Baker Hughes Installs Subsea Boosting Systems at BC-10 Deepwater Field Offshore Brazil

Enhanced run life ESP system designs overcome deepwater subsea production challenges.

HOUSTON, TX – May 4, 2010 – Baker Hughes (NYSE: BHI) has installed Centrilift XP™ enhanced run life electrical submersible pumping (ESP) systems in six vertical subsea boosting stations located on the seafloor at Shell's Parque das Conchas (BC-10) Field in the Campos Basin offshore Brazil. The ESP systems at BC-10 – located approximately five miles from the floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) facility in 5,250 feet to 6,250 feet of water – are designed to boost up to 100,000 barrels of fluid per day, which is the maximum capacity of the FPSO.

Baker Hughes was awarded the contract for the enhanced run life systems, engineering design and qualification and testing services for BC-10 in 2007. The systems are designed to overcome the challenge of boosting liquids five miles back to the FPSO and then approximately 5,000 feet to the surface. BC-10 achieved first oil in July 2009 with the wells flowing naturally. Production through the vertical boosting systems began in November.

Three fields, Ostra, Argonauta and Abalone, make up the BC-10 project. Ostra and Argonauta employ the seabed vertical boosting systems and each required a different configuration. In the Ostra Field, the caisson design includes a gas line to separate the gas and fluids prior to the fluids entering the ESP system. The boosting systems at the Argonauta Field do not include gas separation, so the ESP systems are designed to handle more than 40 percent gas entrained in the fluids.

ESP design considerations at BC-10 included temperature cycling, rapid gas decompression, high-horsepower lift requirements and high-fluid volumes. To overcome these challenges, Baker Hughes employed a newly developed pump to handle the fluid volumes with the required high differential pressure; the Centrilift XP high-horsepower motor for enhanced reliability; and a redesigned seal to withstand rapid gas decompression and high thrust forces from the pump.

"Baker Hughes has made a major contribution to achieving first production at two of Shell's top deepwater projects. Reliable ESP performance is critical to the overall success of BC-10 offshore Brazil and Perdido in the Gulf of Mexico," says Ernst den Hartigh, vice president of technical support, Shell Deepwater. "Baker Hughes has consistently demonstrated a commitment to project success that began with a full-scale technology qualification and demonstration effort in 2006 and has continued through installation and startup. Baker Hughes' perseverance, commitment to quality and excellence in engineering design and application were major factors in helping us achieve this success," he notes.

"The successful culmination of the BC-10 project is an important step change for artificial lift technology specifically designed for deepwater applications," notes Nelson Ney, president of Latin America operations for Baker Hughes. "Complex deepwater projects require a commitment to invest in research and development and, just as important, a commitment to bring together the best resources throughout our organization to design fit-for-purpose solutions for never before encountered challenges." Shell designed and operates BC-10 on behalf of partners Petrobras and ONGC Videsh.

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