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№ 6 (June 2008)

Wood Group ESPs Solve Surface Pumping Problems for LUKOIL

The international services company Wood Group is breaking new ground in the ESP (electric submersible pump) field in Russia with technology and business approaches that are fit to purpose.

By Pat Davis Szymczak

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Wood Group ESPs Solve Surface Pumping Problems for LUKOIL

Pat Davis Szymczak

The international services company Wood Group is breaking new ground in the ESP (electric submersible pump) field in Russia with technology and business approaches that are fit to purpose. For LUKOIL, Wood Group has successfully deployed ESPs for surface pumping applications in the Kogalym and Kamennoye oilfields. For TNK-BP, Wood Group is also starting a three-year pilot project that leverages the proximity of its Niznevartovsk maintenance facility to the field so as to deliver an ESP that runs longer and more efficiently than its competitors.
Both projects show an innovative approach to cutting downtime in the Russian oilfield and keeping Russian wells producing.  


Wood Group first offered Surface Pumping Systems (SPS) designed from modified ESP systems to LUKOIL in 2005 (three units to start) for use in water flood operations in the Kamennoye field in Khanty-Mansiisk region. Today, LUKOIL operates six of these systems after three more were delivered to Kolgaym.
LUKOIL had to construct the reservoir pressure maintenance system on a tight schedule in an oil bearing region with under-developed infrastructure, particularly with respect to getting high voltage electric power supplied to the production site. Wood Group offered SPS in a closed (Arctic) version rated for 380 V, while commonly used systems required costly construction of power lines and substations for 6 kVA.

From Oklahoma City to Siberia

Wood Group fabricated the ESPs, modified for surface use, at the Wood Group ESP plant in Oklahoma City in the United States. The Wood Group units were delivered to Russia’s Uraltechnostroi Company which manufactures light structural modules for Arctic conditions. “We make this pump for all regions but LUKOIL requested an Arctic enclosure. Most of our end users don’t use Arctic enclosures; you find that only in Canada,” said Boris Aranovich, vice president, CIS/Russia at Wood Group ESP, Inc., Houston.
The Russian firm mounted the SPS units on modular foundations, connected the necessary piping and transported the units to the worksite by rail. Final assembly, connection and commissioning operations were performed jointly with the customer on site. Thus, the three parties – Wood Group, Uraltechnostroi and LUKOIL – completed all operations on time.
“This experience taught us to work jointly with the contractors in Russia, which makes it possible to considerably reduce expenses and production cost, and also the time it takes to complete delivery of the equipment,” Aranovich said. “Henceforth, we will try and spread this experience generally among our customers.”  
The use of ESPs for surface pumping applications is not new to the oil industry. The application is low maintenance, consumes less energy than other types of surface pumping units and costs less to implement. Surface pumping system designs are based on direct drive from the motor to the multiple-impeller pump assembled on the same frame for transportation of liquids at medium and high pressure, with high throughput capacity. The pump can be driven from the diesel generator or electric motor with constant or variable speed ensured by means of special speed controllers. In recent years, the SPS proved to be efficient for the transportation of liquids in petroleum, coal,  agrotechnical and other sectors.
Uraltechnostroi Converts for Arctic Application
What Wood Group did differently was in its use of Russian contractors – Uraltechnostroi in particular – to convert the U.S. manufactured units for use in Arctic environments and to do those conversions and final assembly in Russia in partnership with Russian contractors.
For TNK-BP, Wood Group ESP is doing a pilot project in Nizhnevartovsk. There, Wood Group has a maintenance facility that services about 1,000 ESPs. On July 1, TNK-BP and Wood Group will be launching a three year pilot project to test the efficiency of a business model which bases payment terms on ESP performance as measured by “mean time between failure” (MTBF).
 “We’re trying this for the first time in Russia. If it is successful we will look to expand the business,” Aranovich said. “TNK-BP will evaluate the results after the first year. If they are satisfied, we will go forward. What’s unique is that the customer pays for performance and both the customer and the contractor have it in their best interests to reduce the failure rate.”
Sometimes, it can take an international services company operating in Russia with imported equipment up to a year from the time an ESP is ordered until it is installed in the well. “Wells change their condition over time so sometimes by the time you get the pump to the well, it is not suited to the current well conditions,” Aranovich said. “In our pilot project, we deliver parts to our Nizhnevartovsk maintenance facility for manufacturing there and we can tailor the equipment to the well and deliver it quickly.”
How quickly? Using this “just in time inventory” method for manufacturing and working in real time”, the time from placement of the order to installation is “less than a month; actually only a couple of weeks,” Aranovich said. “We measure performance on improvements in the MTBF and in the production rate. This gives both sides of the contract an incentive to perform.”

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