New Technology Magazine

Reactivating Suspended Wells—For Free: Multi-phase pumping solution comes at no cost to producer


Almost 400,000 wells had been drilled in Alberta to the end of 2012, of which about 150,000 were abandoned and, of these, approximately 50,000 have yet to be certified as reclaimed, according to Petroleum Technology Alliance Canada (PTAC).

Prior to abandonment, wells may be suspended, which could have financial implications for operating companies through the Licensee Liability Rating (LLR). In an environment of low oil and gas prices, more wells are being suspended, increasing the financial strain on many producers.

NTM 160101 Globotics

TURNKEY SOLUTION: Globotics’ multi-phase pump skid houses the pump, motor and control valves on a steel baseplate for ready field application. (PHOTO: GLOBOTICS INDUSTRIES)

Innovative technology solutions are needed to alleviate the situation, says PTAC, and a Swiss company believes it has one. Globotics Industries wants to bring its Low Pressure Pumping System (LPPS) to Canada. And one particularly attractive aspect of the system in today’s crude oil bust economy is that while it will bring new revenue to the operator, it comes at no additional cost.

The system is used to recover significant quantities of fluid from wells that would otherwise be unusable, both by boosting the flow with a thrust action and by reducing the wellhead pressure, thus improving the normal productivity of the well.

Massimo Bianchini, Globotics chief executive officer, says that where it is found to be applicable, the company will pay all the upfront cost to establish the LPPS system, and operate it with only a daily fee and royalty paid by the operator.

“We propose our LPPS system in a full-service formula. That means that all investment cost is paid by us—the oil company has no capital expenditure [capex], just operating expenditure [opex]. And then I would say that still, opex expenditure is not really expenditure because… that will start only when actual recovery at the GOSP [gas-oil separation plant] will start,” he says.

Once producing, the operator pays a daily fee that includes hire costs and operating expenses, and a royalty on recovered oil and gas, which allows Globotics to recover its investment over time. “So I could say really that, for the oil company, there is no operating expenditure, because the oil company will give a small part of its income to us only when the system will be operating.”

The contract is normally a fixed initial period that depends on an estimate of the remaining life of the well using the system, but it can be renewed as long as production continues. It is also flexible in that the configuration of the system can be changed to continue to maximize production.


Operations management activities are carried out by Globotics, and routine maintenance and unscheduled interventions are paid for by Globotics, he adds. At the end of the contract, all demobilization charges are also paid by Globotics.

Based in Lugano, Switzerland, Globotics Industries SA is a consulting services and industrial production company that operates in the manufacturing and automation sectors. It operates divisions in Loughborough, U.K., and in Edmonton, where Globotics Industries Inc. carries out engineering activities, quality services and construction.

In a PTAC-sponsored presentation to a Calgary oilpatch audience in November, Bianchini explained the wellhead pressure, or blowout pressure, determines the actual possibility of exploiting the flow and therefore well productivity. Also important is the position of the wells with respect to the first gathering centre and the pressure of the flowline to which the well is connected.

There can be several reasons for non-productive flow. In normally productive wells, the blowout pressure is sufficient to get the fluid into the flowline, and the well could produce more with a lower wellhead pressure, but this pressure would not allow the fluid to reach the first gathering point.

Wells with a blowout pressure theoretically sufficient to guarantee flow to the flowline but with values of a few pounds per square inch difference can generate bottlenecks with considerable lowering of production, he says.

In other cases, the blowout pressure is considerable but not enough, with regard to the distance to the first gathering point, to allow outflow of fluid into the flowline, and the wells are therefore not connected to the flowline. And in the case of depleted wells, the pressure has fallen below the minimum necessary to allow the outflow into the flowline to which the wells are connected.

In all these cases, “the blowout pressure is the critical element that prevents the well’s productivity or reduces it, maybe even drastically,” Bianchini says.

And in these cases, Globotics’ turnkey LPPS can restore wells that are not operative and increase productivity of operative wells. “The multi-phase pumping technology implemented in the LPPS allows boosting of the fluid, which guarantees its transfer from the well to the GOSP,” he says.

Due to the pressure drop (Delta P) generated by the LPPS, the discharge pressure is high enough to compensate the head losses and is enough to ensure the fluid has the necessary pressure at the arrival point of the GOSP, but this is lower than the maximum service pressure of the flowline, says Bianchini.

