How to Prevent Pumping Unit Failures due to Overloading

When there is a catastrophic pumping unit failure it is natural to wonder what happened and how this failure could have been prevented. However, the right answer may or may not be simple to find. The following list shows the most common reasons for a failure and how to prevent or minimize its occurrence in the future:

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ESP – Four Basic Design Types

Electrical submersible pumps could be installed in four different production environments where the criteria for the design changes as fluid properties and well conditions change. In this article, four basic design types of ESP’s will be presented.

The basic designs will change accordingly and will mainly depend on:

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Sucker Rod Pumping Speed Calculation

Sucker-rod pumping units can be operated over a range of pumping speeds. It is expressed in Strokes per Minute (SPM). Obviously, this assumed that the up and down stroke of a unit forms one complete stroke cycle.
Sucker rod pumping speed can be calculated manually using a stopwatch or automatically by the mean of a pump-off controller (POC). This article will detail the manually pumping speed calculation procedure.

Manually Pumping Speed Calculation Procedure:

  • Start the stopwatch at the bottom of the stroke and measure the time it takes for the unit to complete 10 strokes.
  • Stop the stopwatch at the end of the 10 strokes when the PU is back at the bottom of the stroke. Make a note of the number of seconds it took.
  • Convert the number of seconds into minutes (divide by 60).
  • Divide 10 (the number of strokes) by the time in minutes to obtain the pumping speed expressed in strokes per minute (SPM).

Exercise: Calculate the pumping speed of this PU.


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Back-Pressure Valve installed in tubing hangers

A back-pressure valve is a type of check valve, typically installed in the tubing hanger, to isolate the production tubing. The back-pressure valve is designed to hold pressure from below yet enable fluids to be pumped from above, as may be required for well-control purposes. Thus, it reduces downtime and operating cost by allowing for repairs without killing the well.

BPV is commonly used during the nipple down and up of the drilling BOP stack, nipple up or down of Christmass trees, test the Christmas tree (2-way check valve), and during the replacement of the master valve.

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Beam Pump Artificial Lift Optimization

This article gives you some good practices and rules of thumb for optimizing beam pump applications. The following topics have been presented:

  • Artificial Lift Optimization – What does it mean?
  • Required information
  • Typical design situations
  • Optimization considerations
  • Simulate / Measure initial conditions
  • Pump condition, structure loading, and gearbox Loading
  • Miscellaneous notes
  • Design Guidelines: Pump Efficiency, Structure Loading, Gearbox Loading
  • Case 1: Increase Capacity
  • Case 2: Size unit for well w/no unit
  • Dialing in your design
  • Unit Sizing “Rules of Thumb”
  • Sucker Rod Design
  • Rod Guides: Snap Ons, Molded Guides

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