Cold heavy oil - High viscosity oil pumps

Heavy oil production has large range of complex requirements.

The geological characteristics of the reservoir and the low mobility of heavy oil make recovery difficult, which means it is an ideal candidate for Thermal Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) techniques.

  • Low well productivity requires drilling wells with horizontal drains, with highly deviated profiles when the reservoir is shallow.
  • Sand production (Cold Heavy Oil Production with Sand – CHOPS) is a challenge because of abrasion (downhole and on surface), plugging and oil handling at the surface.

Viscous oil produced with water can cause emulsions, which lead to high loads on artificial lift systems, high energy consumption and costly chemical. The ability to pump sand and high viscosity fluids has made PCM Moineau™ pump systems the best adapted choice for handling heavy oil production.

  • PCM pumping systems for the cold heavy oil
  • PCP systems for heavy oil production in Oman

Heavy oil challenges

Technical challenges

Huge challenges are involved in developing such reservoirs: very high viscosity (1500 to 4000cP) at low reservoirs temperature, shallow reservoirs meaning low initial pressure, pump intake fillage and increasing GOR along field life cycle. In addition, CHOP faces potential gas and water inflow on low producing mature fields.

Economical challenges

Million barrels of heavy oil recoverable reserves are affected by a price discounted versus light oil. Combined with technological challenges it makes CHOP an OPEX sensitive business that needs very short delivery. 

As an example, the Orinoco Belt heavy oil reserves in Venezuela contain approximately the same amount as the conventional reserves of Saudi Arabia (250 Gbbl). Heavy oil is found mainly in Canada and Venezuela. Many other countries have smaller, but nevertheless substantial, heavy oil resources. Finding a way to cost effectively extract and refine heavy oil will contribute to meeting the world’s oil demands in the decades to come.

HSE challenges

Extracting cold heavy oil on a very large scale using “conventional” production technique requires low profile surface equipment. The compact size of PCPs and lower power consumption versus other artificial lift systems is more environmentally acceptable while reducing capital outlay.

Why choose PCM for the cold heavy oil pumping ?

PCM solutions

A multiphase fluid is a mixture of oil, water, gas and often some solid particles. Fluid characteristics (densities, viscosities and mixture composition), flow (pressure and temperature) and piping and well architecture determine the flow pattern, which in turn defines the multiphase flow behavior.

In oil & gas activities, multiphase conditions are omnipresent -- from the reservoir through the well and up to processing -- and must be taken into account when designing artificial lift systems.

PCM has perfected a patented self-pressure regulation technology called HRPCP (Hydraulically Regulated PCP) that allows PCPs to be used for multiphase pumping. It is available on PCM Moineau™ HR systems for artificial lift.

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