Title:
Multi-Phase Conductor Shoe For Use With Electrical Submersible Pump
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A system for producing wellbore fluids. The system includes a pumping system deployable into tubing disposed in a wellbore, the pumping system includes a pump, a pump motor, a reservoir for containing purging fluid, and conductors in electrical communication with the pump motor. Electrical supply contacts in the tubing are connected to a downhole electrical power supply via a power cable extending along the tubing length from the surface. The conductors are engageable with the electrical supply contacts when the pumping system is landed within the tubing. Purging fluid in the reservoir can be flowed between the conductors and the supply contacts to remove conductive fluid prior to engaging the conductors and supply contacts. The conductors are selectively extended from a retracted position in the pumping system.



Inventors:
Tetzlaff, Steven K. (Owasso, OK, US)
Bierig, Kevin R. (Tulsa, OK, US)
Thompson, Joseph Scott (Owasso, OK, US)
Application Number:
12/413243
Publication Date:
09/30/2010
Filing Date:
03/27/2009
Assignee:
Baker Hughes Incroporated (Houston, TX, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
166/66.4
International Classes:
E21B43/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
SAYRE, JAMES G
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Bracewell & Giuliani LLP (P.O. Box 61389, Houston, TX, 77208-1389, US)
Claims:
1. A system for producing fluids from a hydrocarbon producing wellbore comprising: a string of tubing disposed within the wellbore; a receptacle adapted for connection to the string of tubing lower end; supply contacts in the receptacle connected to an electrical source; a pumping system deployable through the tubing having, a pump with fluid inlets and a pump motor mechanically coupled to the pump; a deployed assembly provided with the pumping system selectively engageable with the annular receptacle, the deployed assembly having a volume of purging fluid selectively dischargable from the deployed assembly to a space around the contacts; and conductors provided with the deployed assembly that are in electrical communication with the pump motor.

2. The system of claim 1, wherein the conductors are selectively extendable from a retracted position into contact with the supply contacts, so that the pump motor is energizable by the electrical source by contacting the conductors with the supply contacts.

3. The system of claim 2, further comprising a retaining member circumscribing the conductors, the member formed so that a retaining force is applied to the conductors directed radially inward.

4. The system of claim 2, further comprising a sleeve axially slideable from a first position having a first portion in mechanical contact with a conductor to a second position having a second portion in mechanical contact with a conductor, wherein the second portion thickness is greater than the first portion to thereby push the conductor radially outward.

5. The system of claim 1, further comprising a power cable in the wellbore on the tubing outer circumference connected on one end to the electrical source, and supply leads that extend from the other end of the power cable to the supply contacts.

6. The system of claim 2, further comprising a profiled channel on the deployed assembly outer surface registerable with a key on the receptacle inner circumference that orients the deployed assembly when it is landed within the tubing so that the conductors are aligned with the supply contacts.

7. The system of claim 1 further comprising a reservoir in the deployed assembly containing the purging fluid, a piston selectively moveable in the reservoir, an elongated piston rod extending from the piston, a fluid flow path from the reservoir having an exit directed beneath the deployed assembly, and a plunger on the end of the piston rod opposite the piston.

8. The system of claim 1, further comprising a selectively openable conduit extending between the purging fluid and the ESP system internal pressure.

9. A wellbore production system comprising: a pumping system having a pump with fluid inlets, a pump motor mechanically coupled to the pump, a housing mechanically coupled to an end of the motor opposite the pump, and conductors on the housing in electrical communication with the pump motor; a string of tubing disposed within the wellbore configured to receive the pumping system therein; electrical supply leads on the tubing inner circumference in electrical communication with an electrical source and in selective electrical communication with the contacts when the pumping system is landed in the tubing; and a fluid reservoir in the housing having non-conductive purging fluid, the reservoir in selective communication with the housing outer surface, so that selectively flowing the purging fluid from the fluid reservoir between the contacts and the electrical supply leads purges electrically conductive fluid away from the contacts and the electrical supply leads.

10. The wellbore production system of claim 9, wherein the contacts are selectively extendable from a retracted position in the pumping system into contact with the supply leads.

11. The wellbore production system of claim 9, further comprising a piston selectively movable into the reservoir, so that moving the piston into the reservoir urges purging fluid out from the reservoir.

