A notable trend in the realm of oil production in harsh environments is the increasing use of Electrical Submersible Pump (ESP) systems. ESPs have even been used as an artificial-lift method for extracting high-viscosity oils in deep offshore fields. As a way of reducing workover costs, an ESP system may be installed at the well bottom or on the seabed. A critical factor, however, in deep-water production is the low temperature at the seabed. In fact, these low temperatures constitute the main source for many flow-assurance problems, such as the increase in friction losses due to high viscosity. Oil viscosity impacts pump performance, reducing the head and increasing the shaft power. This study investigates the influence of a temperature increase of ultra-heavy oil on ESP performance and the heating effect through a 10-stage ESP. Using several flow rates, tests are performed at four rotational speeds and with four viscosity levels. At each rotational speed curve, researchers keep constant the inlet temperature and viscosity. The study compares the resulting data with a simple heat model developed to estimate the oil outlet temperature as functions of ESP performance parameters. The experimental data is represented by a one-dimensional model that also simulates a 100-stage ESP. The simulations demonstrate that as the oil heat flows through the pump, the pump’s efficiency increases.

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