumping unit will only operate when the pump is full to improve overall efficiency1. RotaFlex Mechanical Torque Analysis and Balancing In addition to using instantaneous motor power measurements to determine gearbox torque. The reason that the RotaFlex pumping system is relatively efficient is that the motor is more uniformly loaded. 6. and the torque factors are calculated relative to the position of the polished rod.

Table 1. FIELD TEST The Mallet Land & Cattle Co. allowing the free gas from the formation to separate from the liquid and flow up the casing annulus. The gas/liquid separation capacity8 of the 27/8” tubing on the inside of 5-1/2” casing is approximately 635 B/D which exceeds the pump capacity of 423 B/D. The upward kicks at 16 to 16. 7. A downward kick on the acoustic chart at 16. The overall system efficiency is 56. 50 is the RotaFlexequipped well tested. while the liquid that flows downward and enters the pump.SPE 67275 ROTAFLEX EFFICIENCY AND BALANCING 3 The net load (Wn) on the gearbox during weight box ascent (weight box moving upward and polished rod downstroke) is the polished rod load less the weight of the counterweight box.85.8 PSI) casing pressure and the low (57. and pump depths. One vibration anomaly is at 5. so these vibrations are about 9. the RotaFlex has a better ITE than the Mark II or the Conventional pumping unit. compares various parameters for a RotaFlex. The pump card shows that the pump is being filled with liquid. A 75 horsepower NEMA D motor is utilized as the prime mover.514 seconds indicates that the fluid level is below the casing perforations. These reversals vibrate the gas gun microphone and were noted when viewing the acoustic trace before the gas gun generated the acoustic pulse to determine liquid level depth.3 SPM. Corods were installed in the well after problems occurred with the use of conventional rods. rod-pumped well.. or Wn = W– CB ……. The Corods have not failed and are operating efficiently. and the second vibration anomaly is at 14.7 PSI) PBHP cause negligible resistance to the fluid flow from the high pressure (2000 PSI) formation into the wellbore.. Since the velocity of the polished rod on the upstroke and downstroke are relatively constant. The 2” pump and 2-7/8” seating nipple are set 52 feet below the bottom of the casing perforations. of the auxiliary weights in the counterweight box should be removed to reduce the counterbalance torque by 41. The software calculates all these numbers from the measured power data and well file database.394 seconds.6% of the power supplied to the motor. or Twn = TF x Wn ……..6%. Corods and a long stroke pump are utilized. The top Corod is 86% loaded at a service factor of 0. The casing annulus gas flow rate is approximately 13 MCF per day.…(6) The Index of Torsional Effectiveness (ITE) is a factor that indicates the variance of the net gearbox torque throughout a cycle.. The torque analysis appears in the lower portion on the same Fig. Power can be converted to torque using Equation 1 discussed earlier or shown in Fig. the amount of power required to raise the liquid produced by the well from the net liquid level depth is 56. Following is a description of the configuration of the equipment installed on the well: The RotaFlex unit is a model 1100 with a 306-inch stroke. Liquid is flowing from the casing perforations into the wellbore and falling to the pump intake. Two vibration anomalies are shown on the acoustic trace. . A traveling valve test indicated that the pump leakage was approximately 4 BPD. The maximum liquid inflow into the wellbore is obtained. The API designation is R-320500-306. 6 were obtained at the same time the dynamometer data was acquired.. The power measurements shown in Fig. 5. pump card. A 50 horsepower motor would operate this system. The result of RotaFlex pumping unit’s more uniform gearbox torque load and lower peak gearbox torque requirement is the use of a smaller gearbox. The higher the ITE. and the measured downstroke peak torque was 202. 5. The measured upstroke peak torque was 119. The dynamometer surface cards. That is. Conventional and Mark II pumping units. for the same net lift and production rate.09 seconds apart (60 SEC / 3. This gas separation technique of setting the seating nipple below the producing interval results in efficient separation of free gas from liquid and improves pump efficiency when the gas/liquid separation capacity8 of the tubing/casing combination exceeds the pump capacity.3 SPM / 2).. expressed as a percent. This is an efficient pumping system.800 inch-pounds.…. The 2 inch pump is set below the formation. Gas interference is not a problem even in this relatively highvolume.…………………….500 lbs. but the additional horsepower may be desired during certain well conditions. and the gas/liquid separation capacity8 of the 2-7/8” tubing on the inside of 5-1/2” casing exceeds the pump capacity of this high volume pump so that gas interference in the pump is not a problem. Approximately 2.5 seconds on the acoustic trace identifies the depth of the casing perforations (7669-8049 Feet). the surface card tends to exhibit a rectangular shape. The pumping unit is running at 3. 6. A 75 horsepower Nema D motor. The ITE is a tool to compare different pumping units for the same wells with comparable production rates. traveling valve test and rod loadings are shown in Fig. ITE is the ratio of the average net torque to the peak torque. For the same pump displacement. The configuration forms a natural gas separator.900 inchpounds.309 seconds. An acoustic liquid level test is shown in Fig.. A complete well analysis was performed to fully evaluate the well’s performance6. well No. or the net load (Wn) on the gearbox during polished rod upstroke (polished rod upstroke and counterweight box moving downward) is the polished rod load less the weight of the counterweight box.100 inch-pounds. Chevron USA Inc operates the well.……………………. pump intake pressures. The standing valve did not leak and the pump is operating properly. The low (36. the more effective a particular pumping unit geometry is in converting the polished rod load into a uniform torsional load.. The power or torque required on the upstroke is less than the power or torque required on the downstroke.…(5) Thus the net gearbox torque (Twn) at any polished rod position is equal to the torque factor at that polished rod position times the net load at that polished rod position. The anomalies (or vibrations) occur when the pumping unit reverses direction at the top and bottom of each stroke.