12. A method of producing fluids from a hydrocarbon producing wellbore comprising: providing within the wellbore tubing with an attached receptacle in electrical communication with an electrical power source; providing a pumping system with an attached deployed assembly, the pumping system having a pump with fluid inlets and a pump motor mechanically coupled to the pump, the deployed assembly having non-conductive purging fluid stored therein; deploying the pumping system and attached deployed assembly in the tubing; purging a space between the deployed assembly and the receptacle by discharging the non-conductive purging fluid stored in the deployed assembly; and landing the deployed assembly into the receptacle.

13. The method of claim 12, further comprising providing conductors on the deployed assembly in electrical communication with the pump motor, providing supply contacts in the receptacle in electrical communication with the electrical power source and orienting the deployed assembly within the receptacle to align the conductors with the electrical supply contacts.

14. The method of claim 13, further comprising selectively extending the conductors outward from a retracted position into engagement with the supply contacts.

15. The method of claim 12, further comprising activating the electrical power source and pumping fluid through the pumping system.

16. The method of claim 12, further comprising forming a seal between the deployed assembly and the receptacle when landing the deployed assembly into the receptacle.

17. The method of claim 12, wherein the step of providing the pumping system includes deploying at least one member of the pumping system on a first downhole deployment and at least another member of the pumping system on a second downhole deployment.

Description:

BACKGROUND

1. Field of Invention

The present disclosure relates to downhole pumping systems submersible in well bore fluids. More specifically, the present disclosure concerns lowering a submersible pump system through tubing and connecting it electrically to an electrical receptacle mounted in the tubing.

2. Description of Prior Art

Submersible pumping systems are often used in hydrocarbon producing wells for pumping fluids from within the wellbore to the surface. These fluids are generally liquids and include produced liquid hydrocarbon as well as water. One type of system used in this application employs an electrical submersible pump (ESP). ESPs are typically disposed at the end of a length of production tubing and have an electrically powered motor. Often electrical power may be supplied to the pump motor via a power cable. Normally, the power cable is strapped to the tubing and lowered along with the pump and the tubing. Typically, the pumping unit is disposed within the well bore just above where perforations are made into a hydrocarbon producing zone. ESP's typically require periodic retrieval for scheduled maintenance or repair. This usually entails removing the tubing and the power cable, which is secured alongside the tubing. Pulling and re-running the tubing is time consuming and pulling and reusing the power cable creates mechanical wear and can sometimes damage the cable.

Lowering the pumping assembly inside the production tubing would avoid a need for pulling the tubing to retrieve the pump. Proposals have been made to run the power cable on the tubing exterior and the pump in the tubing. The pump stacks into engagement with electrical contacts provided on the power cable lower end.

SUMMARY OF INVENTION

The present disclosure includes a system for producing fluids from a hydrocarbon producing wellbore, the system comprises production tubing disposed within the wellbore, a pumping system having a pump with fluid inlets, and a pump motor mechanically coupled to the pump. The pumping system is deployable through the production tubing. A conductor shoe is affixed within the production tubing and configured to matingly couple with the pumping system. Also included is an electrical power supply line connected to a power source that connects with or otherwise engages a conductor shoe. Half of a conductor set may be included with the pumping system, where the conductors selectively extend outward as the pumping system couples with the conductor shoe. Optionally, conductors may be provided with the production tubing and selectively extend inward. The deployable pumping system can further include a supply of non-conducting fluid for purging the space where electrical connections are made.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

Some of the features and benefits of the present invention having been stated, others will become apparent as the description proceeds when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a side partial sectional view of a receptacle attached to production tubing.

FIG. 2 is sectional view of the receptacle of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a detailed sectional view of a portion of the receptacle of FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is a sectional view of the receptacle of FIG. 3.

FIGS. 5A-5C are side section views of an assembly to be deployed in the production tubing and receptacle.

FIGS. 6-8 are sectional views of the embodiments of FIGS. 5A-5C.

FIGS. 9A and 9B are side partial sectional views of the assembly landing in the receptacle.

FIGS. 10A and 10B are side partial sectional views of the assembly landed in the receptacle.

FIGS. 11 and 12 are sectional views respectively from FIGS. 10A and 10B.

FIG. 13 is a side partial sectional view of the assembly fully coupled with the receptacle in a wellbore.

