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PCP System Design

The Industry Challenge:

Progressing Cavity Pumping (PCP) systems emerged in the late eighties as a new form of artificial lift system for heavy oil and other applications where high oil viscosity or solids production hampered the use of other artificial lift systems.

Well operators are required to select an appropriate assembly of pump, tubing, rod string and drive unit to ensure compatibility and efficient operation; however, are faced with a long list of pump Vendors, pump models and accessories.

Once the equipment is selected, the operator must try different operating procedures to optimize the well production. The system is very complex such that even small changes in the operating parameters such as pump speed can have a significant impact on the performance of the pumping system and could lead to catastrophic failures.

The surface-driven, rotary motion of these pumps required new engineering models to assess unique features like torsional loading of sucker rods, pump friction and localized tubing wear to ensure that the pumping systems were operated within their design specifications.

The systems also required safety equipment to prevent uncontrolled backspin by dissipating the energy stored in the pump system when the pumps were shutdown.

How We Help:

C-FER formed a Joint Industry Project with Well Operators and equipment suppliers to develop software called PC-PUMP® to assist in selecting equipment and operating wells efficiently and safely with progressing cavity pumps.

Many of the engineering models required in the software were developed at C-FER and are based on lab and field testing of various components of the pumping system.

A five-day course called, Design and Performance Optimization of PC Pumping Systems, provides both an introduction to the fundamental principles of PCP system design and operation as well as in the use of the software.

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