The initiative to develop an Upwing Subsurface Compressor System™ (SCS) began in 2011 under parent company Calnetix Technologies. The initiative was first inspired while analyzing the pressure of hot brine being produced by an oil and gas well for the installation of a Thermapower Organic Rankine Cycle 125MT system.
Proof of Concept
From 2013 to 2014, a proof-of-concept system was developed by Calnetix through a special R&D program. To accelerate the development and production times for this and other oil and gas programs, the company acquired and developed unique intellectual property for electric motors, power electronics and control software, which offered unique benefits outside of Calnetix’s existing technologies for oil and gas applications.
In 2015, Calnetix carried out component qualifications and subsystem testing for the proof-of-concept system. The complete SCS unit was built and tested in a specially constructed test bed to simulate well conditions, and a deployment process was created using existing deployment techniques.
First Well Trial
In 2016, Upwing Energy was formed as a wholly owned subsidiary of Calnetix Technologies to focus on the development and sale of subsurface rotating devices. The first SCS well trial took place in the first quarter of 2016 in a gas well located in Northern Texas, and was followed by design improvements and validation, leading up to additional trials in the fourth quarter of 2016 to successfully complete the proof-of-concept phase. Based on the lessons learned from the proof-of-concept field trials, Upwing engineers began modifying the SCS design for the future commercial unit SCS 425 v1. During the field trial, the team observed liquid ingress into motor and electrical lines, fouling of traditional ball bearings at high speeds in various environments, and debris at the suction of compressor. In addition, sucker rod deployment of SCS was deemed unreliable.
System Solution for Well Types
In 2017, Upwing Energy expanded its multidisciplinary team of mechanical, electrical and petroleum engineers, who have extensive experience in artificial lift solutions and applications. These technical experts provide advanced solutions from concept to design to testing under one roof. Also in 2017, the Upwing team started developing tools to analyze and predict well performance with SCS. After the field trials, the engineers concluded that a complete system level solution is required for end users, rather than just offering the SCS unit alone, and incorporating factors like well geometry, reservoir characteristics and existing topside equipment is necessary to analyze, predict and deliver enhanced results.
Funding, EPS and MDS
In 2018, Upwing Energy closed a funding round led by Equinor Technology Ventures and Cooper and Company to accelerate the development of our downhole gas compressor and expand our in-house testing capabilities. At the same time, we launched our unique Upwing Enhanced Production Simulator™ (EPS) tool that can analyze conventional and unconventional wells and calculate the incremental producible reserves based on key parameter inputs, such as wellhead pressure, bottom hole temperature, inflow performance relationship, etc. The information from EPS will be continually processed in real time by the system controller to optimize production without the need for operator intervention. Also in 2018, based on industry feedback, it became apparent that the topology utilized in the SCS, which was driven by the gas application requirements, had significant merits for existing downhole rotating pumps for liquids, and we began working on a system level solution to improve the reliability of electric submersible pumps (ESPs), which we are calling the Magnetic Drive System™ (MDS).