Artificial lift

Artificial Lift-2024

The papers described here focus on novel unconventional horizontal downhole pump card signatures, carbon reduction through alternative energy to pump wells, and predicting downhole-discharge pressure of ESPs.


The industry is now in its second year beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, and the workforce has changed in many ways, but issues facing production performance remain. Major conferences saw 116 submissions from 28 countries, with 64% regarding electrical submersible pumps (ESPs), and 18% and 8% devoted to gas lift and rod lift, respectively.

Many of the papers dealt with case history successes. That is all well and good, but it doesn’t necessarily drive reader interest if it can’t be applied to their asset. The top three papers were selected on the guidelines of clarity of the abstract in addressing the scope, methods/procedures/process, results/observations/conclusions, and novel or additive information. The papers described here focus on novel unconventional horizontal downhole pump card signatures, carbon reduction through alternative energy to pump wells, and predicting downhole-discharge pressure of ESPs.

Paper SPE 214723 presents a discussion of the design, evaluation, and field testing of a new type of mechanical gas separator with what the authors term a “hydrohelical” design. The separator, in Permian Basin tests, almost doubled the flow capacity of conventional gas separators with a high level of efficiency. The authors draw particular attention to the improvement of ESP operations under multiphase conditions.

Carbon reduction is a hot topic, and paper OTC 32671 does not disappoint as it looks at the use of a 10-MW floating solar photovoltaic power system to meet the energy needed for 10 ESP wells on an oil platform in the Brazil equatorial region. Collaboration with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and its System Advisor Model was used with extensive meteorological and wind data to examine the sustainability of green energy use for the petroleum industry and offer valuable guidance for future renewable energy projects in regions with similar characteristics.

Finally, paper SPE 216598 comes from Sudan and Saudia Arabia and focuses on digital solutions for the challenge of knowing the downhole-discharge pressure of an ESP system. Most ESP systems do not have downhole gauges, so an artificial neural network (ANN) approach is used to predict the ESP discharge pressure for performance optimization. Forty wells and more than 12,000 data points were reduced to 16 inputs plus one hidden layer of seven neurons to provide a high degree of accuracy in prediction of discharge pressure. The authors state that the ability to accurately predict discharge pressure can lead to the early detection of possible anomalies, which can prevent costly failures and reduce downtime. Artificial intelligence technology may improve the accuracy of ANNs, but, for now, ANNs are worth a look to obtain much-needed ESP discharge pressure.

Other notable papers dealt with gas separation, ESP reliability, and the increasing challenges of low rates, low pressures, and high gas fractions.

This Month’s Technical Papers

Hydrohelical ESP Gas Separator Increases Flow Range, Improves Reliability

Hybrid Energy Holds Promise for Artificial Lift for Offshore Brazilian Fields

Artificial Neural Networks Predict Discharge Pressures of ESPs

Recommended Additional Reading

SPE 214913 Solved: ESP Shutdowns and Restart Issues—Novel Pump Protection and Active 3D Dispersion System Improve ESP Performance in Multiple Wells by A. Bhattacharjee, SLB, et al.

SPE 215474 A New Artificial Lift Approach in Telisa Low-Productivity Reservoir: Utilized Very Low-Rate ESP by Agus Aryanto, Medco E&P Indonesia, et al.

SPE 215170 A Comprehensive Study of a Novel Submersible Pump by Hattan Banjar, Saudi Aramco, et al.

SPE 214722 Case Study: Predicting Electrical Submersible Pump Failures Using Artificial Intelligence and Physics-Based Hybrid Models by Shejuti Silvia, Baker Hughes, et al.

SPE 214733 Gas-Flow-Management Technology Designed To Decrease Downtime and Improve ESP Efficiency by S. Fulwider, ConocoPhillips, et al.

Dennis Harris, SPE, is a senior petroleum engineer working in well production optimizations and artificial lift with Chevron. He has been with Chevron since 2005 and has worked in the Chevron Technical Center for the past 12 years. Harris holds a BS degree in petroleum engineering from The University of Texas at Austin.