A horizontal well site in North Dakota’s Bakken Formation was the proving ground for new manifold-trailer technology engineered to re-route abrasive proppants (sand and ceramics) away from high-pressure pumps. Well operator Liberty Oilfield Services conducted the full-scale field test in late 2015 of Energy Recovery’s VorTeq equipment. The test was conducted in a proppant-laden slickwater well. Liberty Oilfield Services executive Ron Gusek referred to the test conditions as “a very challenging environment.”

Successful completion of the field trials at flow rates and pressures typical to the basin is a critical step towards full commercialization.Successful completion of the field trials at flow rates and pressures typical to the basin is a critical step towards full commercialization.According to Energy Recovery, the VorTeq system incorporates isobaric pressure exchangers into the manifold trailer and handles treating pressures to 15,000 PSI and flow rates up to 110 barrels/min. Proppant-laden fluid travels directly downhole through the pressure exchangers, bypassing the pumps.

By keeping abrasive proppants away from the pumps, only pure water touches the pumps. This protects fluid end components of the pumps—valves and valve seats—from abrasive wear. The result is extended pump life and improved operational efficiency, through minimizing downtime due to pump failure and maintenance.

Successful completion of the field trials at flow rates and pressures typical to the basin “is a critical step towards full commercialization of VorTeq,” says Joel Gay, Energy Recovery’s president and CEO.

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