Experimental investigation of the Electrical Submersible Pump’s energy consumption under unstable and stable oil/water emulsions: A catastrophic phase inversion analysis


by Natan Augusto Vieira Bulgarelli, Jorge Luiz Biazussi, William Monte Verde, Carlos Eduardo Perles, Marcelo Souza de Castro, Antonio Carlos Bannwart, published at Journal of Petroleum Science and Engineering, September 2022, Vol. 216, 110814.



The presence of water in crude oil exploitation by the Electrical Submersible Pump (ESP) systems may cause several problems in energy consumption and operational instabilities due to emulsion formation. Indigenous surfactants in crude oil also contribute to emulsion stabilization, which can exacerbate these problems. In this paper will be experimentally investigated the influence of the emulsion stability on ESP energy consumption and operational instabilities through an 8-stage ESP operating with unstable and stable emulsions, with and without a demulsifier. The experimental tests were performed for one oil viscosity, a constant total flow rate, and two ESP rotational speeds. Initially, the ESP relative dimensionless power (RDP) was analyzed along with the emulsion system and the droplet size distribution (DSD). An interesting difference regarding the presence of surfactants was observed experimentally in the RDP and phase inversion points. The relationship among the ESP dimensionless power, torque, and electrical current with maximum droplet size allowed to conclude that these parameters can be related to the start of the coalescence process, i. e, able to predict the catastrophic phase inversion (CPI) point.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.petrol.2022.110814

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