Artificial Lift Techbook 2019

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2 | April 2019 | ARTIFICIAL LIFT: OVERVIEW T here is no secret to the key to success in the oil patch: Amass the best assets, technology and people, then work collectively and efficiently to squeeze every last economic drop of resource from the subsurface. Looks simple on paper, but it has been and remains the perpetual goal of oper- ators worldwide since George Bissell and Edwin Drake drilled their historic 70-ft keeper near Titus- ville, Penn., in 1858. Things have changed quite a bit since Drake's Folly, but the pursuit, discovery and production of hydrocarbons are still driven by visionaries with a mind for innovation and an eye on the horizon. To that end, companies commit a generous amount of resources to ensure they are securing the best returns, both from the ground and for their shareholders. The importance of efficient and max- imum resource extraction is rarely understated—a healthy stream of hydrocarbons is what fuels a healthy stream of revenue. In more modern times, as industry unlocked more and more unconventional resources around the world and particularly in North American shale plays, the challenge of effective maximization on all fronts became more daunting, pushing the limits of existing technology and corporate ingenuity. Artificial lift systems have been around for decades, having been designed to increase the flow of liquids up a well by lowering the producing bottomhole pres- sure on the formation. In simpler terms, the systems work to squeeze every last economic drop of resource from the subsurface. There is no one-size-fits-all lift system; instead, there is a myriad of solutions that work most effectively dependent on the field vari- ables at the point of their introduction. Electrical submersible pumps (ESPs) might be the most popular for initial lifting of a high rate well, while gas and rod lift systems are more readily introduced once the flow rates of individual wells begin to drop. The market had a tough run during the oil price plunge in the middle of the decade but appears to be on the rebound with estimates of 6% growth through 2020 being predicted by pundits Westwood Energy. Need more proof? Just watch the money. Tubulars specialist Tenaris built a sucker rod manufacturing facility in Conroe, Texas, back in 2017, but delayed its opening due to the downturn. The $70 million facility will now open this summer. Additionally, Weather- ford president and chief executive Mark McCollum told investors in February that the contractor expects "strong demand" for its artificial lift services in 2019 with declining production on older shale wells driving higher demand for the company's rod lift systems. Apergy, a company that specializes in lift systems, saw its 2018 monthly ESP install rate in the Permian Basin of West Texas grow 2.5 times its 2016 rate. The company's ESP revenue growth was over 70% in 2017 and that growth continued last year. That's not to say there won't be hiccups along the way. Oil prices took a dip in the fourth quarter of 2018 and with it the number of well completions. According to Baker Hughes, a GE company (BHGE), 2018 marks the first time since 2015 that crude oil prices ended the year lower than at the beginning of the year. However, the company added that it expected the market for artificial lift service to remain stable. "What we at BHGE have in terms of artificial lift is possibly the widest portfolio in the industry," said Valerie William-Eguegu, global product line manager for Gas Management and Unconventional Artificial Lift Systems, with BHGE. "For unconven- tional applications, what we've seen over the years is a shift in wanting to design from the onset, for the The artificial lift market for unconventionals is on the rebound after recent commodity price uncertainty impacted both utilization and the bottom line. Back in the Saddle By Blake Wright Contributing Editor

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