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Review of Electrical-Submersible-Pump

Surging Correlation and Models
Jose Gamboa and Mauricio Prado, The University of Tulsa

Summary which cannot be captured for the Sachdeva (1990) model because
Head deterioration observed in electrical submersible pumps of the assumption that fluid flows in streamlines.
(ESPs) under two-phase flow is mild until a sudden performance Minemura and Uchiyama (1993) observed that the initiation of
breakdown is observed in the pump head curve at a certain volu- surging point is caused by a flow-pattern transition from a bubbly
metric gas fraction. This critical condition is termed surging. Con- flow to slug-flow-like flow pattern. By analogy to two-phase flow
sequently, the head that the pump generates with two-phase flow in pipe, Minemura and Uchiyama (1993) argued that it may occur
depends on whether the stages operate under conditions before at a certain critical gas void fraction. On the basis of simulations,
(mild performance deterioration) or after (severe performance Minemura and Uchiyama (1993) realized that the critical gas void
deterioration) the surging point. fraction at which the surging occurred changed as a function of
The surging, for engineering purposes, can be predicted by liquid-flow rate. Then, the critical gas fraction could not be deter-
published correlations, but the lack of a theoretical basis is a limit- mined on the basis of operating conditions and geometry alone,
ing factor for their application. Mechanistic models seem to be the but experimental data are required.
proper alternative. However, the poor understanding of the physical Estevam (2002) conducted the first visualization study of fluid
mechanism that causes the surging hinders the development of such flow into an ESP impeller. Estevam (2002) classified the pump
mechanistic models. This paper reviews some of these correlations operation in bubbly flow, transition flow, and elongated-bubble
and mechanistic models by comparing the correlation predictions flow. The initiation of the surging is then defined as the transition
against experimental data acquired in a closed loop with water and between bubbly flow and the transition regime. Estevam (2002)
air using a commercial 24-stage ESP. The data cover a wide range observed that the bubble size varied with the volumetric gas frac-
of volumetric gas fractions, rotational speeds, and intake pressures. tion and that it reached a critical size between 2 and 3 mm at the
As a consequence of this analysis, a new correlation has been for- initiation of the surging point.
mulated. This correlation predicts the initiation of the surging as a On the basis of observations in Estevam (2002), Prado (2005)
function of rotational speed and fluid properties. proposed that the initiation of the surging point may be related
to the bubble size and the forces that act on bubbles into the
Introduction impeller. Applying Newton’s second law and instability theory of
Lea and Bearden (1982) classified the two-phase performance of ordinary differential equations, Prado (2005) studied the condi-
an ESP into four categories: nongas interference, gas interference, tion that triggers the instability on the radial position of a bubble
intermittent gas lock, and gas lock. The operating condition that in a centrifugal field. Prado (2005) demonstrates that bubbles of
marked the onset of the intermittent gas-locking regime was termed a certain size cannot escape the impeller because the buoyancy
the surging point by these authors. The initiation of the surging force overcomes the drag force, reaching an equilibrium position
point then became important for practical purposes because the (similar to that of a satellite around the Earth) into the impeller.
instability on the pump operation coincided with the surging. The radial position of a bubble with a size larger than the critical
Sachdeva (1990) hypothesized that the surging occurred once size becomes instable, causing it to flow back to the impeller eye.
the gas velocity into the impeller became zero, which led to the Prado (2005) hypothesized that the surging point may be initiated
formation of a stagnant gas pocket at the impeller inlet region. The by those bubbles flowing backward, which may increase the num-
initiation of the surging is then a consequence of the gas-pocket ber of collisions between bubbles, leading to their coalescence and
formation. Sachdeva (1990) proposed that the surging could be creating the gas pocket.
determined by forcing the gas velocity to zero in his mechanis- Barrios (2007) followed the approach of Prado (2005) and
tic model of the pump head. This mechanistic model is a 1D demonstrated that the surging is not initiated by bubbles orbiting
approximation of the fluid flow through the impeller and diffuser at radial position equivalent to the outer impeller diameter, as origi-
based on a two-phase-model approach. A closure relationship is nally proposed by Prado (2005). Barrios (2007) showed that the
then required for obtaining a numerical solution to the problem. surging is triggered by bubbles that reach a radial equilibrium posi-
Sachdeva (1990) proposed a ratio of drag coefficient to bubble size tion at the inlet of the impeller channel. Besides, the experimental
as the closure relationship. He noticed that the model predictions data show that surging occurs only when bubbles reach a certain
fall off from the experimental data when well-known correlations critical size, confirming the observations of Estevam (2002). Bar-
for drag coefficient in an infinite medium [see, for example, Ishii rios (2007) proposed that the critical volumetric gas fraction (C)
and Zuber (1979)] were used for predicting the two-phase pump that leads to the surging can be predicted from Eq. 1:
performance with his model. Sachdeva (1990) then proposed a 3/ 5
⎛⎞ 1
new closure relationship that is based on the experimental data, d b _ surge = 0.0348 N 0.8809C1/ 4 ⎜ ⎟ . . . . . . . . . . . . (1)
which improved the model predictions. It implied that the model ⎝ l ⎠ (N r )
3 2 2/ 5
1
cannot be used unless experimental data are available for verifying
Sachdeva’s ratio of drag coefficient to bubble size correlation. In Eq. 1, r1 is the impeller channel inlet radius and N is the pump
Barrios (2007) observed that bubbles were dragged from one rotational speed. The critical bubble size at the surging (db_surge)
channel to the other by a severe liquid recirculation between impel- can be obtained from Eq. 2, which describes the radial equilibrium
ler channels. This caused an increase of the local gas void fraction, position of a bubble in a rotating field:

3 m
( 2 N )2 r1 ( l − g ) − (Vrl )2 CD = 0. . . . . . . . . . . . . . (2)
Copyright © 2011 Society of Petroleum Engineers
4 d b _ surg
This paper (SPE 140937) was accepted for presentation at the SPE Production and The model of Barrios (2007) underpredicts by orders of mag-
Operations Symposium, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA, 27–29 March 2011, and
revised for publication. Original manuscript received for review 24 January 2011. Revised nitude the critical volumetric gas fraction at the surging-point
manuscript received for review 4 May 2011. Paper peer approved 21 June 2011. initiation.

