The role of centrifugal compressors within the petroleum industry is critical since they are used in all aspects of gas processing such as gas lift, transmission and distribution, re-injection into reservoir for pressure maintenance, wellhead separator boosting, casing head gas collection, under ground gas storage and liquefaction for transport, [1]. Among those optional tests applicable to centrifugal compressors stressed in API STD 617, performance test demands a great attention, since it determines if equipment meets design or expected performance criteria and serve as a means to determine fulfillment of manufacturer’s guarantees. Having a working knowledge coupled with more rigorous testing prior to accepting delivery of centrifugal compressors can reveal a fairly large percentage of performance failures. The main purpose of writing this paper is to share the author’s experience of purchasing and testing centrifugal compressors within the petroleum industry. Furthermore, it attempts to address the potential pitfalls of a poor performance test procedure.

M. Taherimoghaddam, H. Binaie, “Pre-delivery Testing of Centrifugal Compressors within the Petroleum Industry- a User’s View,” presented in ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and RD&D Expo, Anaheim, California USA, 2004.
F. S. Manning, R. E. Thompson, “Oilfield Processing of Petroleum,” Volume One, Natural Gas, Pennwell Pub. Co., 1991.
American Petroleum Institute (API) Standard 617, “Axial and Centrifugal Compressors and Expander-compressors for Petroleum, Chemical and Gas Industry Services,” 2002.
American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Power Test Code 10, “Performance Test code on Compressors and Expanders,” 1997.
American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Power Test Code 19.1, “Test Uncertainty,” 1998
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