Rigless ESP nears commercial installation

Guntis Moritis
OGJ Production Editor

HOUSTON, Jan. 5 -- ConocoPhillips has scheduled its first commercial installation of a rigless electric submersible pump during the second or third quarter, according to Artificial Lift Co. Ltd.

ALC in cooperation with ConocoPhillips developed the rigless ESP during the last 5 years.

A paper given at the 2009 SPE ATCE in New Orleans (Patterson, J.C., et al., "First 4.5-in. Through-Tubing ESP with Downhole Wet Connect," Paper No. SPE 123996) said ConocoPhillips was interested in developing the rigless pump in order to lower the cost for replacing pumps in sanded up wells in the West Sak Unit on Alaska's North Slope.

The paper noted that wireline-conveyed through-tubing pump sections have been available but these still needed a workover rig to deploy or retrieve the pump's motor, which was run on tubing.

The rigless ESP has a slim ALC designed permanent-magnet motor connected to the pump section that a wireline unit can deploy or retrieve in 4.5-in. tubing with a 3.833-in. drift ID.

The initial pump installation still needs a workover rig for deploying the electric cable conventionally on the tubing string. A wet connector in the bottomhole assembly of the tubing string links the cable to the wet-connector system on the ESP.

ALC also said the production engineering and well services department of Saudi Aramco has plans to install a rigless ESP in early 2010.

Contact Guntis Moritis at guntism@ogjonline.com.

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