PCM Unveils New Heavy Oil Technology

PCM introduced PCM Vulcain, a revolutionary progressing cavity pump with an all-metal design that is capable of pumping extremely hot (350 degrees C/660 degrees F) and extremely viscous fluids.

It is estimated that half of the world's known oil reserves are made up of unconventional oil, ranging from viscous heavy oil to nearly solid bitumen. These oils cannot flow unless they are heated. Thermal recovery methods, such as SAGD (Steam-Assisted Gravity Drainage) and CSS (Cyclic Steam Stimulation), are used to inject heat into the reservoirs, enabling the oil to flow to the well. The oil pumped to the surface is extremely hot.

"Standard progressing cavity pumps (PCP), sucker rod pumps (SRP) and electrical submersible pumps (ESP) are limited in terms of maximum operating temperature. In contrast, the PCM Vulcain is the only pump that works efficiently at the high temperatures of thermal recovery." explains Nicolas Parise, Director, PCM Oil & Gas Business Unit. "Elastomer stators make standard progressing cavity pumps unsuitable for use at extremely hot temperature -- and other existing pump technologies are not as inherently efficient or reliable as progressing cavity pumps."

Thanks to its patented all-metal design; PCM Vulcain solves both sides of the equation by providing all the natural advantages and flexibility of progressing cavity pump technology at extreme temperatures.

The rotary action of PCM Vulcain outperforms beam pumps in overall system efficiency and it is less fragile than electric submersible pumps. Progressing cavity pumps are more energy efficient than other pump technologies: PCM Vulcain provides extremely low submergence production capability and can operate at low downhole pressures and higher viscosities.

With the inherently reliable, robust eco-design of PCM progressing cavity pumps, PCM Vulcain has lower capital expenditure than comparable submersible and rod pumps. It also offers lower workover costs and reduced installation and operational complexity.

The pump's seals reduce the risk of on-site leakage and the compact installation footprint reduces its visual impact on the landscape.

PCM Vulcain was developed in partnership with one of the world's biggest oil companies. Over a decade ago, when thermal recovery was emerging, the oil company turned to PCM to develop a progressing cavity pump capable of withstanding the harsh downhole conditions of the recovery methods they were perfecting. They wanted the solution to be as cost effective as possible, which implied making it available on an industrial scale. Through this partnership, PCM developed an all metal PCP technology that is today protected worldwide by several patents.

As a result and in close collaboration with Kudu, PCM's sister company, PCM Vulcain has a long track record of field-proven performance in some of the world's major unconventional oilfields, including the Athabasca Oil Sands in northern Alberta, Canada. The PCM Vulcain pumps range is available with a complete surface system and set of completion tools.