Case Studies

Case Study 3: High Sand & High Gas

V-4 x 100 Stage Pump Completes 1st Year of Operation

Permian Basin, Reagan County, Texas

Timing: Early June 2016 – August 2017

Key Message

Continuous high sand; sand bridging at horizontal / heel; V-Pump™ drawdown overcomes sand bridges.

Well Challenge

  • Major operator suffered early (conventional) ESP failure due to sand erosion / pump plugged with frac sand.
  • Well was known to be high sand
  • The V-Pump has operated trouble-free for more than one year.
  • V-Pump continued to operate in high gas fraction conditions
  • V-Pump continues to operate smoothly as minor sand bridges occur (2 x daily) and washes them away by pulling 50 – 150psi additional drawdown.


Well Characteristics

Casing 5½", 17#
Tubing 2 ⅞ "
Temperature 170°F
Pump Intake Depth 7,210ft MD; 7,210ft TVD
Sensor 7,260ft TVD \ MD
Kick Off Point (KOP) 7,390ft
Horizontal Section 9,100ft long
Total Depth 17,179ft MD; 7,880ft TV
Well Type Unconventional well, Fractured with 100mesh sand

Key Success Factors (attributed to the V-Pump):

  • The V-Pump continues to survive sustained high sand production.
  • The heel horizontal section bridges-over with sand typically 1 – 2 times per day. This is shown as a sudden drop in PIP and rapid rise in free gas evolved from the produced fluid. The ΔP across the bridge will typically break down the bridge; the well continues producing, and the V-Pump just rides through the event.
  • The V-Pump is occasionally shut down for operational reasons; the V-Pump always restarted, there has been no pump plugging due to sand 'fall-back' (due to the 'open' design of the pump stage).
  • No Gas-Locking: The V-Pump continues reliably pumping throughout moderate gas slugs / high GVF.
  • Run life: 13 months (400 days), installation pulled due to pump failure (corrosion, broken shaft).

Why Was The V-Pump Selected?

The V-Pump was selected by the operator due to its sand resistance and gas handling capabilities.

What Has Been the Experience?

The previous ‘conventional, centrifugal ESP’ failed very quickly. The V-Pump has produced at higher rate and survived gas and sand slugging for more than a year. The performance still met curve right up until pump failure (400+ days).

Are There Any Learnings from This?

The V-Pump has operated successfully in this high sand, high gas well for a year. Repeated minor sand bridging caused by migrating sand dunes in the horizontal section coalescing at the heel can be dispersed by the V-Pump maintaining flow, pumping the BH pressure down until sand bridge breaches, sand is then swept away and produced through the pump. High sand or gas will often fail a conventional ESP very quickly. The V-Pump will withstand these 2 main ESP killers.

V-Pump Well Completed Well – V-Pump Set Immediately Above KOP

Figure 1: Case Study #3 well diagram, completed with 100 stage V4 pump.

Steady-State Operation with Persistent Sand Production, Sand Bridging

The well is moderate GVF, circa 70% at pump intake due to relatively high well P.I. Free gas / liquid slugging is barely evident.

Sand production continues to be significant. Continuous sand production is very low but sand 'episodes' occur approximately 2 x daily. Inspection of the In Spatial monitoring trace indicates what is happening; sand accumulates at the heel end of the well until the well bridges-off. At that point the PIP plunges until the differential across the sand bridge is sufficient to dislodge it.

Sand Tolerance

The V-Pump is largely unaffected by sand; sand does not erode the pump and it is extremely rare for sand to plug the pump. The pump may plug but generally only if the sand concentration in the produced fluid is greater than 50%.

Much of the sand production encountered is the product of sand episodes rather than steady-state sand production. This is illustrated in figure 2 – 2 x sand bridging episodes; these generally break with 50 – 150psi differential pressure.

Figure 2: Case Study #3 well illustrating sand bridges forming 2 x per day.

Figure 3: Case Study #3 well illustrating sand bridges forming repeatedly over a 1 month period.

Figure 4: Case Study #3 well illustrating the first 12 months of production.




Case Study 1: Sand & Reliability

Our results in this application are excellent. Since installation of the V-Pump in December, 2012, the centrifugal pump has been running continuously for over four years.

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Case Study 2: High Sand & High Gas

Our V-Pump's capabilities with sand resistance and gas handling made it a perfect solution for a well in the Permian Basin. Our V-Pump achieved several success factors, including producing 60% more fluid than the conventional ESP.

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Case Study 3: High Sand & High Gas

Our V-Pump is performing with excellent results in Reagan County, Texas. There are several key success factors for our V-Pump, including surviving sustained high sand production and reliably pumping throughout moderate gas slugs/high GVF.

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Case Study 4: Ceramic Proppant Sand & Extreme Gas

Our results in North Dakota are very positive. A major operator suffered two early conventional ESP failures due to high gas, with each ESP failing after only days of operation. The operator replaced the two ESPs with our V-Pump in mid-May 2017 and the pump has run continuously and smoothly since then, handling the high GVF production and widely varying production conditions.

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