Permian Basin 2017

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PERMIAN BASIN: TECHNOLOGY 60 | November 2017 | "wins" as sub-$50 oil prices demand that every competitor cut costs. "Operators are increasingly demanding decreased costs, reducing opex and capex, and jet lift responds to these needs," Machado said. "Oil prices tremendously affect economics and P&L. Because of the pricing environment, operators are pushing for faster delivery, which helps eliminate the cost of deploying workover rigs. Another driver is reliable production solutions for higher flow rates. Unconventional wells start at high flow rates but deplete rapidly. For conventional reservoirs, we might see a decline rate in two to three years, at 3% to 5% per year. Unconventional wells deplete in weeks. So you have to act quickly. "The third driver is flexibility in the business models. That is making a tremendous impact in working with operators in unconventional areas. We are currently replacing conventional technologies like electric submersible pumps [ESP] with jet-lift systems to meet the new mar- ket and its demands. It has shown it is a more cost-effective lift method to deploy in these unconventional plays." Machado says while jet lift is an old technology, it is a very flexible technology. "We have focused on the Midland Basin and had par- ticularly good results," Mach- ado said. "In other similar plays, such as the Eagle Ford, it is also being deployed." In Midland Basin forma- tions such as the Wolfcamp, Machado says that some operators are now consider- ing jet lift as a solution that can be installed immediately after the well is fracked. "Several operators have run jet lift as part of the frack flowback system throughout the life of the well," he said. "At first, the jet lift helps with frack fluid recovery, then it is also able to manage high-vol- ume to low-volume production rates by adjusting the system parameters to rapid changes in well con- ditions. That is a game changer." Machado says conventional technologies such as rod lift, ESP and gas lift have challenges when well configuration and flowing conditions hit certain boundaries. "Those boundaries include depth, complexity, well geometry, how long the horizontal is, type of fluid, paraffin, scale, high water cut and high temperature. Then you start stretching conventional technology. The jet-lift pump doesn't have moving parts, it is not temperature- or pressure-sensitive and it works regardless of deviation. As long as you can run a slick- line into tubing, you can get in and out." The key advantage of jet lift is simplicity. "Jet lift is a better fit because it extends the life of the well in a single intervention," Machado said. "You squeeze the most out of the time you have. You prolong the life of the well and reduce the need for a major intervention or workover. You can retrieve and run the pump with or without a slickline unit and you can get it done in a half-day." The resulting economics favor the jet-lift model. With a goal of cutting operating costs, Weatherford is keen on the high reliability of jet pumps. (Photo courtesy of Weatherford)

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