the load on the polished rod will continue to bleed off and the counterweight box and auxiliary weights will weigh more than the polished rod. the polished rod positions. Motors operate more efficiently near rated output. the pumping system was even more closely balanced. On a RotaFlex. which is all of the time required to remove all the liquids from the well bore. The brake can be momentarily released and reset. More efficient electrical operations will be obtained if average power is balanced rather than peak torques. ANALYSIS After balancing. PODIO. and the average power requirement was reduced from 27. 8 shows the polished rod load while the system was pumping and then stopped on the upstroke with the brake set.132 lbs.5%. The operator has the option of balancing the peak torques on the upstroke and downstroke. In order to determine the weight of the weight box plus auxiliary weights.800 inch-lbs.6 to 57. but are available upon request. the belt did not move when the brake was released. After another 1.058 lbs. the RotaFlex system is producing all of the liquid available efficiently from the well. A. MCCOY. of weights were removed from the weight box. the polished rod peak loadings. of auxiliary weights were removed. The second and third dynamometer and power tests are not shown due to space limitations. Notice that 90% of the polished rod power of 29. After the balanced condition was noted. or balancing the average power usage on the upstroke and the downstroke. Fig.4 HP. The relatively good system efficiency. the unit was counterweight box heavy and more power and torque were required raising the weight box than the rods. the load on the polished rod will decrease. The load at 46 seconds was 25. The torque was more closely balanced after 782 lbs. The surface dynamometer cards and the pump cards after the unit is balanced are shown in Fig. If the brake is held longer.800 inchpounds to 150. 6 also shows the power and torque usage after the system was balanced. A summary of measured values is presented in Table 3. the polished rod loads. The polished rod horsepower. and the load measured by the horseshoe transducer is equal to the load in the belt that is attached to the counterweight box.7 hours per day. The motor will be more efficient if the average power on the upstroke is balanced against the average power on the downstroke so that the motor will be operating overall at a higher efficiency.4 HP is transferred to the pump power of 26. The overall system efficiency increased from 56.4 J. If the pumping unit is stopped near the middle of the upstroke. the geometry of the polished rod load and the counterweight box is symmetrical. The cost of electricity was reduced approximately $14 per month. which is relatively efficient. At this balanced condition.000 inch-pounds. The resulting power and torque data is shown in Fig. N. This weight can be measured accurately using the horseshoe transducer. to 150. Finally. 6. of weights were removed from the weight box. The RotaFlex unit is operated using a P-O-C that pumps the well approximately 19. the belt will not move because the loads are equal. The polished rod/motor efficiency increased slightly since the motor is operating in a more efficient range during the upstroke. and the dynamometer test shows a further decline in the polished rod load. The RotaFlex pumping system can also be balanced by using the mechanical loadings of the system rather than the electrical loadings on the motor. was 57. If the brake is held until some of the fluid load bleeds from the polished rod. The average power consumption was decreased from 27. and the polished rod minimum loadings remained similar as expected. To balance the gearbox peak torque loadings by mechanical means. Initially. Fig. The unit’s upstroke and downstroke torques are balanced after removal of the excess auxiliary weights and peak gearbox torque is reduced from 202.000 inch-lbs. the maximum gearbox load was reduced from 202. This technique of balancing the unit is based on making the peak torque on the upstroke equal the peak torque on the downstroke. 9. The high efficiency is probably due to the Corods having less metal-tometal sliding friction and the Corods having less resistance to fluid flow from the pump to the surface up the tubing. from the counterweight heavy box reduced excessive power usage and gearbox load. Periodically releasing then resetting the brake showed that at 46 seconds after data acquisition began. when balanced. LYNN ROWLAN SPE 67275 The process of balancing the torque was undertaken in stages over a one-hour period as shown in Table 2. the weight of the rods plus the fluid load will exceed the weight of the counterweight box plus auxiliary weights if the system is approximately balanced during normal operation. the counterbalance effect can be measured. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS The authors thank David Jennings from Chevron USA Inc for the help provided in making the field measurements and compiling all of the necessary data on the number 50 well on the Mallet Land & Cattle Company lease.5 KW to 27 KW. However. and the counterbalance weight of the weight box and auxiliary weights must be known. L. Removing approximately 2760 lbs.5 KW to 27 KW.5%. the brake was reset. . After the unit was balanced. the peak torques on the upstroke and downstroke should be balanced if the gearbox torque rating would be exceeded if balancing by power usage. until a balanced condition occurs when the load on the polished rod is equal to the weight of the counterweight box. approximately 2760 lbs. This polished rod load is equal to the weight of the counterweight box plus auxiliary weights.

