A high-tier well is a highly visible well because of its expected hydrocarbon production and performance. A key performance indicator includes well production uptime, total operating costs and production optimization. Artificial lift solutions can potentially improve production by compensating for lower reservoir energy while adding recoverable reserves. This incremental performance comes at a cost, and in some cases the selection of the artificial lift system is not necessarily based on maximizing well performance and productivity but on field economic results and returns.
What Are the Traditional Artificial Lift Solutions for High-Tier Wells?
Selecting an artificial lift method is often driven by well intervention costs and well uptime. ESPs are widely used and have an wide range of applications. However, economic analysis sometimes favors gas lifts due to their lower total operating costs.
High-tier wells increasingly favor alternative artificial lift solutions, such as a combination of lifting technologies (i.e. ESP with gas lift as backup), redundant or dual ESPs, or other alternative and more advanced deployments like through tubing.
Rigless operations are gaining momentum thanks to the higher economic gain and flexibility in well intervention. Coiled tubing deployed ESPs, or cable deployed ESPs, were introduced some years ago. They are today competing with more efficient and practical wireline retrievable ESPs (WRESP) – all targeting a significant improvement in well uptime.
What Are the Differences Between Rigless Alternative Artificial Lift Deployments?
- Coiled Tubing ESP Deployment: This is a methodology to deploy ESPs introduced in the 1990s that brought benefits in specific applications (i.e. South China Sea). However, it didn’t have wide market acceptance mostly because of its limitations, well completion requirements and performance and the surface equipment needed to deploy it. These were not adapted to small production platforms or remote areas of operations.
- Line Extension of Coiled Tubing ESP Deployment: During 2016, an evolution of CT ESP deployment was introduced with improvements on the “umbilical cord” from surface to the ESP, which hosts the power cable. While this was an evolution from the already existing coiled tubing deployment, it has similar limitations to previous generations.
- Cable Deployed ESPs: These were patented in the 1950s with little to no application until recently. New developments include a new power cable (also umbilical from surface to the ESP) and permanent magnet motor. Deployed through tubing, it has gained application in moderate producing wells and also as backup for a failed ESP awaiting changeout.
- Wireline Retrievable ESPs Generation 1: Introduced in the late 1990s, this was a paradigm shift that occurred in ESP deployment to change out the ESP pump through tubing in a standard live well slickline operation. This technology brought an important operational and economic gain in Alaska, where sand production required frequent pump changes.
- Wireline Retrievable ESPs Generation 2: Following the success of generation 1, E&P operators were motivated to sponsor the development of a full ESP install or changeout through tubing with slickline, operating on a live well. This allowed the change of an ESP and performance of other lower completion operations (i.e. well cleanout, reperforating or isolating zones, etc.) without pulling the well completion.
How Can Rigless Alternative Artificial Lift Deployment Impact Your High-Tier Well Results?
On existing and new wells and field developments, rigless operations can favorably impact your asset economic life, increasing recoverable reserves. Today, you can deploy rigless ESP technology that offers solutions to significantly improve your well production uptime while reducing your well intervention costs, ultimately lowering your OPEX and maintaining CAPEX.
At AccessESP, we are a part of this process: improving technology and achieving performance. We are a team of experts partnering with other experts to develop innovative ESP technologies to increase your uptime. Contact us today to learn more about how AccessESP’s rigless ESP technology can make your well more efficient.