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Progressing Cavity Pumping Systems

Cyclic Harmonics
There is an inherent harmonic cycle that can occur in PC pumping Systems under certain circumstances. This harmonic cycle is dependent on many variables in the system, such as size and grade of the sucker rod string, lubricity of the produced fluid, BHT, pump displacement, rotational speed and rotor/stator interference fit. Cyclic harmonics occur when there is a deviation between the pump break-away torque (start-up) vs. the normal operating torque (sum of the pump friction and hydraulic torques). Most, if not all PC pumps will have a higher break-away torque then running torque. In applications where the produced fluid has little or no lubrication, such as CBM or water source wells, there can be significant differences between the breakaway torque and running torque as opposed to those usually observed in oil producing wells. As a result water source or high water cut wells are more prone to rod string cyclic harmonics. When a PC pumping system is started the surface drive equipment will rotate and start to twist or wrap-up the sucker rod string, much like if you were to pull a rubber band taunt, anchor it at one end and then continually put twists in one direction into it. As wraps are put into the sucker rod string a torque is developed. The number of wraps is dependent on the rod string size, grade and torque will continue to increase until: 1. 2. 3. The breakaway torque of the rotor is reached and the rotor starts to spin inside the stator. The torque-limit of the surface equipment is reached. The drive string breaks.

Once there is sufficient torque in the drive string to overcome the breakaway torque of the pump, the rotor will start turning. If the breakaway torque is extremely high the sudden release of torsional energy in the drive string can result in tremendous forward acceleration. In some cases, this forward acceleration is so great that the drive string will catch up to the polished rod and excel past it. At the point where the drive string excels past the polished rod the torque drops to 0 ft-lbs and the rotor stops inside the stator. Once the rotor has stopped the drive string must again wrap-up to generate the required break-away torque. In most PC pumping applications this harmonic cycle can usually be detected on surface through fluctuations in the drivehead speed or VFD torque reading. In some cases, increasing the polished rod speed to stay ahead of the forward acceleration of the rod string when the rotor breaks free can effectively reduce the magnitude of the harmonics. However, caution must be taken to ensure that the well is capable of producing at a higher production rate. The key to eliminating or minimizing cyclic harmonics is by reducing the pump friction torque. This is achieved by optimizing the pump displacement, lift capacity and rotor/stator interference fit specific for the application. Pump friction torque is directly related to the pump displacement, lift capacity (length) and rotor/stator interference fit. For example a model 200-2100 (32-600) based on average rotor/stator interference fits will have a pump friction torque of approximately 29 ft-lbs. If the lift capacity (length) of the pump is doubled the friction torque also doubles. I.e. a model 200-4100 (32-1200) would have a pump friction torque of 48 ft-lbs. If the pump displacement were doubled then the pump friction would also double. I.e. a 400-2100 (64-600) would have a pump friction torque of 48 ft-lbs.

Weatherford Artificial Lift Systems


Weatherford PC Pump Ltd. 2801 - 84 Avenue Edmonton, Alberta Canada T6P 1K1 Phone (780) 417-4800 Fax (780) 464-5198 www.weatherford.com

Rod string stiffness also has an impact on cyclic harmonics. The stiffer the rod string the less wraps are required to generate the rotor break-away torque and in some cases solely by installing a stiffer rod string cyclic harmonics can be significantly reduced or eliminated. Typically a larger diameter rod string is required to increase the stiffness as opposed to using a higher grade. To help prevent cyclic harmonics we strongly recommend that in all PC pumping applications a minimum 0.875 D rod be used. If there are any questions or inquiries about this report, please refer to:

TIM W. SOLTYS
Applications Specialist, International Group Weatherford Artificial Lift Systems PC Pump Products & Services 2801 84th Avenue Edmonton, Alberta Canada T6P 1K1 Phone: (780) 417-4847 Fax: (780) 464-5198 Mobile: (780) 910-3041 E-mail: tim.soltys@canada.weatherford.com

Weatherford Artificial Lift Systems


Weatherford PC Pump Ltd. 2801 - 84 Avenue Edmonton, Alberta Canada T6P 1K1 Phone (780) 417-4800 Fax (780) 464-5198 www.weatherford.com