Most offshore wells that require artificial lift are gas lifted, as gas typically is readily available and compared to other lift systems, gas lifting is relatively inexpensive and low maintenance. However, electric submersible pumps (ESPs) can efficiently and economically increase oil production and reserves recovery under the appropriate operating conditions. This may translate to a lower abandonment pressure in the long term—possibly reducing the total number of wells required to deplete an asset.
Since few ESPs currently are installed in offshore wells, an ESP screening "Rules of Thumb" was created as a simple guide for prioritizing offshore ESP candidates. The selection criteria focus on feasibility of installation, operability conditions and operating practices to maximize run life, and economic considerations. ExxonMobil† and industry experience from North America, South America, West Africa, Asia, Australia, the Middle East, and the North Sea provided the basis for the study.