ESP design – Step 7: Electric Cables

The AC current is carried from the surface to the motor using either copper or aluminum cable conductors. For ESP applications, four sizes of conductors have been standardized: #1, #2, #4 and #6 AWG (AWG stands for “American Wire Gauge”). Electric Cables are available in either flat or round configurations.

An electric submersible cable is mainly compounded by a cable conductor, insulation, jacket, braid & covering and armor. These cable compounds are for protection against corrosive fluids and severe environments.

Cable selection involves the determination of Cable Size, Type and Length.

Cable Size:

The proper cable size is dependent on combined factors of voltage drop, amperage and available space between tubing collars and casing.

  • Cable Voltage Drop:

The following graph shows an example of Cable Voltage drop plot to determine the voltage drop in cable. At the selected motor amperage and the given downhole temperature, the selection of a cable size that will give a voltage drop of less than 30 volts per 1000 feet is recommended. This curve will also enable you to determine the necessary surface voltage (motor voltage plus voltage drop in cable) required to operate the motor.

Continue reading

Cable Jackets

As per API RP11S5, cable jackets are protective coverings used to mechanically shield the insulation from the downhole environment. The jacket materials protect the insulation from mechanical abuse associated with handling. Some jacketing material may provide secondary insulation. The most used types of jackets in submersible pump cable are made of: EPDM elastomers or nitrile.

Continue reading