Artificial Lift

Production Optimization: Artificial Lift and Flow Assurance

The oil and gas industry faces major challenges in offshore production, considering production in subsea systems in deep and ultra-deep waters, using long fluid transport lines. This scenario can result in flow assurance issues, such as deposition of asphaltenes, formation of emulsions and others, making it necessary to guarantee oil production from the reservoir to the platform. Therefore, it is important to know the behavior of multiphase flow, in systems with several phases (liquid-gas-solid), depending on variables such as the fluid itself and its properties, pressure, temperature and flow rates.

Furthermore, the complexity of multiphase flow also affects the performance of artificial lift systems such as Electrical Submersible Pumps (ESPs). It is essential to understand how ESPs work with mixtures as complex as emulsions, and how to model the thermodynamic and thermophysical properties of these mixtures, considering flow assurance issues, such as high viscosity, solid formation, and others, thus increasing the efficiency of the system and your safety.

The main results of this research line include the reduction of uncertainties and improvement of asphaltene deposition prediction models; advance the understanding of the effects of emulsions in the production system, considering ESPs; as well as improving the methodology for qualifying chemicals used as inhibitors of flow assurance problems in oil production. To achieve this, this line of research is divided into three subprojects:

SP1: PVT – Thermodynamic properties and flow assurance studies

The focus in SP1 is to study of live oil characteristics by measuring thermodynamic properties (e.g., bubble point, GOR (gas-oil ratio), differential flash, flash release, among others) and modeling of PVT behavior using Equations of State (EoS). Additionally, study on asphaltene precipitation envelope and comparison of asphaltenes extracted by different methodologies will be performed. The characterization of asphaltenes is extremely important to understand the aggregation mechanisms and thus propose strategies to mitigate problems with deposition of asphaltenes in the field.

Contact: Paulo de Tarso Vieira e Rosa (

SP2: Study of live oil systems and production chemicals

Study of live oil\water systems with and without production chemicals at field representative conditions (reservoir/production system). The initial plan is to focus on the following chemicals: emulsion breakers, asphaltene inhibitors and acids, for acid stimulation of reservoirs. The objective is to improve understanding on emulsion formation and separation and to provide guidelines and best practices for choice of chemicals.

Contact: Carlos Eduardo Perles (

SP3: ESP operation optimization

This SP will be focused on activities to improve the ESPs operation and performance. This SP is divided into two modules. In the first module (M1) experimental studies with different emulsion types will be performed to improve understanding and models related to emulsion flow within the ESP. Additionally, experimental study of polymer degradation, used for EOR/IOR, within ESP will be performed. Finally, in module two (M2) analysis of field data will be executed, aiming to understand causes of ESP failure and to develop a correlation between data and failure.

Contact (M1): William Monte Verde (
Contact (M2): Alberto Luiz Serpa (