314 November 2011 SPE Production & Operations

one can observe that correla- is stable for liquid-flow rate equal to or smaller than the BEP. 1 Pessoa (2001) ⎛ qg ⎞1. On the other hand. At tions such as Turpin et al. and surface tension. (1986) ⎛ 2000 ⎞ qg φTurpin = ⎜ ⎟ (original) ⎝ 3Pi ⎠ ql Dunbar (1989). which is 30 Zapata (2003) 25 Critical Volumetric Gas Fraction . 1—Surging-correlations comparison for a generic pump at 2.000 2. TABLE 1—SURGING CORRELATIONS Researcher Correlation Turpin et al.7 ) 0. and Romero (1999) predict a critical volumetric gas fraction that the gas pocket can be segregated at the top shroud. (1986).15 (1 − λC ) (first stage) ISS = 77.000 Liquid Flow Rate. Table 1 summa- concluded that the initiation of the surging is associated with the rizes some of these correlations. higher volumetric gas fraction than that at the surging initiation. gas density. % Turpin et al.9001 C2 + l q max Gamboa (2009) continued the visualization work conducted The lack of a suitable mechanistic model for predicting surging by Barrios (2007) in the impeller channel of an ESP pump.000 5. (1974). Cirilo (1998). ever.0187Pi 0.92 (1 − λC ) (second stage) Duran (2003) C3 C1 = 5. 1 compares the performance of these correlations for a flow rate. Dunbar (1989).027 = ⎝ max ⎠ qmax q C2 = −0. these two correlations exhibit different behaviors. At liquid-flow rates higher than the best efficiency point generic pump at 2.] In this figure. resembling is independent of the liquid-flow rate and rotational speed. the gas-pocket behavior depends of the liquid.4342 Romero (1999) λC = 0.004 (Pi − 14.400 rev/min and 150 psig.580 qg ⎛ ρg ⎞⎛ q ⎞ = ⎜ C1 + C2 ⎟ ⎜ l ⎟ C2 = 0. B/D Fig.000 3.000 6. as mentioned by Murakami and Minemura variable regression analysis of experimental data. He has motivated the development of correlations. Experiments in Gamboa (2009) indicated Duran (2003) and Zapata (2003) show gas volume fraction at the that the gas-pocket formation is a function of stage intake pressure. However. November 2011 SPE Production & Operations 315 .44 − 75. the gas pocket bubble at the surging. while stratified flow in pipes.400 rev/min and 150 psig with air and water.000 4.6801 Estevam (2002) ISS = 31.098 qmax ⎝ ρ l ⎠ ⎝ q m ax ⎠ C3 = 1. which are obtained from multi- gas-pocket formation.λ c . Fig. handling air and water (BEP).92 − 32. How- rotational speed. (1986) 20 Cirilo (1998) 15 Romero (1999) 10 Duran (2003) 5 Dunbar (1989) Barrios (2007) 0 0 1.421 Zapata (2003) ⎛ q ⎞ C1 ⎜ l ⎟ qg q C1 = −0. surging initiation that is a function of the liquid-flow rate.724 Pi = 935 ⎜ ⎟ ⎝ ql ⎠ Cirilo (1998) λC = 0. the gas pocket is unstable (it is formed and is broken up) [The correlation of Estevam (2002) is not included in the analysis and it reaches stability only at higher volumetric gas fraction than because it is not clear from this study how to calculate the critical that at the surging initiation.

