Artificial Lift Techbook 2019

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30 | April 2019 | ARTIFICIAL LIFT: TECHNOLOGY T here are challenges facing the industry for artificial lift as operators are producing from deeper and higher temperture productions zones whether onshore or offshore. Drilling long lateral sections helps operators maximize contact with the producing formations, but undulations in the wellbore can create peaks and valleys that introduce new problems for the downhole equip- ment. The Bakken and Permian are examples of deep vertical sections with a sharp bend into the horizontal leg. As Robert de Long, technology director with Sum- mit ESP, a Halliburton service, described the wells, vertical sections are not very straight and the hori- zontal legs in many cases are intentionally crooked to touch more of the reservoir. "No matter what type of artificial lift system you put in the hole, whether it is gas lift, electrical sub- mersible pumps (ESPs) or progressive cavity pumps (PCPs)—everything except plungers—they don't like the undulations. These undulations in the horizontal legs cause a significant amount of slugging," he said. Lou Martensen, product line director for Valiant Artificial Lift Solutions, pointed to brownouts as a significant challenge for producers with artifi- cial-lift-driven wells. Brownouts occur when incom- ing voltage drops below a certain threshold, which not only affects the transmission required to run compressors and pipelines, but also disrupts the incoming power to variable speed drives that keep an ESP running. Even momentary brownouts can cause the system to shut down, resulting in lost production and other problems for downhole equipment, he explained. These events have a reverberating impact on operators as well as all electricity users in the area, he continued. Much of the technology around artificial lift sys- tems has been around for a while. One such technol- ogy is permanent magnet motors (PMMs) for ESPs. The technology, widely used in Russia, is now gaining traction in U.S. shale plays, noted Lorne Simmons, vice president of planning, sales, marketing and busi- ness development for Borets US. "The historical induction motor has been the historical workhorse for many years. Right now there is growing interest in the U.S. marketplace for PMMs," he said. A new variation on annular and tubing flow gas-lift systems has been designed by Liberty Lift Solutions. The patent-pending technology allows an operator to switch back and forth between annular and tubing gas lift without pulling the tubing on the well. "For the transition from annular to tubing lift or vice versa, we can tell you almost the exact time that you need to switch based on our nodal analysis calculations," said Garrett Archa, gas-lift product line manager for Liberty Lift Solutions. "An operator in the Permian Basin went from annu- lar to tubing lift and they switched the production on the well and within four hours they were producing back up the tubing at the same production rates as the well was making flowing up the annulus," he said. Advances in artificial lift are redesigning conventional technologies to solve problems in long horizontal laterals and offshore wells. Artificial Lift Technology Targets Efficiency, Flexibility, Lower Costs By Scott Weeden Contributing Editor

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