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Research Papers: Flows in Complex Systems

Analysis and Prediction of Fluid Flow Behavior in Progressing Cavity Pumps

[+] Author and Article Information
Eissa Al-Safran

Mem. ASME
Petroleum Engineering Department,
Kuwait University,
Kuwait City 13060, Kuwait
e-mails: dr_ealsafran@yahoo.com;
e.alsafran@ku.edu.kw

Ahmed Aql

Petroleum Engineering Department,
Kuwait University,
Kuwait City 13060, Kuwait
e-mail: engahmed9221@gmail.com

Tan Nguyen

Petroleum Engineering Department,
New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology,
Socorro, NM 87801
e-mail: tan.nguyen@nmt.edu

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Fluids Engineering Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF FLUIDS ENGINEERING. Manuscript received February 2, 2017; final manuscript received May 28, 2017; published online August 28, 2017. Assoc. Editor: Wayne Strasser.

J. Fluids Eng 139(12), 121102 (Aug 28, 2017) (11 pages) Paper No: FE-17-1074; doi: 10.1115/1.4037057 History: Received February 02, 2017; Revised May 28, 2017

A progressing cavity pump (PCP) is a positive displacement pump with an eccentric screw movement, which is used as an artificial lift method in oil wells. Downhole PCP systems provide an efficient lifting method for heavy oil wells producing under cold production, with or without sand. Newer PCP designs are also being used to produce wells operating under thermal recovery. The objective of this study is to develop a set of theoretical operational, fluid property, and pump geometry dimensionless groups that govern fluid flow behavior in a PCP. A further objective is to correlate these dimensionless groups to develop a simple model to predict flow rate (or pressure drop) along a PCP. Four PCP dimensionless groups, namely, Euler number, inverse Reynolds number, specific capacity number, and Knudsen number were derived from continuity, Navier–Stokes equations, and appropriate boundary conditions. For simplification, the specific capacity and Knudsen dimensionless groups were combined in a new dimensionless group named the PCP number. Using the developed dimensionless groups, nonlinear regression modeling was carried out using large PCP experimental database to develop dimensionless empirical models of both single- and two-phase flow in a PCP. The developed single-phase model was validated against an independent single-phase experimental database. The validation study results show that the developed model is capable of predicting pressure drop across a PCP for different pump speeds with 85% accuracy.

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Figures

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Fig. 1

PCP 3D image: (a) successive two-dimensional cross sections and (b) 3D pump image

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Fig. 2

Video footage of 3D configuration of rotor motion in two pump stages

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Fig. 3

3D video footage of rotor motion showing variations in pump cross section

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Fig. 4

PCP rotor translational and rotational motion in one cycle

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Fig. 5

3D images of pump stator, rotor, and fluid cavities

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Fig. 6

Cross-sectional and longitudinal slip flows in PCP

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Fig. 7

3D configuration of fluid cavity in PCP

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Fig. 8

Single-phase proposed model curve fit to Gamboa et al. [2,15] experimental data

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Fig. 9

Two-phase flow proposed model curve fit to experimental data

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Fig. 10

A schematic of the PCP testing facility at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology Pumping Facility

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Fig. 11

Model validation results at different rotational speeds

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Fig. 12

Pump interference change with respect to pump rotational speed and differential pressure ((a) low-speed, (b) increasing speed, and (c) high-speed)

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