Global reserves of heavy crude are significant. The contribution of heavy oil to world supply has been modest to date, but as lighter crudes become harder to find, heavy oil will be an increasingly important source of supply. Bornemann multiphase pumps can help meet the special challenges faced by heavy oil producers.
Heavy oil reserves exist in several areas of the world and often involve severe operating environments. In Venezuela’s Orinoco Belt, for example, where oil viscosity is 8°-12° API, Bornemann has extensive experience in the application of multiphase pumps.
In addition to high viscosity, the use of multiphase pumps in heavy oil service faces other unique challenges:
- The crude may be diluted with light crude or naphtha;
- Gas content typically is low during early production, then increases;
- Very heavy liquid slugs can enter the pump, limiting operating speed;
- Water cut may gradually increase during initial production;
- Production may be intermittent and artificial lift systems may be overloaded.