You are on page 1of 5


Volume 40, Issue 5, October 2013

Online English edition of the Chinese language journal

Cite this article as: PETROL. EXPLOR. DEVELOP., 2013, 40(5): 651–655. RESEARCH PAPER

Artificial lift technique of multistage sliding vane pump

used in thermal production wells
SHEN Zejun1,*, HUANG Xiaodong2, ZHANG Lixin1, HAO Zhongxian1, LEI Derong2, JIN Jingwei1
1. PetroChina Research Institute of Exploration & Development, Beijing 100083, China;
2. Petrochina Xinjiang Oilfield Company, Karamay 834000, China

Abstract: For low efficiency and poor high-temperature resistant performance of the conventional artificial lift systems, a new sliding
vane pump and the matched lift system were designed, and the pump property study, field test and economy analysis were conducted. The
redesign of flow direction reduces the pump’s radial size and the design of series connection makes higher pumping pressure possible
with lower revolution speed. By building pump characteristics models and doing laboratory experiment, it is found that the pump has
steady hydraulic and mechanical characteristics, good no-load and heavy-load characteristics, and high system and volume efficiencies.
The artificial lift system, including oil tube, sucker rod, transmission cylinder and anchor, was designed in reference to the progressive
cavity pump (PCP) artificial lift system. The pump was tested in five wells and compared with other common lift equipment in energy
consumption, high-temperature resistant performance and investment. The new artificial lift technique features its high efficiency, high
temperature resistance, low investment and good adaptability.

Key words: oil extraction pump; multistage sliding vane pump; thermal production well; high-temperature lift; artificial lift

Introduction wellbore artificial lift, the lubrication is not very sufficient,

and the high revolution speed will lead to the reduction of
The combination of pumping unit and sucker rod pump is
pump working life. At the same time, the high speed is not
the most conventional artificial lift form, with high reliability
suitable for most low-production wells. (2) For either sin-
and little maintenance, but low efficiency and high invest-
gle-stage or double-stage sliding vane pumps, the pumping
ment [1−2]. At present, there are other artificial lift forms, such
pressure is usually limited. Especially when the rotational
as gas lift, electric submersible pump (ESP), progressive cav-
speed is low, the hydraulic efficiency of the pump decreases
ity pump (PCP), and jet pump, etc [3−6]. However, in thermal
and head loss increases accordingly [7−8]. (3) Average sliding
production well, the hostile working conditions pose big chal-
vane pumps are not compact enough in structure, impossible
lenges to all artificial lift equipments. For these wells we have to fit into the restricted wellbore.
not found any other artificial lift form with both high effi- In view of the demand for high-temperature artificial lift
ciency and reliability than the combination of pumping unit and the problems of ordinary sliding vane pumps, we de-
and sucker rock pump. signed the multiple-stage vane pump (MVP), analyzed its
Vane pump is a type of positive displacement pump. Its mechanical and hydraulic properties, designed its matching
working principle is as follows: when its rotor rotates, the artificial lift system, and launched field test in thermal pro-
sliding vanes are pushed onto the inside surface of stator and duction wells.
dynamic sealing is formed between the sliding vanes and the
stator, and the volume of cavities changes to produce pumping
1 Design principle
pressure accordingly. Vane pump, features high volumetric In order to adapt to the long and narrow wellbore, in the
efficiency and low flow pulsation, is widely used in the indus- MVP design, the axis of revolution must be consistent with
try of fluid storage and transportation. In order to make the the direction of lift. For conventional vane pumps, the normal
conventional vane pump fit for the artificial lift in thermal direction of its inlet and outlet usually is perpendicular to the
production wells, the following problems must be solved: (1) shaft axis and the inlet and outlet is arranged on the surface of
Its rotational speed is usually high (1 500−3 000 r/min), but in pump shell. Its connections with outside pipes make their

Received date: 08 Jan. 2013; Revised date: 09 Jul. 2013.

