Progressive Cavity Pump (PCP)

Definition - What does Progressive Cavity Pump (PCP) mean?

A Progressive Cavity Pump is a type of a positive displacement pump which uses a rotor to pump fluids. It is also known as Progg cavity pump; Progressing cavity Pump; Eccentric cavity pump or simply cavity pump. As the rotor of this pump rotates, it transfers the fluid forward through the pump in the sequence of small fixed shape discrete cavities. This results in making volumetric flow rate proportional to the rotational rate of the rotor because of which fluid is pumped with low shear.

Petropedia explains Progressive Cavity Pump (PCP)

Progressive Cavity Pumps (PCP) are applied in wide range of industries including the oil and gas industry. Some of the advantages of using PCP systems are as follows:

  • Overall efficiency in terms of Energy as well as Operations is high in the range of 55 to 77%.
  • Can produce high sand or other produced solids from a wellbore.
  • Easily able to tolerate high percentages of free gas.
  • As it has no valves or any reciprocating parts, thus, no clogging, gas lock or wear and tear.
  • High abrasion resistance.
  • Offers low internal shear rates of fluid thereby limiting agitation of liquids (crude oil & water). Thus no fluid emulsification.
  • Low operating cost compared to other type of pumps used in this industry.
  • Simple to install and operate.
  • Low maintenance cost.
  • Low profile surface equipment.
  • Low noise levels.

Some of the disadvantages of PCP systems are as follows:

  • Limited production rates. A large diameter PCP can produce a maximum of 800 cubic meters per day of fluid. Smaller diameter pumps will produce much lower rate.
  • Fluid lifting capacity of these pumps is limited (maximum of 3000 meter or 9,840 feet.
  • Are only able to withstand temperatures of up to 100°C. Need to use special elastomers in order to operate at higher temperatures.
  • Volumetric efficiency is low in gas producing wells.
  • Susceptible to fatigue failures in sucker rod strings.
  • Not suitable for directional and horizontal drilling operations.
  • Control of paraffin can be an issue in the case of heavy crude oil production.

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