Although the first oil in the world is said to have been discovered in 600 B.C (Before Common Era) and transported in pipelines made from bamboo, it wasn’t until 1859 when “Colonel” Drake found “rock oil” in a well in Pennsylvania which he deliberately drilled, that the new oil economy was born. Since that time the rigs, tools and technologies used to extract petroleum products from wells have evolved in order to enhance production and extend a well’s life span.
Whilst some wells contain enough pressure for oil to rise to the surface without stimulation, most don't, and even those wells that initially posses natural flow to the surface, that pressure depletes over time. This is where the need for artificial lift technologies comes in.
Artificial lift is a process used on oil wells to increase pressure within the reservoir and encourage oil to the surface to recover more production.There are a number of artificial lift methods including sucker rod pump (SRP), a pump that compresses liquid by the motion of a piston, a progressive cavity pump (PCP), which transfers fluid by means of a sequence of small, fixed-shape discrete cavities that move through the pump as its rotor turns, and electric submersible pumps (ESP), a dynamic displacement, multistage centrifugal turbine pump coupled by a shaft to a downhole electric motor. ESP systems offer a wide range of applications and are one of the most efficient, reliable and economical lift methods available. Although geographical and environmental circumstances are taken into account when selecting the most appropriate artificial aift method, even in the harshest well conditions where sand production, high gas oil ratio (GOR) and viscosity are challenges, there is an ESP that is designed to improve well production whilst minimizing production costs and maximizing return on investment.
Suffice to say that not all wells are ‘friendly’ and in Saudi Arabia harsh well conditions are common. Sawafi Borets, a joint venture (JV) between Sawafi Aljzeera oilfield products and services ltd “Sawafi”, a wholly owned subsidiary of Khalid Ali Alturki & Sons Holding Company (Alturki Holding), and Borets Services limited, the globe’s number one provider specializing in the engineering, manufacture, sales and service of ESPs, is addressing these challenges and the current and future needs of artificial lift systems in Saudi Arabia with its field-proven technologies and solutions. The Company designs, manufactures and services all major components of artificial lift systems to enhance reliability and extend a system’s run life under a wide range of demanding oilfield conditions.
The Company leverages its global research and development centers to engage in research, development and the implementation of new technologies that help operators enhance oil production even in the harshest of conditions.
The Borets Vapro multiphase gas handling pump is a prime example, addressing the challenge to produce a ‘sour’ well, a common occurrence in Saudi Arabia. Accompanying the oil production, sour wells also produce hydrogen sulphide, a corrosive and toxic gas formed by the breakdown of organic materials which even in small quantities can cause harm to people and animals. Too much gas arriving at the ESP can accumulate and then actually restrict the flow of liquids. The Vapro pump is designed to reduce the size of gas bubbles and create a homogenous mixture that enters the pump more like a single-phase fluid. In this manner, the highly-efficient Borets Vapro gas handler reduces downtime, improves ESP reliability and helps increase production from wells often considered too challenging for ESPs.
Driving further innovation in artificial lift systems is the permanent magnet motor (PMM). Borets PMMs are proven to be more energy efficient, shorter in length and experience lower heat rise than the traditional induction motor. High-speed PMMs are being utilized in the new WR2 Wide Range, Wear Resistant ESP system. This ESP system utilizes PMM technology to create an efficient and highly flexible system capable of operating in applications that were once deemed cost-prohibitive or impossible for the technology of yesterday. Other pioneering technologies that are shaping the ESP business surrounds the manufacturing process. Metal Injection Molding (MIM), never before used in the ESP industry, is further expanding this ESP system’s capabilities. The innovatively designed WR2 pump utilizes MIM to produce pump stages that handle harsh well conditions such as those with high amounts of gas and sand that are often found in Saudi Arabia.
The focus of the ESP business today is in equipping and empowering operators with the tools and technologies they need to optimize production and maximize ultimate reservoir recovery. In addition to providing more effective, efficient and reliable pumps, is helping operators make fast and informed decisions by providing comprehensive real time data. The Borets ViewPoint sensor monitors and captures vital information from the ESP to allow operators comprehensive system analysis and effective decision making that minimizes downtime and extends equipment performance.
Today, many of the world’s oil fields are going into their late life production and therefore artificial lifting of wells is something that will become more and more important in the years to come. In the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the world’s leading oil producer and exporter, the demand for effective and reliable artificial lift systems is also on the rise, and Sawafi Borets’ new 21,000 square meter production headquarters at King Salman Energy City (SPARK) is here to meet these needs. The new facility which is about to break ground, will include a state-of-the-art assembly line with an annual production capacity of 500 electric submersible pumps; a separate laboratory for dismantle, inspection and failure analysis and will accommodate over 100 employees working on the assembly, repair and testing of equipment. Sawafi Borets is poised to enhance production capacity and meet the growing demand for premier ESP technology and solutions around the Kingdom.