Pumps and systems for the light and medium oil extraction
PCM is continuously overtaking the state of the art of the PCP by providing high-performance elastomers for light oil, high gas content or medium-temperature elastomer (150°C / 300°F).
Light and medium oil challenges
The adoption of the PCP as an artificial lift system initially aimed at unlocking the heavy oil reserves laying underground in Canada. Cold Heavy Oil Production with Sands (CHOPS) was a very harsh challenge to overcome.
PCM was pioneer to bring PCP to Light and very light Oil since 90’s with the development of dedicated elastomer like very high nitrile and FKM type.
Elastomers had to be mechanically tough enough to withstand strong abrasion and the design of the pump should be able to handle extremely high viscosity.
Once the CHOPS challenges have been addressed, Research & Development focused to push the limits of the elastomers to apply the PCP technology to oils with greater API degrees.
On the opposite to heavy oil, light oils have the particularity to have low viscosity and to be much more aggressive for the elastomer generating significant swelling and generally causing a rapid and severe softening of the elastomer.
Exposed to significant frictions and hysteris caused by the rotor rotation and compression, the swollen elastomers can lead either to severe cracking and / or to rotor break.
To anticipate this unwanted behaviour and to prevent related pump failures, advanced elastomers were developed with great chemical resistance and with a fair mechanical resistance.
Why choose PCM for the light and medium oil production?
Till now, it was commonly admitted that 45°API was quite high for an elastomer PCP to run satisfactorily.
Recently PCM hit a new challenging level with elastomer PCPs in Colombia where a customer carried out PCM PCPs in five wells producing oil at 47°API. Not only the oil was severe to produce due to its very low density, but the wells featured also a high Gas-to-Oil ratio of 200 Scft/Sbbl with very high CO2 content (13%) that was an additional hurdle to overcome.
This extremely aggressive oil generates high elastomer swelling that was anticipated in the rotor / stator fit to avoid over torque and associated internal heat build-up damaging the pump.
This example illustrates that PCM elastomer PCPs - provided an accurate selection methodology has been implemented - can perform extraordinary well in light oil production.