a strong indication that the criterion to determine the initiation of most of the mechanistic models and correlations formulated for pre- surging experimentally may differ between these two authors. This study intends to predicts critical volumetric gas fraction above 100% for pressure shed light on the problem by presenting experimental data acquired above 3. Romero (1999) the development of a mechanistic model.300 B/D with air and water. liquid and gas velocities. 3—Experimental-facility layout. and their The critical volumetric gas fraction predicted by these cor.000 Inlet Pressure. psig Fig. 2—Surging-correlations comparison for a generic pump at 2. (1986) Cirilo (1998) 60 40 Duran (2003) Barrios (2007) 20 Zapata (2003) 0 0 1. Dunbar (1989). The remaining cor. The experimental tests for this study were gas density to the liquid density is included. A Coriolis causes the pump-head breakdown is currently unknown. 316 November 2011 SPE Production & Operations . Therefore. inlet pressure. so a constant value is obtained. application to different fluids and pump models is questionable. and bubble size. by the correlations of Turpin (1986).000 4. which hinders relations show trends that differ from each other. pressures. 140 Romero (1999) Critical Volumetric Gas Fraction . and Cirilo (1998). except that of Duran (2003) in which the ratio of the Experimental Setup.000 3. All of these correlations are independent of the fluid Experiments properties. relations as a function of the inlet pressure is compared in Fig 2.400 rev/min and 4. carried out in the facility shown in Fig 3.500 psig. It consists of a 150-hp The differences between these correlations mean that the main two-stage centrifugal pump that serves as booster pump for the mechanism that initiates the surging in the pump performance and facility and which is connected to a 500-bbl bolted tank. flowmeter (M-1) at the discharge of the booster pump measures Vented Air Horizontal Separator Water Air + Water VCF-2 Booster Water ESP VCF-3 M-1 Air + Water Storage tank Air VCF-1 M-2 Fig. Currently. % 120 100 Dunbar (1989) 80 Turpin et al. there is no experimental evidence that from the 10th stage of a 24-stage commercial ESP handling air supports the high critical volumetric-gas-fraction values predicted and water.λ c .000 5. dicting this transition have a strong empirical component. In part. this problem is caused by a lack of experimental data Note that the correlation of Zapata (2003) is independent of the and local measurements of variables such as gas void fraction.000 2.

the two-phase performance curve is vented and the water flows back to the storage tank [for a detailed obtained by continuously increasing the normalized gas-flow rate.05 2. . . The pneumatic valve (VCF-1) regulates the air-flow The tests used two different procedures: mapping test and rate coming from the bottles. . the water density and mass rate. As observed in the single-phase performance curve.5 psig per stage at 3.300 rev/min. At the BEP. . and inlet pressure.000 4. .01 q gd = 0. 13 Single Phase Operating Operating Window-Lower Window-Upper 11 Limit BEP Limit 9 q gd = 0. of liquid-flow rate at a constant volumetric in-situ gas-flow rate. . . Some of the experimental results stage in order to measure the stage head. Downstream. November 2011 SPE Production & Operations 317 . see Pessoa (2001) and Duran (2003)]. . . .500 and 3. Its mental matrix with 128 performance curves was carried out at specific speed is estimated at 3.000 q gd = 0. the gas and liquid speed.15. . Based on the normalized gas. commonly used in the production of heavy-oil and gassy once volumetric gas fraction is greater than 70% in both cases. . while the normalized liquid-flow rate.000 rev/min. . . . . 4—Stage performance curve from mapping-test procedure at 2. . . . . . inlet pressure between 150 and 250 psig and rotational speeds mented with a differential-pressure transmitter located at the 10th between 1. .02 7 Pressure Increment. B/D Fig. . The normalized obtained at other rotational speeds and stage intake pressures. . qg the stage pressure increment increases as the liquid-flow rate is qgd = . 4 and 5. . description of the facility. . At a certain liquid- qmax flow rate.01 and 0. .400 rev/min. . . . 4 presents mapping-test performance curves at 150 psig. where the air is the surging-test procedure. . . as liquid-flow rate qld is given by mentioned in Gamboa (2009). . while temperature Fig. . a sudden breakdown on the stage pressure increment is where qg is gas-flow rate at stage intake condition and qmax is the observed. rotational speed. . wells. . .000 8. Similar results are zero pressure increment at given rotational speed.04 1 –1 0 q gd = 0. . This operating condition marks the surging-point onset. .10 q gd = 0. . the two-phase perfor- measured by another Coriolis flowmeter (M-2) upstream of the mance curve is obtained by continuously reducing the normalized pneumatic valve (VCF-1). . . and normalized gas rate between 0. an experi- erate up to 15. Dashed lines have been added to this figure to indicate the manufacturer-recommended operating Experimental Program. . . In mixture is discharged into a horizontal separator. These bottles are charged by a stationary air compressor up to a pressure where ql is actual liquid-flow rate. cell on the ESP drive shaft is used for measuring rotational speed Each curve represents the stage pressure increment as a function and torque [for further description of this instrumentation arrange. (3) reduced in the two-phase performance curves. transmitters are installed at the pump inlet and discharge. . .and liquid-flow rates. . .400 rev/min and 150 psig.08 –3 q gd = 0. . single-phase open-valve flow rate at given rotational speed. The density and mass rate of air are surging test. is measured by an absolute-pressure transmitter. parameters: normalized gas rate (qgd) and normalized liquid rate Observe that the difference between the single-phase and two- (qld).03 3 q gd =0.480 B/D and can gen. . . the rotational speed. .12 –5 q gd = 0. respectively. . . . The stage inlet pressure obtained are presented in Figs. psi 5 q gd = 0. The air is injected into an ESP inlet liquid-flow rate. . and the intake pressure are fixed at their setting values. . of 800 psig. (4) qmax pump recirculation line. The water-flow rate is regulated ql by the pneumatic valve (VCF-2) and manual bypass valve in the qld = . . The air is supplied from a group of high-pressure bottles. this pump can handle 6. .000 6. The normalized gas-flow rate (qgd) is defined as phase performance curves is clearer as normalized gas-flow rate is increased. . The pump is instru. . . while the normalized gas-flow rate. . . . . . The test is stopped ESP. . . . The experimental matrix is based on two window and the BEP. In the mapping-test procedure. . and the The pump tested is a 24-stage mixed-flow-type commercial intake pressure are held at their setting values. the rotational pipeline 10 ft from the pump intake. . . . A torque 2. . . The The surging-point onset moves toward higher liquid-flow rates single-phase open valve corresponds to the water-flow rate at as the normalized gas-flow rate is increased. . see Pessoa (2001) and Duran (2003)]. ment.15 Liquid Flow Rate.600 rev/min with water.

