The total crude oil resources are approximately 9-11 trillion barrels around the world and the steam based thermal recovery processes are still the most effective methods to enhance heavy oil recovery. Due to the high oil viscosity, high fluid temperature and high fluid volume changes with time, the choice of suitable artificial lift (AL) system is one of the most important techniques in optimizing production from thermally developed heavy oil wells.
Notwithstanding the attempt by several studies in the past few decades to understand and develop cutting-edge technologies to optimize the application of artificial lift system in thermally developed heavy oil reservoirs, there remains differing assessments of the best approach, AL type for various kinds of thermal recovery methods. A comprehensive review of artificial lift systems application with specific focus on thermally developed heavy oil reservoirs across the world for offshore oilfields is conducted. The review focuses on the special designed artificial lift system with functions of both steam injection and oil production for offshore oilfield. At the same time, the purpose of this work is to apprise the industry and academic researchers on the various AL optimization approaches that have been used and suggest AL optimization areas where new technologies can be developed for thermally developed heavy oil reservoirs in the future.