Technology Focus

Artificial-lift technology has been around for many years, yet the concept of artificial-lift selection and design has been more of an art than a science. Throughout the last decade, both operating companies and manufacturers have made considerable effort toward understanding the science behind artificial-lift systems and their performance. For example, research on beam-pump slippage and gas lift valve performance has greatly influenced the way in which the industry now designs those lift systems. In 2007, SPE published a revised Petroleum Engineering Handbook; Volume IV includes many of these advancements and understandings of lift performance for common forms of artificial lift. This publication is recommended highly for anyone involved in production engineering and artificial lift.

Artificial-lift systems continue to evolve, and their operational envelopes expand. The 2009 ATCE Technical Program Committee received a significant number of artificial-lift related abstracts, which resulted in two sessions showcasing great artificial-lift research, field trials, and case studies. When you come to New Orleans this October, you will learn about the most recent advancements and lessons learned on all types of artificial lift.

Three examples of such advancements are featured in this publication. Each of these technologies enhances a lift system or methodology that has been available for years, putting a new spin (pun intended) on something "old." While the field trials of these systems have been specific to a given region (i.e., Alaska, Cuba, and Russia), their application potential is global.

The papers selected for additional reading below, reflect other areas in the artificial-lift community that are "hot" topics—finding and understanding better gaswell-deliquification techniques, solutions to high-volume thermal applications, and effective artificial-lift optimization.

Artificial Lift additional reading available at OnePetro:

SPE 116659 - "Artificial Lift Optimization in the Orito Field" by Sandy Williams, SPE, ALP Ltd., et al.

SPE 115849 - "Pushing the Limit: High-Rate Artificial-Lift Evaluation for a Sour, Heavy-Oil, Thermal EOR Project in Oman" by G.H. Lanier, SPE, Petroleum Development Oman, et al.

SPE 115934 - "Development of a New Plunger-Lift Model Using Smart Plunger Data" by G.K. Chava, SPE, Texas A&M University, et al.

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