Artificial Lift

Topics: Artificial lift
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Two things stood out when I looked at this year’s abstracts. First, well over half of the abstracts were related to electrical submersible pumps (ESPs). This is a significant increase from the last couple of years. Second, there was a clutch of artificial-lift-method-selection papers. I have not seen many of those recently. Because this appears to be a topic of interest at the moment, I chose papers from that topic. They are good papers, and it is a good general-interest topic, but selecting them meant that I had to leave out more-specialized papers.

I am primarily an ESP guy, so I have to be cautious about bias when looking at papers. Biased or not, I thought several of the ESP-related papers stood out. SPE 185128 discusses ways to operate an ESP below 800 psi. This has been a problem in multifractured horizontal wells. SPE 184216 discusses the effect of horizontal-well multiphase-flow behavior on ESP operations. Long gas/liquid slugs are another problem I have been seeing. SPE 172736 discusses casing corrosion induced by stray currents from weakened ESP-power-cable insulation. This is a topic of interest in the Middle East but is largely ignored in the US.

I also admit to having a biased interest in multifractured horizontal shale wells. I thought SPE 180833 might be of interest because it discusses optimization of oil-well plunger lift. I have been wondering if plunger lift might be a viable late-life lift method for these wells. Last, SPE 180470 seemed like a solid gas lift optimization paper. As much as it pains me to admit it, by the book, gas lift should be the default lift method for shale wells.

This Month's Technical Papers

Artificial-Lift-System Selection Guidelines for Horizontal Gas Wells

Artificial-Lift Selection Strategy To Maximize Value of Unconventional Oil and Gas Assets

Well-Performance Calculations for Artificial-Lift Screening

Recommended Additional Reading

SPE 184134 Feasibility Study of Artificial-Lift Modes for a Deep Heavy-Oil Reservoir by Prasanna Mali, KOC, et al.

SPE 185128 Breaking the 800-psi ESP PIP Barrier: How a Proven Flow-Conditioning Technology Can Dramatically Improve ESP Performance in Horizontal Wells by D.W. Kimery, Production Plus Energy Services, et al.

SPE 184216 How To Diagnose and Solve a Tripping ESP Caused by Multiphase-Flow Behavior in a Horizontal Well by P.M. Bruijnen, TAQA Energy, et al.

Mike Berry, SPE, is an independent artificial-lift consultant. Now approaching 40 years in the petroleum industry, he has worked as a roustabout standing knee deep in crude and as a research scientist testing state-of-the-art equipment in what was one of the world’s premier multiphase-flow test loops. Berry has served on numerous SPE committees and occasionally serves as a PetroSkills instructor. He holds a BS degree in petroleum engineering from the University of Oklahoma and is a licensed professional engineer. Berry serves on the JPT Editorial Committee and can be reached at

Artificial Lift

Mike Berry, SPE, Independent Artificial-Lift Consultant

01 July 2017

Volume: 69 | Issue: 7


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