2 Normalized Liquid Rate.6 normalized liquid-flow rate.8.4 0. Immediately after the surging point occurs. fraction Fig.2 0.400 rev/min and 150 psig.500 rev/min 0 0 0.4 and 0.000 rev/min 2. a higher stage pressure increment is observed the right-hand side of the BEP. the performance deteriorates at a constant rate until the initiation Experimental Surging Points.6 0. 5 for a rotational speed of 2. Notice that the surging-point initiation occurs at higher ment at zero volumetric gas fraction corresponds to the single-phase volumetric gas fractions for normalized liquid-flow rate located at condition.400 rev/min increment quickly falls down in a short range of volumetric gas and normalized liquid rates between 0. However. The performance curves at 150 psig using the surging-test proce. the pressure increment as normalized liquid rate is reduced. which may vary depending on the liquid-flow rate. fractions. The performance remains equal becomes zero at smaller volumetric gas fraction for these liquid- to the single-phase performance for volumetric gas fractions smaller flow rates. The pressure incre. psi 4 q Id = 0. % Cirilo (1998) Duran (2003) 15 Romero (1999) 10 Dunbar (1989) 3.6 Δ p . 318 November 2011 SPE Production & Operations . the stage pressure dure are presented in Fig. At this operating condition. 25 Zapata (2003) 20 Turpin et al.4 q Id = 0. the stage pressure ric gas fractions at the surging-point onset for different rotational increment has dropped approximately 20%. 5—Stage performance curves from surging-test procedure at 2.8 1 1.5 6 q Id = 0. 6—Critical volumetric gas fraction at 150 psig. 10 8 q Id = 0. tested is located at approximately 0. therefore. 6. % Fig. as compared with the speeds at 150 psig are presented in Fig. Next.400 rev/min 5 1. The experimental critical volumet- of surging occurs.800 rev/min 1. than 2%.8 0 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 –2 λ. (1986) Critical Volumetric Gas Fraction λ c . The BEP of the pump pressure increment developed under single-phase condition.7 2 q Id = 0.

(c) (b) (a) Single-Phase Performance ΔP Mapping Test Two-Phase Performance Surging Initiation Loci (4) Experimental Surging Initiation Experimental Point from Mapping Test (1) (2) Second Transition Onset Third Transition Onset (3) q ld (a) q ld.and liquid-flow rates. The data also demonstrate that faster gas fractions.75 normal. volume fractions smaller than that at the surging initiation. The vertical dashed lines a. 7a.2 > qld.2 (b) q ld. (1986) and Cirilo (1998) predict a the surging-test procedure) are obtained. (2003) shows the best performance. 2. 7—(a) Mapping-test performance curve at constant rotational speed and stage intake pressure. operating conditions where the curve curvature changes (Gamboa ized liquid-flow rate. test procedures. right-hand side of the BEP. 7a are the other discontinuities observed on the mapping-test The predictions from the Table 1 surging correlations are plot. and 3 are operating conditions at which both tests coincide flow rate. The initiation of the surging is represented in Fig. Fig. and liquid-flow rate observed in the experimental data. Fig. None of the correlations evaluated capture the 2009). In these figures.3 ΔP (c) q ld. but the trend Point 3 is in the regime that is enclosed by the third discontinuity differs from that obtained experimentally. 1. Note that the figure are liquid-flow rates at which the performance curves (using correlations of Turpin et al.1. The correlation of Zapata in the pump head. Although this correlation The determination of the surging initiation from the surging-test matches the experimental data. circled points for three normalized liquid-flow rates: qld. rotational speeds increase the gas volume fraction at which the The diamond and squared points (termed second and third) in surging initiates. in the gas. It implies that the deterioration rate is constant at gas effect of rotational speed shown by the experimental data. the deterioration rate becomes a function of the volumetric gas Pump-Performance Regimes.1 (a) q ld. 7 is a representation of the fraction. the circled points represent the ric gas fraction between 10 and 15% at liquid-flow rates at the operating conditions where the initiation of the surging occurs. qld. the operating condition at Point 1 is in the regime that precedes The correlation of Duran (2003) captures the dependency of the surging. 7b as performance curves obtained using surging-test and mapping.1 > qld. and c in this ted in the same figure for comparison purposes. The data show that the surging-point onset is reached at volumet. (b) Surging-test performance curve at constant rotational speed and stage intake pressure. while the surging occurs at critical The dotted line across the circled points corresponds to the surg- volumetric gas fraction as low as 3% for flow rates located at the ing-initiation loci for different liquid-flow rates and volumetric left-hand side of the BEP. The correlations of Dunbar (1989) The surging coincides with the maximum pressure increment and Romero (1999) are also independent of the liquid-flow rate. Then. ues measured experimentally. which corresponds to Point 4 in Fig.3 (c) Surging Initiation Loci Experimental Surging Initiation Experimental Point from Mapping Test (a) (1) (2) (b) (3) (b) Fig. while the values predicted are larger than any of the val. performance curve. It means that range of the experimental data. b. the model predicts a volumetric gas performance curve is more complicated because it corresponds to fraction of infinity for the initiation of the surging at 0. Point 2 is in the regime that follows the surging. while the triangle points critical volumetric gas fraction that is independent of the liquid. (P) developed by the stage in the mapping-test performance however. these correlations provide predictions that fall within the curve.2. and November 2011 SPE Production & Operations 319 .

