Baker Hughes has installed the world’s first ultra temperature electrical submersible pumping (ESP) systems in steam assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) wells in the Canadian oilsands. Nine Centrilift XP ESP production systems, which can operate at fluid temperatures up to 250 °C (482 °F), have been installed since 15 April 2010.
Cenovus Energy, currently field testing the system at its Christina Lake, Alberta, thermal project, is among the first to deploy the new technology. SAGD production specialists expect an increase in production with a larger steam chamber and less viscous oil at higher steaming temperatures.
The ultra temperature ESP system design is the result of several years of intensive research and development in specialised testing facilities at Baker Hughes’ ESP product centre in Claremore, Oklahoma, USA. The testing facilities allow the company’s research and development engineers not only to design and test ESP equipment at temperatures up to 300 °C (572 °F), but also to simulate the horizontal orientation and temperature cycling characteristics of SAGD wells. The tests conducted in the dedicated high temperature test loop ensure that the highest levels of reliability are designed into the ultra temperature ESP systems.
Baker Hughes instituted stringent manufacturing, factory acceptance testing, assembly and field service processes to ensure maximum reliability for these harsh applications. The SAGD ultra temperature systems also have dedicated application engineering and technical support teams for this emerging market.
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