While the invention will be described in connection with the preferred embodiments, it will be understood that it is not intended to limit the invention to that embodiment. On the contrary, it is intended to cover all alternatives, modifications, and equivalents, as may be included within the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF INVENTION

The present invention will now be described more fully hereinafter with reference to the accompanying drawings in which embodiments of the invention are shown. This invention may, however, be embodied in many different forms and should not be construed as limited to the illustrated embodiments set forth herein; rather, these embodiments are provided so that this disclosure will be thorough and complete, and will fully convey the scope of the invention to those skilled in the art. Like numbers refer to like elements throughout. For the convenience in referring to the accompanying figures, directional terms are used for reference and illustration only. For example, the directional terms such as “upper”, “lower”, “above”, “below”, and the like are being used to illustrate a relational location.

It is to be understood that the invention is not limited to the exact details of construction, operation, exact materials, or embodiments shown and described, as modifications and equivalents will be apparent to one skilled in the art. In the drawings and specification, there have been disclosed illustrative embodiments of the invention and, although specific terms are employed, they are used in a generic and descriptive sense only and not for the purpose of limitation. Accordingly, the invention is therefore to be limited only by the scope of the appended claims.

An example of an annular receptacle assembly 55 is shown in partial cross sectional view in FIG. 1 connected to the production tubing 54 lower end. Inlet passages 68 are shown formed through the receptacle assembly 55 near its upper end. Keys 63 are affixed to the receptacle assembly 55 inner circumference below the passages 68. The keys 63 are elongate members that jut out into the assembly 55 annulus with their elongate side aligned with the assembly 55 axis. The receptacle assembly 55 inner diameter reduces at a transition 57 shown below the keys 63. A conductor assembly 56 (also referred to herein as a conductor shoe) is shown provided on the receptacle assembly 55 lower end. The examples of the conductor assembly 56 depicted includes an annular upper member 65 and a lower member 67. The upper member 65 upper end is coaxially affixed around the receptacle assembly 55 lower end. The upper member 65 lower end connects to the lower member 67.

An upper polished bore (PBR) 58 is shown formed within the upper member 65 annulus and extending into the lower member 67 inner surface. The upper PBR 58 transitions to a smaller diameter within the lower member 67, thereby defining a lower PBR 60. The upper and lower PBRs 58, 60 may be polished to provide sealing surfaces. Bore 61 coaxially extends downward from the lower PBR 60 through the lower member 67, the 61 is shown having a diameter less than the lower PBR 60 diameter.

An electrical cable 66 is provided adjacent the receptacle assembly 55. The electrical cable 66 connects on upper end to an electrical power source (not shown) terminating at a compression fitting 69 anchored onto the upper member 65. A detail is illustrated in FIG. 3 depicting an example of cable 66 connections to distribute power within the assembly 55. As shown, the cable 66 extends into a passage 72 formed in the upper member 65 and parallel to its axis. The passage 72 intersects an annular cavity 74 formed through the upper member 65 circumference. Supply leads 64 extend from the cable 66 into the cavity 74.

FIGS. 1 and 3 include an example of electrically distributing the power from the cable 66 within the receptacle assembly 55. Shown is an annular sleeve retainer 76 is coaxially provided within the upper member 65. The sleeve retainer 76 adjoins the lower member 67 and the upper PBR 58 extends onto the sleeve retainer 76 inner surface. The sleeve retainer 76 includes elongate openings formed around its circumference formed to receive electrical supply contacts 62 therethrough. The openings' elongate sides are shown generally aligned with the sleeve retainer 76 axis AX. Each contact 62 includes a recessed lip 78 around its periphery that exceeds the respective openings' dimensions. When the contacts 62 are aligned coplanar with the openings, the lips 78 contact the openings' outer edge. While, as shown, the contact 62 can be restrained in place by the lip 78 and opening size difference, the contacts' 62 thicker midsection can extend radially inward past the contactor assembly 56 inner circumference. In the embodiment shown, the sleeve retainer 76 includes a recess around the opening edge that corresponds to the lip 72. Springs 80 are also shown providing a force urging the contact 62 towards the sleeve retainer 76 axis AX. An insulator 82 may be provided between the sleeve retainer 76 and the upper member 65. The insulator 82 may be pliable and formed from a non-conducting material such as polyetheretherketone (PEEK). The insulator 82 can also be another non-conductive material in the thermoplastic family.

FIG. 2 illustrates a sectional view of the receptacle assembly 55 of FIG. 1 taken along section line 2-2. Here three keys 63 are shown attached to the receptacle assembly 55 inner surface by welds 37 and spaced substantially equidistance apart. However the keys 63 can be affixed by any other suitable attachment means and are not limited to the spacing shown. Although three keys 63 are shown protruding into the bore in FIG. 2, other numbers of keys 63 could be included with the device shown herein.

