Did you know Texas and Oklahoma combined receive nearly 4 million cloud-to-ground lightning strikes each year?
In this part of the country, storm chasing is less like an extreme hobby and more like a traditional pastime. However, for oil and gas producers in the region, thunderstorms can be a harbinger for disaster. If and when lightning hits, the electrical equipment used with systems such as ESPs can be at risk if the right surge protectors aren’t in place. Don’t leave your operations up to chance – ESP lightning protection is better than luck.
Throughout the summer months into early fall, storm chasers across Texas and the Midwest hit the roads to pursue massive weather systems that generate hail, tornadoes, and most notably, lightning. It’s no wonder, either, since Texas averages the most cloud-to-ground lightning flashes per year in the U.S., and with Oklahoma coming in third, residents in this region are no strangers to inclement weather. Thunderstorms aren’t harmless, however.
In the oilfield, replacement costs can quickly exceed millions if an operator’s surface equipment is struck without any ESP lightning protection. While there’s no guarantee lightning will hit, most producers don’t want to take that risk. To ensure peace of mind that a lightning storm won’t set back production, surge protection systems can prevent shorting of the electrical components, eliminating the costs of pulling the unit, replacing parts, and reinstalling the system, not to mention the lost profits during this nonproductive period.
So, when one customer in the Mid-Continent region purchased a new electric submersible pump system from Valiant, the solutions team made sure the operator was covered with ESP lightning protection. To minimize the risk of ESP failures due to lightning, Valiant recommended adding a SubSaver® transient voltage surge suppressor (TVSS) to the junction box. With any ESP, a junction box at the surface provides the electrical connection between the downhole and surface cable. Should lightning strike at the wellhead, the TVSS takes the blunt force of the electric surge, thus protecting the pump, motor, ESP cable, and sensor array.
Like a pressure relief valve, when voltage exceeds the maximum rating, the energy is diverted to prevent shorting of downhole equipment. To ensure maximum TVSS performance, Valiant installed three separate grounding wires to divert any residual voltage away from the ESP. In addition to protecting the downhole equipment, every Pulse™ VSD comes equipped with its own surge suppressor to safeguard the drive’s electronics.
Valiant’s design for this operator consisted of three Abrasion-Resistant Modular (ARM) pumps with tandem Intercept™ gas separators and an Endeavour™ series motor controlled by a Pulse™ Variable Speed Drive and protected by a SubSaver® TVSS device. By taking a solutions-based approach and understanding the region’s challenges, Valiant applied a fit-for-purpose solution to provide the customer with worry-free ESP operations.