Podio.. Podio: "Timer Control of Beam Pump Run Time Reduces Operating Expense. Lubbock. strokes per minute SV = Speed Variation.L. Podio: "Application of Real-Time Measurement of Motor Power to Determination of Beam Pump Efficiency. Texas Tech University. . McCoy. Texas Tech University.. Richardson. Forrest Collier and A.. Becker: "Total Well Management-A Methodology for Minimizing Production Cost of Beam Pumped Wells". April 1996. Texas. McCoy. April 1999. Texas Tech University. and A. Texas Tech University.L. McCoy. 4. pp. J. A.N." Oil and Gas Journal. 7. and J.." Southwestern Petroleum Short Course. B. Lubbock. inches R = Radius of the Driving Sprocket. Ott. Texas Tech University. Paper 95-26. J. 5. McCoy. Lynn Rowlan and Jim McCoy: "Artificial Lift Power Efficiency. J.N. inches SPM = pumping speed. Lea.F. May 18. 8. April 1998. inches W =Load on the polished rod Wn = net load on the gearbox at a specific polished rod position (either upstroke or downstroke) References: 1. Podio." Southwestern Petroleum Short Course. Minissale: "Beam Pumps Surpass ESP Efficiency. 1992. May. 6. Dieter Becker and A. A. 1995. Texas." Southwestern Petroleum Short Course. 3. 2.L.SPE 67275 ROTAFLEX EFFICIENCY AND BALANCING 5 Nomenclature CB = Weight of the counterweight box including auxiliary weights CR = pumping speed to gearbox sprocket rotational speed ratio (chain ratio) EFF = Motor to gearbox output shaft efficiency Power = Instantaneous Input Motor Power (KW) PR = Polished Rod Position. J.. SPE.N.L.D. J. Texas. J. The Petroleum Society of CIM. Lubbock. inches S = Stroke Length. Russ Ott and Mike Woods: "Electrical Motor Power Measurement as the Key for Optimized Rod Pumping. Texas." Southwestern Petroleum Short Course. Lea. McCoy. minimum speed / average speed TF = Torque factor.: "Reducing Electrical Consumption of Beam Pumping Units by Properly Counterbalancing Using PC Software. Podio: "Improved Downhole Gas Separators.N.F. Texas.L." SPE 36080. J. April 1995. April 1995." Southwestern Petroleum Short Course. Russ et al. Drake and D. Lubbock. Texas. Lubbock. 7275.N. April 1999.

58 33.8 80. PARAMETER RotaFlex Conventional Mark II Peak Polished Rod Load [PPRL] Peak Torque [K in-lbs] Stroke Length [Inches] Plunger Size [Inches] Stroke per Minute ITE [%] Rated Gearbox Size [K in-lbs] Pump Displacement [BPD] 26. Time Kin-lbs Kin-lb Kin-Lb Lbs Lbs Lbs removed Lbs 12:30 13:02 13:19 13:29 119.000 32.0 912 640 Table 2.200 32. Conventional and Mark II Pumping Units Parameters.8 Overall System Efficiency.5 29.522 1128 192 2. removed. Torque.2 Polished Rod Power. Motor Input PPRL.8 180. weights Effect Test. MPRL. PODIO.9 134.2 202.5 1280 640 25. % 56.700 13.5 26. Summary of Measured Values. MCCOY.1 135.6 57.7 29. HP 29.4 72. Time Lbs Lbs HP 12:30 13:02 13:19 13:29 32.5 .5 72.1 Pump/ Motor Efficiency.1 57. Torque.8 36.7 81.329 974 216 2. HP 26.200 36.5 147. % 80.900 14. removed.8 320 640 27. Comparison of RotaFlex. N.6 56.9 36.100 32.2 72.25 5.4 Polished Rod/Motor Efficiency. A.6 J.7 26. Peak Peak Calculated Weights Cumulative Cumulative CounterUpstroke Downstroke Balanced To be Weight Weight No.7 29.000 13.2 148. % 72.5 162.25 6.495 176.5 36.2 150 161 158.25 4. Power.30 25.1 288 2.200 14. Balancing of Rotaflex Pumping Unit Staged Over a One-Hour Period. L. LYNN ROWLAN SPE 67275 Table 1. of balance Torque.1 44.6 2500 1300 800 100 0 782 1058 923 0 782 1847 2760 0 17 25132 40 60 Table 3.4 148.6 26. Removed.4 Pump Power.5 80.

3 – Kinematics for RotaFlex Pumping Unit with Balanced Upstroke and DownStroke Torques . 2 – RotaFlex Chain Drive Fig.SPE 67275 ROTAFLEX EFFICIENCY AND BALANCING 7 Fig. 1 – RotaFlex Pumping Unit Fig.

PODIO. N. 5 . A.8 J. LYNN ROWLAN SPE 67275 Fig. 4 Fig. L. MCCOY.

7 Fig. 6 Fig. 9 . 8 Fig.SPE 67275 ROTAFLEX EFFICIENCY AND BALANCING 9 Fig.