. Some of the points in the open-flow surging performance curves. however. the regime. It implies that different combinations of rate has little or no effect on the head production. ql ⎛ q  D 2  g  ⎞ There are other boundaries represented in Fig. and 3 are mapped onto the flow boundary in this study. l . This implies that the second and third boundar. 2. qld. . the initiation of the surging is a transition boundary whose physical mechanism depends on the liquid-flow rate. . while qld. 5 can provide the surging initiation is the limit for the transition from mild-perfor. . Operating Condition 1 is again in the boundary are located in the right-hand side of the surging initia- regime that precedes the surging initiation. regime rather than the mild performance deterioration. = f⎜ g3. . Finally. g3. Operating tion. . Thus. which implies that these points are in the other performance Conditions 2 and 3 are both in the regime that follows the surg.60 Second Boundary 0.1 0. 1. 8 illustrates how the two-phase stage performance is brack. On the basis of this mance-deterioration regime to nil-performance regime (zero head assumption. There. Thus.3 is the smallest. . l  D 2 2 ⎝ D D l l l  2 D 3 ⎟⎠ The initiation of the surging corresponds to squared points in Fig. 8—Pump two-phase operating regimes at 2.20 Nil Performance 0.and gas-flow rates where the pressure largest normalized liquid-flow rate. The dashed lines illustrate normalized. b. severe performance dete- rioration. and nil performance. which represent the onset of the pump performance The experimental data shows that the dimensionless stage pres- reverses at normalized liquid-flow rate between 0. same critical dimensionless pressure increment. other regimes that differ from each other. . .2. 8. .2 and 0. increment is zero. the points represent the Manzano-Ruiz (1980) formulated eight dimensionless groups with normalized liquid. . . . . performance reverse slope. . In this figure. and c. (6) aries correspond to the second and third discontinuities that are D 3 ⎝ D l l l  2 D 3 ⎟⎠ 320 November 2011 SPE Production & Operations . the the dimensionless groups in the left-hand side of Eq.400 rev/min and 150 psig.20 Open Flow Negative Pump Head 1.05 0. .3. the performance deterioration after the surging means that the physical mechanism that triggers the initiation of the is greater in Curve c than that of Curve b.80 Deterioration Surging Single Phase Performance Performance Reverse Slope 0. The single-phase stage performance p ⎛ q q  D 2  g  ⎞ = f⎜ l 3. as shown in Eq. In this sure increment at surging initiation remains constant. It indicates that the physical phenomenon that initiates performance curve. One can notice that the explained in Appendix A. This result ing. . 5 remains constant at a severe-performance-deterioration regime where the liquid-flow the initiation of the surging. These bound.4. However. Fig. respectively. qld. At normalized liquid-flow rate between a function of the intake pressure and rotational speed.00 Mid Performance Normalized Liquid Rate 0. .00 0 0. the two-phase stage performance stage performance is mapped into four regimes: mild performance could be represented as deterioration. . as pattern map in two-phase flow in pipes. .15 Normalized Gas Rate Fig. . The diamonds Fig. the reduction of liquid-flow rate caused a decrease of the volumetric gas fraction at the initiation of the surging changes as stage pressure increment. 8. one 0. This boundary has been designed as an open- When Operating Conditions 1. l .4 and 0.1 is the correspond to the liquid. .8. which coincides with surging in the stage operation can also be observed at zero pressure the pressure-increment performance observed in the mapping-test increment. Note that these points correspond to the same circled point in represented by triangles and circles. Nevertheless. . groups can be proposed at the surging initiation. a functional relationship between these dimensionless creation) at normalized liquid-flow rates smaller than 0. . 6: fore.40 Severe Performance Deterioration Third Boundary 0. Surging Correlation eted by these discontinuities. . the initiation of the surging marks the transition to can assume that the right-hand side of Eq. Thus. . (5) is represented in this figure as a vertical line lying on the y axis. . regarded on the basis of the order of magnitude of their values.and gas-flow rates where the discontinuity is which the two-phase performance of a centrifugal pump could be identified from the experimental data. 7a for the liquid-flow rates at Lines a. the surging is affected by the stage pressure increment but is not ies are transitions between a mild head deterioration regime to two originated by the stage pressure increment. Some of these dimensionless numbers could be dis- the trend followed by these boundaries in analogy to the flow.

