Electric Submersible Pumps (ESP) are widely used in the oil industry to lift the oil production to the surface. ESPs can handle a wide range of flow rates from 200 to 90,000 bbl/d (32 to 14,309 m³/d), and lift requirements from virtually zero to 10,000 ft, (3,048 m), of lift. ESPs can be located in vertical, deviated, and horizontal wells.

To make an optimal design and operation of ESP, it is beneficial to be able to simulate the steady state and transient thermal-hydraulic behaviour of the ESP system including the well tubing, the reservoir and the wellbore. Simulations will help to select the materials for the ESP design so that they can withstand the change of pressure and temperature the pump is subjected to in various operation scenarios. The simulations can also help design operation procedures to ensure operation within the design constraints of the ESP that is installed in the well.

This paper presents the modelling of ESP in a transient multiphase flow simulator. A simulation model is built based on a real well data to calculate the well inflow performances in normal operations and transient operations. The calculated ESP pump speed, suction pressure, discharge pressure and flowrate of different fluid phases in the normal oil production and the transient during shut-in/start-up operations match the measured data fairly well.

Further on, the numerical code is to be used to predict the ESP performance on more scenarios to check the dynamic behavior of the ESP under certain steady state and transient operating conditions in order to ensure the proper guidelines on ESP system components qualification process, the effects of shut-in and start-up on the ESP pump material selection e.g. sealing material, bearings, etc. A comparison of the measured and the calculated data will be used to develop the highly reliable ESP system.

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