Operators that are involved in the development of unconventional wells place a lot of focus on improved technology and cost reduction related to horizontal well technology and multi-stage fracture design. A significant development with regard to horizontal well technology came with the use of electrical submersible pumps (ESPs). As operators began to use ESPs more regularly, the benefits to estimated ultimate recovery (EUR) and well economics were substantial. By analyzing how operators utilized ESPs, the authors studied and identified how to derive even greater benefits from their use. This paper is a case study illustrating key steps taken to improve the results obtained from the use of ESPs in the Williston Basin.

In its continuing effort to improve operational efficiencies, Oasis Petroleum trialed ESPs for unconventional wells in the Williston basin of North Dakota. The utilization of ESPs greatly increased EUR and well economics. Over a two year period, Oasis has been able to obtain even further benefits from the use of ESPs by implementing an ongoing stimulation optimization program that resulted in higher well productivity and an increasing opportunity to add more value when ESP's were utilized.

Oasis embarked on a process to further improve ESP performance that addressed: training, historic failure causes, enhanced equipment specifications, performance based contracts, improved real-time monitoring and diagnosis, procedure, checklists and failure tracking.

This paper will present the key actions taken to improve the application of ESP's for unconventional reservoirs. Details of main improvements and results will be presented including key actions, impact on ESP run life and benefit on well production. Case histories will be included.

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