the dimensionless pressure. .0005 0. . . .7 Normalized Liquid Rate. . . 9. definitions given in Eqs.and gas-flow rates are replaced by and 1. . . . C2. . . .2 2.102 exp ( qld ) ⎤⎦ 4. In addi- tion. . Eq.2 ⎛ D 2 ⎞ 0.400 rev/min – 250 psig 3. . as predicted at any pressure. .9 0. . .800 rev/min – 250 psig 0. .3 1. . November 2011 SPE Production & Operations 321 . . . . . one can assume surging points are presented for comparison purpose. This new dimen. fraction 0. . 10 and 11. . . 8. . kinematic Observe that the dimensionless group that contains the surface. groups related to the liquid. 7 to form a new ⎛ ⎞ 0. .4 ⎡⎣ 0. . .2. .400 rev/min – 150 psig 0. the stage has a limited qgd =⎜ g⎟ ⎜ qgd . . . and the normalized liquid-flow rate. .8 0. . . The Turpin (1986) using the dimensionless groups defined in Eq. . . . .4. This is because of the limited set performance at other rotational speeds and stage inlet pressures is of experimental data where the effect of this group is observed. . . This ( ) ∗ qld = f qgd . so that surging-initiation experimental points for the different stage intake the recommended operating windows of the pump stage can be pressures and rotational speeds collapse into a single curve. 10: pressure. which is shown in Eq. . . . viscosity. . . . (1986) and Dunbar (1989) cor- C C relations predict volumetric gas fraction close to 100% for intake ⎛  ⎞ ⎛ D 2 ⎞ 2 C3 1 ∗ pressure greater than 5. Thus. .000 psig. −0. . which is presented in Eq. .2378 × 10 −1 ln qgd ∗ ( ) + 2. .002 Corrected Normalized Gas Rate. 8 is found applying volumetric gas fraction is asymptotic with the increase of intake a heuristic procedure. a modified form of Eq. The performance of the developed correlation with respect When the surging-initiation experimental values are plotted to the intake pressure is presented in Fig. 3 and 4. .1 0 0 0.4 3. . one can combine the dimensionless groups on the right-hand side of Eq. . .0015 0. (9) error can be as large as 10% at higher pressures. (10) ⎝ l ⎠ ⎝ ⎟⎠ gas-handling capacity even at very high intake pressure. 0. . . .000 rev/min – 150 psig 1. (8) ⎝ l ⎠ ⎝ l ⎟⎠ rate at surging-point initiation as a function of the gas density. . . In these two figures. . . . . . . . 9—Experimental surging points. 12. . respectively.000 rev/min – 250 psig 0. 8. . The single trend observed in Fig. . (7) ⎝     2 D 3 ⎟⎠ l l l Replacing the corrected normalized-gas-flow-rate definition given in Eq. (11) ⎛  D 2  g  ⎞ qld = f ⎜ qgd . (12) ∗ sionless group is named corrected normalized gas-flow rate (qgd ): ⎝ l ⎠ ∗ ⎛  ⎞ ⎛  D 2 ⎞ This equation allows for determination of the normalized gas-flow qgd =⎜ g⎟⎜ l qgd. . .001 0. a considerable and Dunbar (1989) correlations are plotted in the same figure for amount of scatter is observed. . . An average that the relationship given in Eq. . . . . . fraction Fig. . The new correlation shows that the critical correlation. The estimated values for C1. and C3 are such that the fractions depending on the normalized liquid-flow rate. . . . . and C3 are −0. . the experimental the basis of the corrected normalized gas-flow rate. . .2896 . . . For the sake of consistency. .500 rev/min – 150 psig 1. . . . . respectively. . nominal impeller diameter. .400 rev/min and 150 psig. the new correlation predicts different critical volumetric gas The values of coefficients C1. .800 rev/min – 150 psig 0.4682 dimensionless quantity. .58% in the prediction of surging-initiation volumetric gas fraction is determined for all different rotational speeds. . . . . . while the Turpin et al. . . . This equation states that the dimensionless liquid-flow rate at the shown in Fig. . 9 implies that surging initiation is related to the dimensionless local gas-flow a unique correlation for corrected normalized gas-flow rate can rate and three other dimensionless groups associated with the be obtained independently of rotational speed and stage intake fluid properties. . . . 6 can the following correlation is obtained: be reduced to qgd = 2. . . . Thus.5 2. . . qgd = ⎜ g ⎟ ⎜⎝ ⎟⎠ . On presented in Figs. 10 leads to the following correlation: On the basis of the Buckingham  theorem. the normalized-gas-flow-rate and the normalized-liquid-flow-rate Using only the experimental data at 2. . complicating the formulation of a comparison purposes. rotational speed. . The correlation tension term is omitted in Eq. . . 10 can be simplified as error of 7. . . . .500 rev/min – 250 psig 0. . liq- uid density. l . . . . . . . Therefore. . . .6 1. . 9. . C2.

