Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Oil Operations (ADCO) has recently developed
one of its satellite oil fields. The field is located in a remote desert
location onshore the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The development concept is based on multiphase pumping and the entire field was
developed using multiphase pumps.
Two helicoaxial pumps are used to pump 10,000 B/D of crude oil with
associated gas and produced water to the host facilities in a nearby field some
30 km away. The pumps are installed in series. The pumps were commissioned
successfully in 2006 and have been operating since then.
Huwaila field is the first and only oil field in the world where two
multiphase helicoaxial pumps are operated in series. This paper describes the
design, testing, and operational aspects of this unique experience.
ADCO is the major oil and gas producer in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The company is responsible for the exploration, production, and field
processing of oil and gas in the onshore areas and shallow waters of the
Emirate of Abu Dhabi.
In comparison to other oil fields in Abu Dhabi, Huwaila field is a
relatively small satellite field (Fig. 1). The field was discovered in 1965. In
Huwaila, the only oil bearing reservoir is the Shuaiba formation. It is a lower
cretaceous carbonate formation. The first well drilled was Hw-44. The nearest
host facilities is a remote gathering centre RDS-3 in the near by Bu Hasa
Field. Phase I for the development of Huwaila called for the well to be
produced to RDS-3 using a twin screw multiphase pump. This experience was
discussed in a previous SPE paper (Saadawi and Al Olama 2003). The twin screw
pump operated for almost 4 years, achieving a very high degree of
The full field development plan for Huwaila included the drilling of an
additional three wells to increase the field production. The following are the
key design parameters for the full-field development plan:
- Plateau oil production rate: 10,000 B/D.
- Peak oil production rate: 12,000 B/D.
- GOR = 567 scf/bbl
- Water cut: up to 52%.
A schematic of the field surface facilities of the field is given in Fig. 2.
There are several technologies involved in multiphase pumping (Scott 2003). The
two predominant technologies are twin screw and helicoaxial types. The flow
requirements for the development of Huwaila field could be met by either type
of multiphase pumps. Both twin screw pump vendors and helicoaxial pump vendors
were invited to tender for Huwaila projects. Both twin screw pump and
helicoaxial pumps were considered for the Huwaila project. A helicoaxial pump
was selected because of its unique characteristics. These characteristics will
be discussed in the next section.
Performance of a Helicoaxial Pump
The multiphase helicoaxial pump is a rotodynamic pump based on the so called
“Poseidon Technology” (Lafaille 1990). The aim of the Poseidon research project
was to develop a subsea multiphase production system. A multiphase pump was
obviously a main component of a subsea multiphase production system. The work
to develop a rotodynamic-type multiphase pump was carried out by IFP.
The helicoaxial multiphase pump is a multistage machine. In case of Huwaila,
the selected pump had 11 stages. Each stage or cell is comprised of a rotating
element and a stationary part. The rotating element is the impeller where the
kinetic energy is added from the impeller to the fluids to accelerate the flow
in an axial direction. The multiphase flow then enters the stationary part,
which is the diffuser. As the multiphase flow is decelerated in the stationary
diffuser, the kinetic energy is transformed into a static head.
© 2008. Society of Petroleum Engineers
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- Original manuscript received:
17 July 2007
- Meeting paper published:
11 November 2007
- Revised manuscript received:
21 January 2008
- Manuscript approved:
28 January 2008
- Version of record:
15 June 2008