Artificial lift could significantly increase ultimate recovery from deepwater Gulf of Mexico (GOM) reservoirs, but the extreme application will present unique challenges to conventional artificial lift designs. This paper presents an exploration of feasibility and operability issues for both gaslift and Electric Submersible Pump (ESP) usage in direct vertical access wells in the deepwater GOM.

System and equipment considerations for gaslift and ESP design specific to the typical deepwater GOM application are discussed. Either system will work in this application, but they will both push current technology to the limit. The incremental recovery associated with either system is shown to be largely a function of the producing gas-liquid ratio.

A description of the creation and interpretation of outflow curves for the two types of artificial lift is also included. Outflow curves are an important element in the simulation of well deliverability and reservoir performance over time. Proper use of these curves and an understanding of the curve limits are necessary to perform a valid simulation.

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