25 3000 rev/min 2400 rev/min Critical Volumetric Gas Fraction λ c . which seems to indicate that the force balance around the correlation fairly predicts the surging at other operating condi- 25 3000 rev/min Critical Volumetric Gas Fraction λ c . data acquired at 2. and correlations predicting the surging in ESPs are not able • The surging marks the onset point for the transition between to capture the effect of rotational speed and liquid-flow rate different operating regimes.6 0.6 0. 10—Comparison between experimental surging point and model prediction at 150 psig. indicating a change in the pump performance.2 0. Because the operating regimes vary observed in the experiments. It always occurs • A new correlation based on the regression of the experimental at a certain critical pressure increment independent of inlet pres. triggers the transition or the surging also varies. % 20 1800 rev/min 1500 rev/min New Correlation 15 10 5 0 0 0.4 0. This sure. 322 November 2011 SPE Production & Operations .8 1 Normalized Liquid Rate Fig.400 rev/min and 150 psig is obtained. fraction Fig.2 0. the physical mechanism that • The surging always coincides with the pump head breakdown.4 0. as a function of the liquid-flow rate.8 1 Normalized Liquid Rate. Conclusion bubbles flowing through the impeller plays a key role in this • Experimental data presented demonstrate that current models phenomenon. % 2400 rev/min 20 1800 rev/min 1500 rev/min Correlation 15 10 5 0 0 0. 11—Comparison between experimental surging point and model prediction at 250 psig.

L. 25 (5): 843–855. R.2910210.1115/1. PhD dissertation. Acknowledgments and liquid-flow rate on the surging. and Zuber. Drag Coefficient and Relative Velocity in = rotational Bond number Bubbly. Total. Eni.org/10. V. p = stage pressure increment MS thesis. qgd = corrected normalized gas flow rate SPE Los Angeles Basin Section. N. 2007. Tulsa.org/10. November 2011 SPE Production & Operations 323 . 1980. J Pet Technol 34 (12): 2922–2930.  = surface tension Ishii. http://dx. and Uchiyama.2118/9218-PA. Three-Dimensional Calculation of l = normalized liquid-flow rate Air-Water Two-Phase Flow in Centrifugal Pump Impeller Based on a m = mixture Bubbly Flow Model. and Wood Group ESP. The University of Tulsa. Experimental and Theoretical Study of Two-Phase g = gas Flow.1002/aic.L. J. C. SPE-9218-PA. Cam- gd = normalized gas-flow rate bridge. 30. Prediction of The Transition in Two-Phase Performance  = dimensionless group of an Electrical Submersible Pump. CD = drag coefficient db_surge = bubble diameter References D = impeller diameter or outer diameter of blade tip Barrios. C = empirical constant Shell International.doi. Chevron.F. Air-Water Flow Through Electric Submersible Pumps. and Bearden. Uma Análise Fenomenológica da Operação de Bomba  = density difference Centrífuga com Escoamento Bifásico (A Mechanistic Approach on Gas- C = critical volumetric gas fraction at surging Liquid Flow Centrifugal Pump Performance Prediction). PhD dissertation. The University of Tulsa. Kuwait Oil Company. The Univer- ISS = Estevam’s surging indicator number sity of Tulsa. psig Fig. Massachusetts. 1979.00 New Correlation at qld =0. AIChE J. N = rotational speed Cirilo. MS Pi = pump intake pressure thesis. Determination of Proper Type of Gas Separator. Oklahoma. T. 2002.8 Critical Volumetric Gas Fraction λ c . PhD thesis. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The University of Tulsa. Effect of Gaseous Fluids on Submersible Subscripts Pump Performance. 1993. Oklahoma. Los Angeles.690250513. J. l = liquid Minemura. J. The authors appreciate the technical and financial support of the Tulsa University Artificial Lift Projects’ member companies. Tulsa. Tulsa. J. tions and captures the effect of rotational speed.00 5. 1982. K. M. 1989.doi. Petroleum Engi-  = density neering Department. q = flow rate Dunbar. p2 = predicted two-phase pressure increment Estevam.00 New Correlation at qld =0.00 10. USA. The progress in this work is the result of support from Baker-Hughes Nomenclature Centrilift. Fluids Eng. max = maximum pump flow rate or open-valve flow rate org/10. California. Visualization and Modeling of Multiphase Performance H = head Inside an Electrical Submersible Pump. 2003. Manzano-Ruiz. 12—Predicted intake pressure effect. Pressure Effects on ESP Stages Air-Water Performance. % 20. Pre- ∗ sented at the Microcomputer Applications in Artificial Lift Workshop. = kinematic viscosity Gamboa. 115 (4): 766–771. J. Petrobras.00 0 200 400 600 800 1. intake pressure. Droplet or Particulate flows. 1998. Lea.E. http://  = rotational angular speed dx.doi. 2009.  = viscosity Campinas (October 2002). C = critical http://dx. PhD dissertation. Pemex. Tulsa.6 15. Oklahoma.00 (1986) Dunbar (1989) Correlation Correlation 25.4 0. Oklahoma (July 2009). J. r1 = impeller-blade-tip inner radius Duran. Turpin et al.000 Intake Pressure.00 New Correlation at qld =0.