* Corresponding author. E-mail:
Foundation item: Supported by Science and Technology Administration Department of Petrochina (NO. 2011B-1705).
Copyright © 2013, Research Institute of Petroleum Exploration and Development, PetroChina. Published by Elsevier BV. All rights reserved.
SHEN Zejun et al. / Petroleum Exploration and Development, 2013, 40(5): 651–655

The input shaft power of electric motor is expressed as

Pr =10-3 3UI ληd (2)
Or the power is obtained by measuring the input power of
electric motor shaft directly, that is
Pr = (3)
30 000
The system efficiency of MVP can be calculated with the
formula below accordingly
η = Py Pr (4)
By using the eccentric circle model, the theoretical capacity
Fig. 1 Design principle of MVP
of MVP is obtained,
q =2 880πndeb (5)
radial size big. For the redesigned single-stage vane pump
(shown in Fig. 1a), when its shaft rotates, the fluid is inhaled Thus the volumetric efficiency is expressed as
from the inlet below and pumped out from the outlet above. Q 30Q
η v =86 400 = (6)
The radial size and axial size of vane pump is minimized be- q πndeb
cause the flowing direction and rotational axis are designed in
2.2 Laboratory experiments and characteristics analysis
the same direction. In 5.5 in (outside diameter or OD is 139.7
mm) casing, the OD of improved MVP is 114 mm. For the Based on the characteristics model, a comprehensive ex-
design of downhole direct-drive MPV, the OD can be further periment workbench for MVP was built (Fig. 2). Its main
reduced to 90–95 mm. functions are: the pumping pressure is simulated by control-
In order to increase the pumping pressure, several single- ling the pressure difference between the outlet and inlet of
stage vane pumps can be installed in series. The redesign of pump, at the same time, the transient flow rate is recorded;
inlet and outlet aforesaid also facilitate the connection of mul- when the motor is controlled by variable frequency (VF), the
tiple-stage vane pumps (Fig. 1b). The outlet of 1st stage is the data of rotational speed, torque and input shaft power are re-
inlet of 2nd stage, the fluid pumped out of 1st stage can be fur- corded by sensors. The mechanical, no-load, heavy-load and
ther pressurized in the 2nd stage. The design can achieve mul- hydraulic characteristics of MVP were tested on the experi-
tistage pressurization, meanwhile, the pumping pressure dif- ment workbench.
ference in each single stage is reduced effectively. Currently,
2.2.1 Mechanical characteristics.
three single-stage vane pumps are assembled into one MVP
unit. When higher pumping pressure is needed, several MVP When the rotational speed of MVP is 160 r/min, the curves
units can be connected through couplings. For example, the of input shaft power and system efficiency vs. pumping pres-
single-stage VP with 114 mm OD, can provide the pumping sure are shown in Fig. 3. It shows that: when the rotational
pressure of up to 4 MPa, a 3-stage MVP can provide the speed is constant, the input shaft power is linearly related to
pumping pressure of up to 10 MPa. the pumping pressure; the system efficiency is stable and high
The improved MVP can not only adapt to the slim wellbore, at a large interval of pumping pressure. For example, for a
but also achieve high volumetric efficiency at low rotational 6-stage MVP, at the rated rotational speed (160 r/min), from 3
speed. Additionally, it has the following characteristics: (1) to 14 MPa, the system efficiency is more than 50%. These
the rotor, stator and sliding vanes are all made of metal, suit-
able for the high-temperature in thermal production. (2) There
is no pre-tightening force between the sliding vanes and inner
side of stator, the dynamic sealing makes the startup torque
low. (3) There is no eccentric movement when rotor is rotating,
(in contrast, the shaft of PCP moves eccentrically), which can
reduce the wear of rod and tubing. (4) MVP, short in axial size,
is suitable for deviated wells

2 Characteristics of MVP
2.1 The model of MVP

Same as PCP and ESP, system efficiency η and volumetric

efficiency ηv are the parameters for the evaluation of MVP
operation performance [9].
In laboratory, the useful power of MVP is expressed as
Py =QΔp (1) Fig. 2 Block diagram of MVP test workbench
− 652 −
SHEN Zejun et al. / Petroleum Exploration and Development, 2013, 40(5): 651–655