FIG. 4 illustrates a sectional view of the coupling adapter 56 of FIG. 3 taken along section line 4-4. Three supply contacts 62 are illustrated substantially equidistant from one another; the contacts 62 are not limited to this arrangement. Moreover, the contacts 62 could also be disposed at different elevations within the coupling adapter 56.

FIGS. 5A-5C illustrate a side partial sectional view of an example of a deployed assembly 34 attached to the bottom end of an electrical submersible pumping (ESP) system 20. The deployed assembly 34 described herein includes a volume of a purging fluid, a device or system to purge an area using the fluid, and a device that couples with a tubing string. The fluid can be used for purging an area free of unwanted fluid, and is preferably non-conductive. Dielectric fluid is an example of a purging fluid suitable for the system and method disclosed herein. The fluid can be any media and can include dielectric grease, a mixture of fluids, solvent, and a combination of these alternatives. Shown in FIG. 5A is a generally cylindrically shaped conductor adapter head 35 provided on the deployed assembly 34 upper end. The adapter head 35 bolts to the lower end of a motor 22 from the ESP system 20. Electrical connectivity to the motor 22 is provided by a motor electrical receptacle 85 shown connected to a motor lead line 84. The receptacle 85 is anchored in an insulator block 87 within a cavity formed on the adapter head 35 upper end. An optional passage (not shown) can be included through the block 87 to allow for pressure equalization between the motor 22 and the deployed assembly 34. A check valve may be included within the passage. A motor electrical connection pin 23 which extends from the motor 23 is shown inserted within the receptacle 85.

The adapter head 35 includes profiled channels 36 on its outer surface shown having decreasing width from their respective openings to about the channels' 36 midpoint; upward from their midpoints, the channels' 36 width remains substantially constant. An upper reservoir 92 is housed within the adapter head 35 and shown filled with a purging fluid 41. Port 90 communicates the upper reservoir 92 with the reservoir 40. A sectional view of the adapter head 35 taken along section line 6-6 from FIG. 5A is provided in FIG. 6. This view depicts three profiled channels 36 in a section having a constant width. Also shown are the motor lead lines 84 exiting ports 94 formed in a bulkhead 88 (FIG. 5A) provided at the adapter head 35 lower terminal end. The bulkhead 88 shown also includes an orifice 90 formed axially therethrough roughly at its midsection.

The adapter head 35 lower end coaxially attaches to a housing 38 covering the deployed assembly's 34 mid portion. A reservoir 40 is shown coaxially provided within the housing 38 coupled to the bulkhead 88 on its upper end. Purging fluid 41 is stored in the reservoir 40 communicatable to the upper reservoir 92 through the orifice 90. An annular space 86 is shown formed in the housing 38 wall and oriented generally parallel to the housing 38 axis. The annular space 86 registers with the port 94 at its upper end.

Referring now to FIG. 5B, the motor lead line 84 exits the annular space's 86 bottom end into a passage 83 formed in a rod guide 50. The passage 83 upper end registers with the annular space 86 bottom and the passage 83 lower end terminates at the rod guide 50 bottom. The lead line 84 emerges from the passage 83 into an open space 93 in the housing 38 where it connects to a contact assembly 44. The rod guide 50 is a generally annular member shown coaxially affixed within the housing 38 and circumscribing the upper portion of a piston rod 43. A piston 42 on the rod 43 upper end is held in the lowermost portion of the reservoir 40. A bore 73 radially formed within the rod guide 50 registers with a groove 47 provided in the piston rod 43. A shear pin 49 inserted into the bore 73 extends into the groove 47, thereby maintaining the rod 43 and piston 42 in place as shown. The piston rod 43 lower end connects to a cylindrical plunger 48; a seal 77 is shown on the plunger 48 outer periphery (FIG. 5C) configured for sealing insertion into the lower PBR 60.

FIG. 7 illustrates a sectional view taken along line 7-7 from FIG. 5B. In this view multiple passages 83 are shown axially formed in the rod guide 50, some of which include motor lead lines 84. As will be discussed in more detail below, passages 83 can provide a flow path for the purging fluid 41 from the annular spaces 86 to flow into the open space 93 below the rod guide 50. Referring back to FIG. 5B, the contact assembly 44 includes a conductor 46 connected to the motor lead line 84 and partially housed in an insulating boot 45. A tapered sleeve 39 is provided around the piston rod 43 where the boot 45 rests against the sleeve 39. The sleeve 39 cross section is frusto-conical, and thicker below its contact area with the insulating boot 45.

