Hydraulic Submersible Centrifugal Pumps

Hydraulic turbine drive submersible pumps have been an emerging technology since the 1980s. They are particularly suited for use in wells where other artificial lift technologies are unsuitable due to high liquid viscosity, high temperature, or high gas-to-oil ratio. The hydraulic turbine drive submersible pumpset unit comprises a multistage turbine mounted on a common shaft with a multistage centrifugal pump located directly below it. They are installed in the well bore as part of the production tubing, by wireline or coiled tubing methods, and are submerged in the well fluid.

The simplest hydraulic submersible pump system consists of a surface charge pump, power fluid control valve, hydraulic submersible pumpset, and a power fluid filter (Figure 16). In operation, power fluid is boosted in pressure by the surface charge pump and is passed through the control valve before being injected down the well tubing and into the turbine. The power fluid drives the turbine stages, causing the pump to rotate before exhausting at the lower end of the turbine unit. The pump suction flow enters at the bottom of the pump and is boosted in pressure through the various pump stages before discharging at the upper end of the pump unit. The most common configuration (open loop) results in the discharged pump flow comingling with the exhaust power fluid and returning to the surface for separation and processing. The power fluid is then filtered and

FIGURE 16 Aquifier lift principle of operation (Weir Pumps Ltd.)

returned to the surface charge pump to begin the cycle over again. The turbine power fluid can be produced water, aquifer water, or produced oil, depending on which is more suitable for the application under consideration. The ratio of power to produced fluid is in the region of 1:1, although this can be varied to suit specific operational flow and pressure requirements.

Oil field artificial lift systems require a high degree of flexibility to take account of changing well conditions that may alter over the installed life of the pumpset. The hydraulic submersible pump is a nominally constant power machine that will use all the

TABLE 7 Typical characteristics of a hydraulic submersible centrifugal pump
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Survival Treasure

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