Celeros Flow Technology injects new life into 40 year old SAGD pump to increase heavy oil production for customer

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Celeros Flow Technology has injected new life into a heritage pump for a Canadian heavy oil recovery customer, enabling them to increase production. The pump – a Mather & Platt BB5 – was more than 40 years old and had been subject to numerous post-installation alterations.

Heavy oil deposits are extremely viscous and require the injection of high pressure, high temperature steam to improve fluidity and allow the oil to be pumped to the surface. In order to boost extraction on this project, the customer needed to increase water temperatures from 90° C to 140° C. However, there were concerns that the existing pump may not be able to deliver this requirement. Nozzle loads were a particular concern. They turned to Celeros Flow Technology brand ClydeUnion Pumps, their preferred supplier of some 20 years, for assistance.

Mather & Platt is one of several heritage pump brands for which Celeros Flow Technology offers full lifecycle support1. Their aftermarket engineering team undertook a thorough examination of the quadragenarian Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD) boiler feed water pump used in the heavy oil extraction process. The investigation revealed that the pump had suffered a number of seal failures over time that had damaged the stuffing box and affected operational efficiency. There had also been no maintenance interventions for decades – but the pump had never actually failed.

Says Mike Golds, Global Upgrade and Rerate Programme Manager for ClydeUnion Pumps: “It is testament to the quality of the original pump that it had continued to operate in such harsh conditions and with no regular maintenance over such a long period of time. More importantly, it gave us confidence that a thorough overhaul could achieve the desired improvement in performance, saving the customer the cost and lost production time that can be associated with sourcing and installing a new unit.”

Celeros Flow Technology overhauled the SAGD pump and performed a mechanical seal upgrade and Plan 23 seal flush to optimize pump performance. In addition, finite element analysis was undertaken to confirm that the nozzle loads would withstand the desired temperature increase. As a result, the pump is now capable of delivering steam at the higher temperatures required. The seal upgrades ensure it meets the latest specifications.

Concludes Mike Golds: “We are really pleased with the outcome of the SAGD pump upgrade. It has not only achieved the desired production increase for the customer, but also provided a more sustainable and cost-effective solution than total pump replacement. Using modern engineering and analysis, we have been able to give the existing pump a new lease of life and ensure it will continue to perform well for many more years.”