Openings provided in the housing 38 are shaped to allow the conductor 46 to protrude radially outward past the housing 38 outer surface. As shown, the conductor 46 is retained within the space 93 by retaining springs 71 that circumscribe the piston rod 43 at the upper and lower portions of the boot 45. FIG. 8 represents a sectional view taken at lines 8-8, which is at two different elevations on the housing 38. In FIG. 8, three contacts 46 with their respective insulating boots 45 are depicted; with one shown in a sectional view and the others in an overhead view spatially showing a retaining spring 71 coupling with the insulating boots 45. The retaining spring 71 can comprise a c-ring.

Referring back to FIG. 5B, further illustrated is an insulation base 79 attached to the housing 38 lower end; an opening is axially formed through the base 79 that circumscribes the tapered sleeve 39 lower end. A collar 52 is attached to the piston rod 43 just below the tapered sleeve 39; the collar 52 upper end also resides in the opening. A groove 51 circumscribing the sleeve 52 outer surface registers with a bore 81 radially formed in the insulation base 79. A shear pin 53 is inserted through the bore 81 and into the groove 51, thereby further retaining the piston rod 43 in place. A passage 94 is formed through the insulation base 79 between the open space 93 and the base 79 lower end. A check valve 95 disposed in the passage 94 permits single direction flow from the space 93.

FIGS. 9A and 9B illustrate in sectional view an embodiment of the deployed assembly 34 being landed in the receptacle assembly 55. As shown, the plunger 48 is inserted within the lower PBR 60, blocking flow through the bore 61. Further, the profiled channel 36 is above the key 63 and the conductor 46 is above the supply contact 62. Fully coupling the deployed assembly 34 within the receptacle assembly 55 involves mating the key 63 in the profiled channel 36 and providing electrical contact between the conductor 46 and the supply contacts 62. Moreover, the space around the supply contacts 62 should be washed free of debris and any electrically conducting fluids purged away. This may be accomplished by the purging fluid 41 supplied in the deployed assembly 34.

After the deployed assembly 34 is lowered and the plunger 48 is forced into the lower PBR 60, the ESP system 20 and deployed assembly 34 combined weight applies a force that overcomes the shear pins' 49 resistive strength. The applied force shears the pin 49 thereby allowing piston rod 43 and piston 42 movement with respect to the remaining components in the deployed assembly 34. More specifically, the deployed assembly 34 slides downward over the piston rod 43, which in turn pushes the piston 42 into the reservoir 40. The moving piston 42 forces purging fluid 41 from the reservoir 40, through the orifice 90 and port 94, and into the annular spaces 86. Continued upward piston 42 movement ultimately empties the fluid 41 from the reservoir 40 to fill and pressurize the open space 93 below the annular spaces' 86 exits. After the space 93 is filled with the purging fluid 41, the check valve 95 opens to allow flow through the passage 94 for purging wellbore fluid from the coupling adapter 56. The purging fluid 41 density exceeds wellbore fluid density, which forces the wellbore fluid upward from within the coupling adapter 56 in the space between the receptacle assembly 55 and the deployed assembly 34. As shown, the shear pin 53 is sheared while the deployed assembly 34 is reaching the final stage of landing within the receptacle assembly 55. This occurs as the plunger 48 contacts the collar 52, which forces the tapered sleeve 39 upward extending the combined boot 45 and conductor 46 outward engaging/making contact with supply contact 62 in the final stages of the landing process.

Optionally, the check valve 95 may be configured to open at a specific set pressure. The set pressure can be set based on wellbore fluid pressure, on the space 93 pressure when substantially filled with purging fluid 41, or another design criterion. Establishing a suitable set pressure is within the scope of those skilled in the art.

FIGS. 10A and 10B depict partial sectional views of the deployed assembly 34 fully landed in the receptacle assembly 55. In one example, a fully landed deployed assembly 34 has its weight supported by the receptacle assembly 55, including the weight of an associated ESP system 20. A fully landed deployed assembly 34 may also be engaged by the receptacle assembly 55 to prevent deployed assembly 34 rotation. A fully landed deployed assembly 34 may also be oriented in a pre-selected azimuth within the receptacle assembly 55, where a pre-selected azimuth aligns electrical contacts in the deployed assembly 34 with electrical contacts in the receptacle assembly 55.

