Intelligence Does Heavy (Crude) Lifting

Read about the “Innovations for Artificial Lift” forum, presented on the first day of Rockwell Automation's Automation Fair 2007.

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You can’t use your head to pull crude oil out of the ground, but you can use a lift pump and controller equipped with intelligent software. Alexander Mendoza, CEO of BCPVEN, presented “Innovations for Artificial Lift” during the Oil & Gas Industry Forum on the first day of Rockwell Automation’s Automation Fair 2007 held this week at McCormick Place in Chicago.

BCPVEN is an 18-year-old, Venezuela-based builder of PCP artificial lift pumps and controllers for extracting and transferring crude and heavy crude, with applications throughout South America. The company has two manufacturing plants in Venezuela that produce its CiLa 2S standalone and CiMA 2S cluster intelligent integrated controllers.

“The main concerns of our customers are that they have no real-time oil production optimization, low life expectancy and energy quality from their downhole equipment, and standardization issues from using many different types of devices,” explained Mendoza. “This is why they want better SCADA systems, so they can develop optimization tools that can be used in the field 24 hours per day.”

Highlighting today's Automation Fair activities were a series of eight vertically focused Industry Forums, where automation professionals discussed best practices in the Automotive, Biofuels, Food & Beverage, Household & Personal Care, Life Sciences, Oil & Gas, Tire & Rubber, and Water/Wastewater industries.
Mendoza described many of CiLa 2S’s design characteristics, such as its modular design, safety and theft protections, corrosive environment resistance, and internal ventilation capabilities. However, it stressed that this pump controller’s most useful feature is the application software that enables its intelligent operations. CiLa includes Rockwell Automation’s CompactLogix L32E PACs, PowerFlex 700 drives, PanelView Plus 600 HMIs, and Power Monitor 3000 and E3 relay monitoring.

“These allow us to perform real-time trending online, store data in high-capacity Flash media, use touchscreens, and set up access security codes for each user,” said Mendoza.

BCPVEN also uses software to help its controllers extend operations over power dips and external electrical failures up to 720 milliseconds. “This is a big problem in downhole operations. Power dips and stops at 8,000 or 10,000 feet can damage and reduce equipment life,” added Mandoza. “We may have to run a bit slower for awhile, but not needing to stop the pump and the well is a big help.”

Meanwhile, the firm’s CiMA cluster system uses an integrated architecture to handle up to 24 wells with different artificial lift methods, including its PCP, Nemo, BMC and gas lift pumps. It’s housed in one room, communicates over one network, and allows information exchange with resident advanced optimization applications, said Mendoza. “This flexible platform allows different artificial lift applications to run over the same hardware, and be programmed and maintained with one engineering tool,” he said.

A recent implementation and test of CiMA 2S’s integrated solution was conducted at PDVSA’s 500,000 to 550,000 barrels per day (BPD) facility in San Cristobal. The solution included 14 CiLa 2S pumps, CiMA 2S to control them, complete production process control, 0.77 to 0.96 power factor compensation, online principal and individual network status diagnostics, energy quality status, and operating data trends. The communications infrastructure included EtherNet/IP for networking CiMA 2S and the CiLA 2S units.

“The software’s mathematical model allowed us to see onscreen the affect of torque or other parameters on the pumps and the reservoir,” explained Mendoza. “This allowed us to better follow the behavior of the wells. Even if you’ve got 300 wells, good application software can give you intelligent control of your system.”

Mendoza added that using Rockwell Automation’s Integrated Architecture software and components delivered numerous benefits. These included improved reliability from increased pump run-life downhole, less operational and maintenance requirements on up to 24 wells in one off-shore platform, and better optimization activities due to the availability of real-time data.

BCPVEN also improved its safety with increased protection of assets and personnel by using TÜV certified equipment, and reduced theft risk by increasing access security and surveillance.

The company also increased its operational flexibility by implementing a modular approach based on standard equipment and one operating environment that also reduced its time to market, said Mendoza. In addition, its control and power monitoring were integrated over the same communication architecture, and its touchscreen enabled a single point of control. Also, because no interface devices were needed to integrate different systems helped reduce the probability of failures. Finally, it improved the pumps’ power factor from 0.78 to 0.98, and reduced power consumption by 26%.

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