XCEL Variable Speed Drives Optimize Production

Stark Kremeier

Over the life of a producing unconventional well, the artificial lift system requirements typically become altered. The flow rate follows a decline curve, and as water-to-oil ratios change, ESPs need change. Installing an ESP powerful enough to handle production rates on a new well can create the need for a change over time. Connecting the ESP to the long time standard switchboard—basically, an on-off switch—lower production can require pulling the original ESP to replace it with a less powerful one. Running too large a pump for production can waste energy and damage the ESP.


Installing Extract Companies’ XCEL variable speed drive (VSD) instead of a switchboard provides much more flexibility to match production changes using the original pump. Because ESPs can operate efficiently within a range of speeds, XCEL can slow the ESP as needed. Without XCEL, an operator would need a pulling unit, not only costing them tens of thousands of dollars to remove the original pump and replace it with a less powerful one but costing them lost production while the pumps are being exchanged.


The XCEL VSD also provides a ramp-up start, alleviating the reactive demand rate (RDR) charged to large customers by many power companies when customers have large electric motors that require a significant draw of electricity upon startup. A ramp-up start lets power demand rise in a measured fashion, preventing the big draw that can trigger an RDR.


Gas Locking

The XCEL VSD gives more options in the case of gas locking, as opposed to the one option available from an on-off-only switchboard. We will cover this topic in more detail in our next post.


Future-Proofing Your Capital Investment: IM and PMM Flexibility with XCEL VSD

Whether your current ESPs use induction motors (IM) or permanent magnet motors (PMM), the VSD provides the flexibility you’ll need for the future. With PMMs gaining in market share due to their flexibility and significant power savings, having the units powered by an XCEL VSD simplifies any upgrade from IM to PMM because the latter unit requires a VSD and can save $30,000 to $60,000 in replacement costs and further downtime.


The XCEL VSD simplifies procurement and storage because it can run any ESP.


Combining PMM with VSD Offers Options

A VSD offers some flexibility with an IM pump, allowing the IM to run in a range from 30-70Hz. Replacing the IM with a PMM multiplies the power range tremendously, allowing up to 330 Hz, which lets one pump stay in use much longer through the well’s decline curve.


With Extract’s XCEL VSD, there are often no changes needed when updating from an IM to a PMM. The only exception is, if the pump is running on high speed, a simple upgrade in the step-up transformer is all that is needed.


Because of a PMM’s compact size and reduced carbon footprint, operators are installing them with increasing frequency, a move that is both cost-effective and ESG friendly.


Extract’s XCEL VSD can save thousands in replacement costs, from pumps to power management systems.


Are you ready to learn more? Download the product slick to learn how the XCEL VSD is right for your company.

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