7 = . Experimental Investigation of Two-Phase Flow Perfor. M. . Texas. . Tulsa. degree in metallurgical engineering from Instituto Militar de Engenharia. Third International Pump q  8 = g 3 . this group is discarded from the analysis. .. in ESPs. He has recently served as a  3 = l l a  b D c . . . Prado is a member p of the Society of Petroleum Engineers. . . an MS degree in mechanical engineering from Universidad Simon Bolivar. . versity of Tulsa. MS thesis. . in practice. . ql . (A-1) not vary for the type of fluids and operation conditions handled by ESPs. 2 D Sachdeva. . . 1974. The University of Tulsa. . . it is assumed that The gas viscosity is on the order of O(10−5). . ingham  theorem. J. Gas-Liquid Through Cen. . . unless the rotational speed is reduced below 300 rev/min for a 1-in. . . .  5 = . and a PhD degree from The University  8 = qg l a  b D c. Prado is currently the chairman l for the Artificial Lift Technical Interest Group of SPE. The Uni. D 3 trifugal Pumps. . . . . and D are taken as independent variables. The dimen- sionless groups 5 and 2 change according to the type of fluid. D . . . Tulsa. the centrifugal acceleration is always dominant. . . an MS in petroleum engineering from Universidade Estadual de Campinas. g Pessoa. . . . Turpin. . . . production opti- mization. 324 November 2011 SPE Production & Operations . .F. . industrial academic cooperative research consortium formed in 1983 to conduct research on artificial lift. Both rota- tional speeds are much lower than the minimum rotational speed used The dimensionless analysis is conducted on the basis of the Buck. If l. production optimi-  4 =  g l a  b D c. . and Minemura. . areas of artificial lift and multiphase flow for Petrobras in Brazil. of Tulsa. MSc thesis. The University of Tulsa. . the following dimensionless group are obtained: Jose A. (A-3) of Tulsa. sand transport. He joined the Petroleum Engineering department in 1999. and Bearden. . . . uncertainty analysis. so group 4 does ( ) P = f l . . . . . (A-4) mance of Electrical Submersible Pump Stages. . Texas A&M University. . J. . Besides his academy experience. . . . The Univer. Bulletin of the JSME 17 (110): 1047–1055. . . qg . . L. . An Evaluation of an Electric Submersible Pumping g System for High GOR Wells.Murakami. . . . . . R. . . Group 6 defines a relationship between the centrifugal and the MS thesis. . . Gamboa’s main areas of interest include artificial lift. . 2003.. . less groups: His main areas of interest include artificial lift. l  2 D 3 Romero. K. and multiphase- flow modeling. 1986. tations in the area of artificial lift. USA. . working as a production engineer in the Solving the equation system. The University of Tulsa. D May. . 2001. and a PhD degree from The University  2 =  g l a  b D c . .Correlation of Data. (A-5) Symposium. in Venezuela. of Mechanical Engineers. . . . . . . ql MS thesis. . 1999. . 4 = . . and multiphase-flow modeling. . . . l . l D 2 Conditions. Therefore. . an  6 = gl a  b D c. Prado is an associate professor in the McDougall  5 = l a  b D c . . Oklahoma (November gravitational accelerations. . . . . senior consultant for multiphase system integration. . Intevep. . . . . . M. . J. . . . . . Rotational Speed Effects on ESP Two-Phase Performance. .  g . . . . . . Oklahoma (May 1990). . and the Petroleum Society of the l  2 D 2 Canadian Institute of Mining. Metallurgy and Petroleum. . He holds  1 = pl  D . . .. Solid Sphere in Rotating Flow. impeller Appendix A—Dimensionless Analysis diameter or to 136 rev/min for a 5-in. . . . . Zapata.  . . . . . Note Lecture. . . Oklahoma (August 1999).L. Gamboa worked for 8 years in different assignments for the Research and Development Center of Petróleos de Venezuela. Gamboa is post-doctoral research associate for the Tulsa Artificial Lift Project at The University of Tulsa. Tulsa. we obtain the following dimension. . the American Society 1 = . Tulsa. Oklahoma. Proc. . . . Tulsa. . 1990. . . 6 = . Thus. g. . College Station. . In the range of impeller diameters used 2003). l D 2 sity of Tulsa.L. . M. Performance and Flow 3 = . . . impeller diameter. . Mauricio G. Oklahoma. Prado holds a BS  7 = ql l a  b D c. 13–20. . a b c a BS degree in mechanical engineering from Universidad Metropolitana. . . Prado. . R. Lea. . . . . this group is also left out from the analysis. Prado has 16 years of industrial experience. (A-2) zation. He is a member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.  g . 2005. School of Petroleum Engineering at The University of Tulsa and is the director of The University of Tulsa Artificial Lift Projects. He has g authored many peer-reviewed papers and given many presen- 2 = . . . . . Effects of Entrained Air on the l Performance of a Centrifugal Pump: 1st Report. . . . Therefore. Two-Phase Flow Through Electric Submersible Pumps. .