Fig. 3 Shaft power and system efficiency vs. pumping pressure Fig. 5 Volumetric efficiency vs. pumping pressure
(6-stage MVP, 160 r/min)
sure. For example, the volumetric efficiency of the 6-stage
experiments show that MVP has stable mechanical character- MVP with a rotational speed of 160 r/min is higher than 75%
istics. when the pumping pressure is from 3 to 13 MPa. Therefore,
2.2.2 No-load and heavy-load characteristics these experiments show that the hydraulic characteristics of
MVP are very stable.
The operation torque and input shaft power vs. the rota-
tional speed was also analyzed when the pumping pressure is 3 Matching system and artificial lift process
0 MPa (no-load) or 6 MPa (heavy load), in order to evaluate In reference to PCP artificial lift system [10−11], the MVP ar-
MVP’s performance under light and heavy load respectively. tificial lift system is designed with two parts: surface drive
Fig. 4 shows the curves of torque and input shaft power vs. head and downhole tools (Fig. 6). The surface drive head
rotational speed. It can be seen from the figure that both the drives the MVP through the sucker rod, and the revolution
operation torque and input shaft power increase linearly with speed can be adjusted from 80 to 350 r/min by VF. The
increase of the rotational speed under either light or heavy downhole tools include production tubing, sucker rod, trans-
load; especially, at the zero pumping pressure, the operation mission section, MVP and anchor: the production tubing is
torque for the 6-stage MVP is very low (the torque is lower connected to MVP, forming the lifting passage for fluid; the
than 50 N·m when the rotational speed is from 80 to 180 sucker rod is connected to MVP through a spline shaft, by
r/min, which means the MVP can be started up and shut down which the driving force of sucker rod is passed onto the rotor
easily). Under heavy load, the torque increases smoothly in a of MVP; a sand prevention tube is designed in the transmis-
large range of rotational speed. Hence, these experiments
show that MVP has good performance under no-load and
heavy-load conditions.
2.2.3 Hydraulic characteristics

Fig. 5 shows the curves of volumetric efficiency vs. pump-

ing pressure of MVP, it can be seen that the volumetric effi-
ciency declines linearly with the increase of pumping pressure;
the higher the rotational speed, the slower the volumetric effi-
ciency declines with the rise of pumping pressure; the volu-
metric efficiency is high in a large interval of pumping pres-

Fig. 4 Torque and shaft power vs. rotational speed Fig. 6 MVP artificial lift system
− 653 −
SHEN Zejun et al. / Petroleum Exploration and Development, 2013, 40(5): 651–655

sion section, which collects the sand in both production period MVP’s volumetric efficiency and system efficiency increase
and non-production period, protecting MVP from sand stick- significantly compared with the ex-factory capacity, espe-
ing; the anchor of MVP is designed to counteract the twisting cially when the pumping pressure is increased. Visual inspec-
force while MVP is working, and keep the production pipe in tion and metallographic test show that the wear loss of rotor,
the tension state under the action of gravity, even if thermal stator and vanes is very little.
elongation happens to the pipe after high temperature steam is In Table 2, the electric current, daily output and setting
injected. The design can also decrease the wear of rod and depth of three MVP test wells are compared with the 4-type
tubing to a large extent. pumping unit in three producers in the same block. It can be
The installation of MVP is simple, including the following seen that: the setting depths for both MVPs and pumping units
steps: (1) connecting the anchor to the lower end of MVP, the are basically the same, the daily output of MVP wells is a
MVP to the lower end of the transmission section, the upper little lower (if more output is needed, the rotational speed can
side of transmission section to the tubing, and then running be increased by the VF), but the electric current for MVP
wells is only 50% of the electric current of pumping unit wells.
the string down to the desired depth of pump; (2) setting the
In Table 3 the MVP artificial lift process and its cost are com-
anchor by rotating the tubing for 8-10 circles clockwise; (3)
pared with that of 4# pumping unit, PCP and ESP: MVP sys-
connecting the spline shaft to the lower end of sucker rod,
tem can work in high-temperature and save energy, and is low
running the sucker rod into the tubing till its lower end con-
in cost.
tacts the transmission section and the weight indicator reads
zero, pulling the sucker rod upwards and the weight indicator 5 Conclusions
display recovers, and pulling the sucker rod 200 mm above, Through the improvement of ordinary sliding vane pump,
then the connection between shaft of MVP and sucker rod is the MVP and its artificial lift system were designed, which is
complete; (4) installing the drive head and other wellhead suitable for the slim wellbore, low and medium-output wells,
equipments, turning on the motor, and starting production. and can provide high pumping pressure at low rotational
The MVP system and its installation have the following speed. The laboratory experiments show that MVP has stable
features: (1) using drive head saves the investment; (2) the mechanical and hydraulic performances, good no-load and
electrical motor does not expose to high-temperature fluid, heavy-load characteristics, high system and volumetric effi-
which makes MVP artificial lift system more suitable for ciency. The field tests show that the MVP can meet the re-
thermal production wells than other artificial lift forms; (3) quirements of thermal production. At the same time the cost
with lower rotational speed and capacity compared with ESP, for MVP is low. In order to further improve MVP process and
the system is more suitable for wells with medium-low pro- broaden its application scope, more research needs to be done
duction. on the design and application of integrated gas injection and
production pipe with steam injection valve, and the enhance-
4 Field test and economic evaluation
ment of reliability and adaptability.
Five MVP artificial lift systems have been put into opera-
Table 2 Comparison of MVP and 4# pumping unit
tion in Xinjiang oilfield by the end of 2011, and the data for 4
wells are listed in Table 1, which shows that: the longest op- Lifting unit Well number Current/A Output/m3 Setting depth/m
A2 6.50 10.4 259
eration period without workover is 11 months. It should be
MVP A3 6.50 10.0 189
noticed that the operation time listed in Table 1 are not the
A4 6.50 6.2 278
complete working life for these MVP systems. Because in the
1 16.89 15.0 282
four field tests the production pipe did not include the steam 4# pumping
2 11.75 11.0 175
injection valve (with steam injection valve, when steam injec- unit
3 11.75 7.0 243
tion is needed, the production pipe doesn’t need to be tripped
out, which can save the workover cost), the MVP and produc- Table 3 Economic evaluation for MVP and other lifting units
tion pipe were tripped out for further steam injection opera- Lifting Energy Temperature Lifting
tion when the formation energy and fluid into wellbore was Investment
unit consumption resistance mechanism
not sufficient. After tripped out, the MVPs were sent back to 4# pum- Rated power 8.5 Reciprocating
the factory for checkup. Hydraulic experiment shows that the ping kw, actual power >240 °C motion of
RMB110 000
unit of 6.0 to 6.5 kw sucker rod
Table 1 MVP tests in oilfield Drive head Rotary motion About
PCP <150 °C
Well number Setting depth/m Output/(m3·d−1) Operation time/d power 5.5 kw of sucker rod RMB70 000
A1 325 3.2 315 Suitable for >RMB300
ESP ≥20kw ≥260 °C
high output 000
A2 435 7.0 228
Drive head po-
A3 153 10.1 209 Rotary motion About
MVP wer 5.5 kw, ac- ≥240 °C
of sucker rod RMB100 000
A4 183 5.9 209 tual power<3 kw

