Case Study

Material Selection and Root Cause Analysis for Closed Drains Pumps Failures






The client is a confidential energy company operating an asset in the North Sea with production in excess of 300 MMscf/d gas. The asset started operations in 1997. Gas processed within the area is transported through a transmission system pipeline, while liquids are transported via a designated system.


Since their installation in 2014, the closed drain pumps on the platform have been causing process upsets, characterised by large ad-hoc flows to the LP Separator during operation and multiple pump failures. These issues have primarily been attributed to material incompatibility, as indicated by laboratory tests and previous investigations. OGC Energy assisted the client in investigating the root cause of the pump failures. This study aimed to evaluate material compatibility, propose solutions, and assess the feasibility of retaining the existing pumps while enhancing operational performance. These failures have resulted in downtime, increased maintenance costs, and potential environmental risks, highlighting the urgent need for a comprehensive solution.


OGC Energy's initial investigations uncovered that multiple pump failures were caused by the swelling of the Viton stator material around the rotor. However, further analysis was necessary to pinpoint the root cause and devise effective solutions. Conducting an extensive root cause analysis, OGC Energy meticulously examined operational data, pump components, and system dynamics. Recognising the important role of materials in pump performance, OGC Energy thoroughly reviewed material compatibility to identify suitable alternatives capable of mitigating the swelling issue.
To validate their findings and recommendations, OGC Energy managed an independent laboratory to confirm the compatibility of selected materials with the operating conditions of the asset. With the team's expertise in materials and root cause analysis, OGC Energy provided invaluable insights into the intricate interactions between pump components and operating conditions.
The exhaustive testing and analysis confirmed the compatibility of selected materials with the client's operational environment, effectively addressing the swelling issue. Contrary to initial assumptions, OGC Energy identified the root cause of the pump failures as "running dry," exacerbated by insufficient lubrication under low flow conditions.


At OGC Energy, we specialise in identifying and resolving the root causes of pump failures to ensure uninterrupted operation and enhance operational reliability for our clients. By thoroughly analysing your system and conducting comprehensive root cause analyses, we can pinpoint the underlying issues leading to pump failures. Our expertise allows us to recommend tailored solutions to address these issues effectively.

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