ESP Technology Maturation: Subsea Boosting System With High GOR and Viscous Fluid

Barrios, Lissett J. (Shell) | Scott, Stuart L. (Shell UA - Deepwater) | Sheth, Ketan K. (Baker Hughes Inc.)


This paper provides insight into the Caisson ESP Technology Maturation for subsea boosting systems with high GOR and viscous fluids. It will focus on the developmental research on the effects of viscosity and two phase (liquid & gas) fluids on electric submersible pumps (ESPs), which are multistage centrifugal pumps for deep boreholes.

The Electrical Submersible Pump (ESP) system is an important artificial lift method commonly used for subsea boosting systems. Multiphase flow and viscous fluids cause problems in pump applications. Free gas inside an ESP causes many operational problems such as loss of pump performance or gas lock conditions (Barrios 2010 [6]). The objective of this study is to predict the operational conditions that cause degradation and gas lock. This paper provides a summary on the Technology maturation for a high scale ESP Multi-Vane Pump (MVP) for high GOR fields to in support of Shell's BC-10 developments. These novel projects continue the long tradition of Shell's leadership in the challenging deepwater environment. This paper will describe the capability and effects of viscosity and two phase (liquid & gas) fluids using a MVP 875 series G470 as a charged pump in a standard ESP system 1025 series tandem WJE 1000 mixed-type pump.

Extensive testing and qualification of the subsea boosting system was undertaken prior to field considerations. Testing was conducted at the world's only 1500-hp ESP test facility capable of controlling multi-phase fluid viscosities and temperatures. A comprehensive suite of tests was performed in conjunction with Baker Hughes Centrilift replicating the expected conditions and performance requirements for Shell's deepwater assets. This paper describes the subsea boosting system maturity process, and reports the effects of viscosity and two phase liquid - gas fluids on ESPs. The test facility work was performed using pumps with ten or more stages moving fluids with viscosity from 2 to 400 cP at various speed, intake pressure, and gas void fractions (GVF, aka gas volume fractions). The testing at Shell's Gasmer facility revealed that the MVP-ESP system is robust and performance tracked theoretical predictions over a wide range of two-phase flow rates and light-viscosity oils