− 654 −
SHEN Zejun et al. / Petroleum Exploration and Development, 2013, 40(5): 651–655

Nomenclature artificial lift to produce multizone with high GOR, contrast PI

and contrast water cut. SPE 143745, 2011.
Py—useful power, kW; [4] Issa M, Fleming J, Wonitoy K. Heavy oil production with
Δp—pumping pressure, MPa; steam injection using ESPs. SPE 150646, 2011.
Q—capacity, L/s; [5] Carvalho P G, Morooka C, Bordalo S, et al. An intelligent sys-
Pr—input shaft power of electric motor, kW; tem for progressing cavity pumps. SPE 63048, 2000.
U—voltage, V; [6] Abdou H A M, Mikhail S, Abou-Ellail M. Jet pump perform-
I—current, A; ance with secondary fluids differ in density and viscosity from
λ—power factor; primary fluid. SPE 102546, 2006.
ηd—motor efficiency; [7] Tian Gaofeng, Zhang Shifu, Zhang Qixin. The design of inte-
M—torque of input shaft, N·m; rior contour of sliding vane pump and its comparison. China
n—rotational speed of MVP, r/min; Storage & Transport, 2010(10): 97–98.
q—theoretical capacity, m3/d; [8] Shao Fei, Kong Fanyu, Wang Wenting, et al. Analysis of flow
d—inner diameter of stator, m; characteristic in single-acting vane pump base on dynamic
e—eccentricity of rotor, m; mesh method. Fluid Machinery, 2011, 39(8): 14–18, 28.
b—axial size of sliding vane, m. [9] Lü Yanping, Wu Xiaodong, Li Yuanchao, et al. The system
efficiency analysis model of PCP well and its application. Oil
References Drilling & Production Technology, 2006, 28(1): 64–65, 68.
[10] Yao Jun, Xue Tianfei, Liu Tong, et al. The lift processing of
[1] Liu Bing. The advance on sucker rod pumps and associate ground-drive PCP and its application. Journal of Yangtze
equipments. Petroleum and Equipment, 2011(1): 88–90. University: Natural Science Edition, 2012, 9(7): 80–82.
[2] Qian Jie, Sun Meilian, Zhang Weiping. The research and appli- [11] Liang Yaning, Cao Gang, Shi Guochen, et al. Progressing cav-
cation on heavy oil sucker rod pump for both injection and pro- ity pump anti-scaling techniques in alkaline-surfactant-poly-
duction. China Petroleum Equipment, 2009, 37(3): 54–55, 66. mer flooding in the Daqing Oilfield. Petroleum Exploration
[3] Matondang A N , Lbnu A, Subiantoro E. Application of hybrid and Development, 2011, 38(4): 483–489.

− 655 −