The LPPS can handle multi-phase fluids with variable gas volume fraction up to a maximum of 98 per cent. It makes the presence of gas separation systems, compressors, gas transportation pipes and flaring systems unnecessary.

Many different configurations are possible, Bianchini adds. Installation in tie-in on the flowline, for example, where several normally productive wells are present, allows their respective wellhead pressure to be reduced, increasing the productivity of reduced pressure wells.

Installation in tie-in on the flowline can also resolve bottlenecks due to the presence of multiple wells with wellhead pressure values very close to each other. “Elimination of the bottleneck increases production for all the wells connected upstream of the LPPS and allows the blowout pressures to be reduced and so optimizes productivity.”

Installation immediately downstream of the manifold allows the wells with insufficient pressure to be connected to the flowline and their productivity to be restored, while increasing productivity to already operating wells where wellhead pressure can be reduced.

And where there are several wells with a wellhead pressure too low, installation of the LPPS can be done immediately downstream of the manifold even when productive wells are present, and reduced pressure wells can then be restored.

Thanks to its Delta P, he says, the LPPS compensates the reduction in pressure carried out on the well and guarantees outflow of the fluid toward the gathering point or its introduction into the flowline.

If the minimum conditions exist—configuration of the oilfield gathering system, suction pressure and maximum gas volume fraction of the fluid—the system can easily be adapted to a wide variety of existing system configurations.

The pumps are supported by a sophisticated control system that controls the pump operation based on feedback describing the well’s functional parameter trends, thus continuously adapting the suction methods to the optimal operating conditions of the fluid extraction process.

And thanks to the experience gained by Globotics engineers over many years, collaboration with the pump supplier has allowed it to increase the capacity of the pumps and gain greater adaptability under the most extreme and unfavourable conditions, he says.

The company’s involvement begins with a preliminary feasibility study, Bianchini says. “We request to have a lot of data. We need geological data of the fluid and on the reservoir; we need a full specification of the well; we need to have the historical situation, the picture [of] what happened to the well in the past; we need to have the well testing data in order to verify the IPR [initial production rate] relation in order to understand how pressure and therefore productivity can be tuned.

“We also need the geographical data of the complex because there are several possibilities of implementation of the system…. Having all this specification, we can proceed with an idea of the design process and design and size the system with all [necessary components] to implement the system.

“And then you have more traditional engineering activities—the procurement, transportation, implementation, construction, all these activities are done by us. This is a really turnkey system—the oil company has nothing to do, they just make available the oilfield and wells.”

Thanks to installation of most of the components on a containerized multi-phase pump skid, assembly, disassembly and reuse can be carried out in a short time frame. A remote control system allows centralization of the operations management of several units distributed in a field or in diverse locations.

Compared to other artificial lift systems, its 70 per cent efficiency rate is the highest of the various systems available, Bianchini notes. “Its ability to adapt to the pressure variations of the well guarantees its optimum operativeness and therefore maximum well exploitation.”

According to Bianchini, in one project Globotics installed seven LPPS systems starting in 2006 on 32 wells in North Africa for Algerian national oil company Sonatrach. Up to last year, it created US$118 million in profit per year from the 32 wells, he says. “There is a lot of interest” in Canada for the technology, he adds.


Massimo Bianchini, Globotics Industries SA, Tel: Tel +41 91 921 21 57, Email: [email protected]


You are here: Home Arrow Drilling, Fracturing & Production Arrow Reactivating Suspended Wells—For Free: Multi-phase pumping solution comes at no cost to producer

  • Twitter Feed

  • Blog

New Twitter Updates

msmith IBM expanding N.B. cybersecurity division, adding 100 jobs
Thursday, 24 March 2016
msmith A billion-dollar digital opportunity for oil companies | McKinsey & Company
Thursday, 24 March 2016
msmith petroWEB Announces Launch Of, A Free Access Seismic Data Library oilandgas
Thursday, 24 March 2016
msmith Harris CapRock Awarded Fleetwide Harris CapRock One Order From Transocean oilandgas
Thursday, 24 March 2016
msmith Vivakor Technology Lands In Middle East Region oilandgas
Thursday, 24 March 2016