Marathon Oil operates several brownfields in the Rockies, most of which are approaching a producing life of 100 years. Most of the fields are on waterflood, with 86% of the oil production coming from the artificial lift method of electrical submersible pumps (ESPs). This ESP lift method has helped maximize the production of recoverable oil in these fields, achieving higher drawdowns and larger fluid volume handling.

Prior to 2010, Marathon's 770 ESPs were operated with out downhole gauges or sensors and no ESP real time systems were in use. This made it difficult to properly monitor the well and the equipment, leading to improperly sized ESPs, limited artificial lift optimization and lost oil production. In 2010 Marathon began installing downhole sensors in all ESP wells that were pulled for either a failure or a workover and download the data into an ESP real-time monitoring, diagnosis and analysis software system.

At the time of this paper, Marathon has installed downhole sensors in 430 of the 770 ESP wells. All ESP wells are presently being monitored via the ESP real-time monitoring and analysis software. During this short period of real-time monitoring, Marathon has realized production gains of more than 700 barrels of oil per day (BOPD) in one of the fields.

This paper compares previous operations to the results and data from the installation and connection of downhole sensors to the real-time ESP monitoring program. Monitoring methodologies, analysis and proper ESP optimization are detailed in several case studies.

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