Technology Developments to Watch

July 24, 2006
The focus on increased production has created numerous opportunities for pump providers in all phases of the market.

The focus on increased production has created numerous opportunities for pump providers in all phases of the market. Existing products/services are being improved and new ones added. Here are some additional developments to watch.


• The company’s Centurion® centrifugal pump line continues to be a focus of R&D. This pump line features newly developed abrasion handling technology, more head, or energy per pound of fluid, larger vane openings in both the impeller and the diffuser and fewer requirements for tandem pumps, which translates to fewer connections and faster installation times. Additional innovative technologies include patented particle swirl suppression technology (PSS) that eliminates sand cutting damage and Tungsten Carbide bearings that resist abrasive wear. They are available in mixed and radial flow models to accommodate mild to severely abrasive conditions.


• Flowserve has introduced IPS Tempo, a pre-engineered intelligent pump optimization, control and protection system. It improves performance, lowers total cost of ownership, reduces power consumption up to 50%, and improves Mean Time Between Repair (MTBR). The new control tool helps eliminate costly downtime and expensive repairs caused by dry running, blocked lines, pump overloads, closed suction or discharge valves, cavitation, and excessive wear or rubbing. Users can program IPS Tempo to respond to process and condition variables to protect pump equipment against adverse operating conditions, thereby optimizing plant output and pump availability. IPS Tempo adjusts pump operations for flow, pressure, temperature, and fluid level changes. The system monitors process variables and pump power, and offers extensive condition monitoring and control.

• Flowserve has additionally launched a QBQ LZ Mechanical Seal that features a patented design creating a high-reliability sealing solution for light hydrocarbon service pumps operating at low vapor pressure margins. The seal is optimized for service with light hydrocarbons of specific gravity between 0.40 and 0.60 for use in refineries and the general hydrocarbon processing industry pumping ethane, ethylene, propane, propylene, butane and other related liquids. On double-ended, double-suction pumps, where premature vaporization is a common concern, the bi-directional QBQ LZ can be installed on either end without pump modifications or other measures normally required to boost vapor pressure margin.


• Lufkin now provides further automation and diagnostics with its SAM Well Manager® for on-site, accurate control of the rod-pumping system that determines when the pump unit needs to run to save utility costs. The system matches actual well inflow with production through the pump, either cycling the well or through continuous changing of the pumping speed. Full-time dynamometer quality data, along with on-site micro-processing capability, provides real-time analysis and control.

• This manufacturer’s Mark II pumping unit now features improved geometry to reduce rod load and peak torque. The resulting load reductions almost always result in lower horsepower requirements, thus reducing the operator’s lifting costs.


• Schlumberger’s Hotline 550 ESP systems have now exceeded the two-year mark in sustained production of SAGD wells. The systems feature new patented motor designs, special power cable, new pump, new protector design and a special wellhead to provide reliable operation up to 218º C (432º F). This expands the use of submersible pumps to include steam floods, geothermal wells and other high temperature/poor cooling applications previously restricted to other forms of artificial lift.

• Schlumberger also offers rigless ESP intervention. REDACoil submergible pumping systems have resulted in 50%-60% reduction in workover costs compared with jointed, tubing-deployed ESP systems. Featuring power cable internal to the coiled tubing, RedaCoil systems have successfully operated in the challenging conditions of the North Sea, the Gulf of Mexico, the South China Sea and the Persian Gulf.


• Rod pumping well automation is now available with the company’s eProduction Solutions which optimizes production and makes it easier to operate each well.

• In addition to offering a complete portfolio of downhole and surface ESP equipment, Weatherford also now engineers, designs and fabricates innovative Horizontal Pumping Systems (HPS) for a wide range of fluid movement applications.

• This manufacturer is in the process of introducing new HGP, groundbreaking technology ideal for high-temperature pumping applications such as SAGD.

Wood Group ESP

• Wood Group ESP has developed the Vector III series of variable speed drives (VSD) incorporating a patented VSG (variable sine-wave generator) technology for better ESP motor performance, extended motor and cable life, and lower overall operating costs. Proper drive commissioning allows the motor to gradually accelerate to optimum operating speed without high inrush currents and mechanical shock loading. With increased volume range and changing well conditions, Vector III lowers cost by eliminating the need to resize the pump.

• This manufacturer has also designed new pump stages featuring improved hydraulics that translate into greater pump efficiencies and reduced power costs especially beneficial in fields with large populations of submersible pumps. New pump impellers offer increased lift per stage and reduce friction because of the wider vain openings. Thrust pads on the impellers are larger and thicker for extended wear.

• Wood Group ESP has also developed the VCS® vector control system, which consists of two intelligent RTU programmable controllers for programmable control, motor protection, data acquisition and data memory with the capability for real-time data analysis. Modular construction and add-on options allow both the units to be configured via a full array of systems for stand-alone operation or to be multi-tasked remotely from sites anywhere in the world.

Smith Lift

• Smith Lift has introduced the HDESP (Hydraulic Diaphragm Electric Submersible Pump) for use in low volume oil and gas wells. It’s designed to efficiently produce low volume wells typical of stripper oil and gas production as well as gas well dewatering found in coal bed methane operations. The pump is similar to a conventional pump, but utilizes a positive displacement, double acting diaphragm pump driven by a downhole electric motor. It is typically 60-80% efficient at low flow rates, saving about 50% in power cost on average. The initial equipment cost is substantially less than other forms of lift and requires no routine maintenance. The HDESP can be used in deviated applications and environmentally sensitive situations where surface driven pumps cannot be used. The current product offering targets applications less than 2500 feet and less than 200 BFPD.