FIGS. 10A and 10B provide an example of supporting the deployed assembly 34 within the receptacle assembly 55 by engaging the key 63 and the profiled channel 36. Alternatives exist having multiple channels 36. Preferably the opening or openings on the channel(s) 36 circumscribing the deployed assembly 34 are profiled with sufficient width so a key 63 is engaged with an opening irrespective of the assembly's 34 azimuthal orientation. After a channel 36 opening engages a key 63, the profiled channel 36 angled surface slides on the key's 63 upper surface, which rotates the deployed assembly 34. The channel 36 slides on the key 63 until the key 63 top is aligned with the constant width portion of the profiled channel 36. At this point, the deployed assembly 34 drops to insert the key(s) 63 into the constant width portion of the profiled channel 36. The key 63 and channel 36 coupling locks the deployed assembly 34 to prevent its rotation. FIG. 11 provides a sectional example taken along line 11-11 from FIG. 10A depicting key 63 and profiled channel 36 in full engagement. In this example, shown are three keys 63 with corresponding profiled channels 36, however the device presented herein is not limited to this number and can include fewer or more. Additionally, strategic key 63 and channel 36 placement provides a desired deployed assembly 34 orientation.

An example of electrically coupling the conductor 46 and supply contact 62 is illustrated in FIGS. 10A and 10B. Orienting the deployed assembly 34 can align the conductor 46 with the supply contact 62. As noted above, a portion of the supply contact 62 extends radially inward past the sleeve retainer 76. The conductor 46 is moved radially outward into electrical contact with the supply contact 62 by the tapered sleeve 39 being moved upward so its thicker portion is behind the insulated boot 45. Moving the piston rod 43 so the sleeve's 39 thicker portion is between the insulating boot 45 and the piston rod 43 radially pushes the conductor 46 outward into engaging contact with the supply contact 62. Electrically engaging the conductor 46 and the supply contact 62 provides a continuous path to flow electricity to the motor 22 from the power cable 66. FIG. 12 provides a sectional example taken along line 12-12 from FIG. 10B depicting conductor 46 and the supply contact 62 full engagement. In this example, shown are three conductors 46 with corresponding supply contacts 62, however the device presented herein can have other numbers of conductors 46 and contacts 62.

The seal 77 between the plunger 48 and the lower PBR 60 retains the purging fluid 41 in the space between the deployed assembly 34 and receptacle assembly 55. Retaining the purging fluid 41 in this space prevents the displaced fluid from returning to within the coupling adapter 56, thereby isolating the conductor 46 and supply contact 62 from electrolytic fluid interference or other contaminants. The sealing function between the plunger 48 and the lower PBR 60 can occur as soon as these members are coupled.

Referring now to FIG. 13, a side view example of the ESP system 20 and attached deployed assembly 34 is depicted fully landed within the receptacle assembly 55, which is illustrated in a partial sectional view. As noted above, fully landing the deployed assembly 34 within the receptacle assembly 55 anchors an associated ESP system 20 against rotation so it can be operational. Further, fully landing the deployed assembly 34 within receptacle assembly 55 provides electrical power for energizing the pump of the ESP system 20. FIG. 13 illustrates formation fluid 13 (illustrated by arrows) entering the well bore 5 from perforations 11 that extend into the formation 9 through the casing 7. The fluid 13 can be delivered for pumping to the pump 20 via the inlet passages 68 and then onto pump inlets (not shown). Optional exit passages above the pump may be include to allow for vapor escape from the tubing 54.

The present invention described herein, therefore, is well adapted to carry out the objects and attain the ends and advantages mentioned, as well as others inherent therein. While a presently preferred embodiment of the invention has been given for purposes of disclosure, numerous changes exist in the details of procedures for accomplishing the desired results. For example, a supply of purging fluid or media could be pressurized and sealed in a vessel that is selectively opened to discharge the purging fluid. Selectively opening could include opening a valve or rupturing the vessel. Optionally, each ESP system 20 components can be installed in separate downhole deployments. For example, the motor, seal section, intake, and pump could be deployed individually, or in combination, to allow flexibility of the system string installation. These and other similar modifications will readily suggest themselves to those skilled in the arts and are intended to be encompassed within the spirit of the present invention disclosed herein and the scope of the appended claims.