Engineering Solutions for Oil and Gas

How Hydraulic Disc Pumps Fuel Innovation in Oil + Gas

Oil and gas companies face significant challenges pumping a range of harsh liquids. From crude oil that moves like molasses to corrosive oily wastewater to slurries with extreme fluctuations in viscosity–traditional pump technologies often struggle to keep up.

If your pump isn’t designed to handle harsh oil and gas applications, you’ll find yourself in a constant, costly battle against pump failure. In fact, within the oil and gas sector, a single hour of unplanned downtime can cost $500,000 on average.

In worst-case scenarios, an unreliable pump can lead to catastrophic system failure – risking dangerous spills and expensive clean-up operations. Disc pumps offer a unique opportunity to overcome these common challenges while optimizing efficiency.

Hydraulic Disc Pumps: The Ideal Solution for Oil and Gas Pumping

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For the oil and gas industry, Discflo’s hydraulic disc pumps offer significant advantages over conventional centrifugal and advanced displacement pumps. The key lies in their unique laminar flow pumping mechanism and open design with low-to-no close tolerances.

Using the simple principle of viscous drag, disc pumps gently pull – rather than forcefully push – fluid through the pipe. This creates a smooth, impingement-free laminar flow. Viscous drag attracts fluid into parallel streams, with the outermost layer stationary (relative to the rotating disc). This creates a protective layer between the pump and the liquid being pumped.

With this protective boundary layer and low-to-no close tolerances, the material being pumped does not come into harmful direct contact with the pump. This effectively eliminates the root cause of clogs, emulsion, cavitation, and excessive wear on system components – issues that are all too common in oil and gas applications.

Thanks to their unique design, our hydraulic disc pumps are ideal for pumping:

  • Abrasive & corrosive fluids
  • Viscous slurries to 200,000 cP
  • Large & stringy solids (up to 8” in diameter)

  • Multiphase flows (gas, liquid, solid)
  • High-solid fluids (up to 80% solids)
  • High temperature/pressure flow

Discflo disc pumps have been solving problems in the oil and gas industry for over 40 years. The powerful combination of superior abrasion resistance, gas-entrained pumping ability, and non-emulsifying laminar flow make Discflo the superior choice for demanding applications, including:

  • Crude Oil
  • Drilling Mud
  • Heavy Oil
  • Sludge (Waste/to Coker)
  • Oil/Water Emulsions
  • Petroleum-Based Slurry
  • Sand, Oil, Water, Toluene
  • Sea Water/Cuttings
  • Waste Pond Sludge
  • Raw Crude (After Separation)

Proven Performance in Oil and Gas Applications

Thanks to our unique design, Discflo disc pumps are ideal for complicated oil and gas applications. The following success stories demonstrate how our custom-engineered solutions are improving operational efficiency throughout the industry.

Solving Cavitation and Viscosity Issues

Pumping crude oil from tanker trucks into storage tanks was a costly and frustrating challenge for Flying J Refinery in Utah. The operation faced two key issues:

  1. The crude’s viscosity varied depending on where it was drawn from within the tanker.
  2. The pumps would ingest air as the tankers neared empty, creating major cavitation issues. In one case, the vibration was so severe it broke flowmeters hundreds of feet down the line.
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Flying J had tried numerous pump types, including centrifugal, gear, screw, and sliding vane. Each had a poor performance record, including excessive maintenance and parts costs. After learning about Discflo technology, they installed their first disc pump (a model 402-14-2HHDH).

Prior to Discflo, the refinery spent a minimum of $40,000 annually on pump parts, not including downtime and labor costs. In stark contrast, their new disc pump has yet to need a single replacement part. In fact, the first pump was so successful, they added two more! 

Since start-up, Flying J has saved $30,000 to $40,000/year in pump parts, eliminated downtime labor and production losses, and no longer worries about replacing expensive flowmeters due to cavitation.

Handling Viscous Tar-Like Substances

In Louisiana, Dupont needed a solution to offload tanker trucks for their sulfuric acid regeneration process. The trucks contained 95-98% spent Sulfuric acid at 1.8 S.G. with a top layer of 3000cp tar-like substance at 1.1 S.G. (which floated on top of the spent sulfuric acid.) Their existing ANSI pumps could not handle the high-viscosity tar layer, causing frequent motor trips and leaving residual product in the tankers after offloading. This required frequent costly tanker cleanings. 

Discflo recommended a Hastelloy C276 pump, sized for 125 gpm flow rate of the sulfuric acid. Once the acid is offloaded, the pump’s natural system resistance takes over to pump the tar-like substance at about 30-40 gpm. The Discflo disc pump has run maintenance-free for 10 years, completely emptying both substances from the tankers and hoses with no spills or drips. This has eliminated the need for frequent cleanings, providing substantial cost savings for Dupont.

Dupont

Streamlining Multiphase Flow

Columbia’s Campo Quifa oil field was struggling to pump heavy crude oil with traditional twin screw pumps. Due to the presence of solids, harsh pollutants, and entrained gas–and the varying consistency of the crude mixture–the twin-screw pumps needed constant repairs. This meant frequent downtime, lost productivity, and sky-high lifecycle costs.

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To solve this issue, the facility replaced the twin-screw pumps with Discflo hydraulic disc pumps. These pumps are designed to handle tough materials like abrasive solids, gaseous mixtures, and extreme viscosity fluctuations (from water to heavy, molasses-like crude oil).

By switching to Discflo disc pumps, the facility was able to increase pumping capacity and efficiency. More importantly, they eliminated the constant downtime, reducing operating costs while keeping production levels high.

Improving Oily Water Service with Vertical Cantilever Pumps

Recurring reliability issues were faced by Saudi Aramco with their Oily Water Service (OWS) sump application. Due to its corrosive and cavitation-inducing properties, pumping oily wastewater is extremely challenging. The facility’s conventional vertical line shaft pumps failed frequently, with an average repair cost of $3,852 every six months.

In search of a more reliable option, Saudi Aramco replaced one of the pumps with a Discflo Vertical Cantilever pump. This innovative technology features a vertical cantilever design with a suction tailpipe and disc-type impeller – uniquely suited for difficult fluid application.

The results have been remarkable. After four years of continuous operation, the Discflo disc pump has required zero maintenance, saving Saudi Aramco around $7,700 annually on repairs for just this single pump.

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Transforming Challenging Applications in Oil and Gas

From heavy crude transfer to subsea drilling fluid management, our non-impingement, laminar flow hydraulic disc pumps provide unparalleled performance when handling even the most difficult materials.

Every oil and gas operation is unique, with its own specific pumping challenges. That’s why we work closely with clients to understand their pumping needs – and custom-engineer the optimal pump configuration.

If you’re struggling with pump reliability, excessive maintenance costs, or system inefficiencies, reach out to our expert team. Discover how our proven technology can revolutionize your operations – just like it has for companies like Citgo, Saudi Aramco, and Texaco.

Book a call with our experts today.

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