This paper describes a systematic assessment artificial lift methods for a heavy oil development in Kuwait. The main recovery strategies that were being considered for the development consisted of different sequencing of primary production, cyclic steam stimulation and steam flooding, with both vertical and horizontal wells.

In 2007, Kuwait Oil Company drilled five vertical wells in their heavy oil fields, as a precursor to the full field development planned in the coming years. These five wells represented the first major activity in the formation since the 1980s when two cyclic steam stimulation pilot tests were conducted. The characteristics of the development and of the associated planned recovery strategies presented several AL challenges that needed to be assessed.

This work consisted of an assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of various AL systems and a ranking of these systems according to well geometry, oil viscosity, targeted flow rate and the recovery method. The assessment and ranking were mainly based on vendor quoted capabilities, focused wellbore modelling and lessons learned from other heavy oil field cases around the world. While significant experience with rod pumps in cyclic steam stimulation exists in Canada, the lessons learned from that experience needed to be evaluated due to the differences with the Kuwait heavy oil development, such as the requirement to "easily" transition from primary to thermal production and the possible use of metallic stator progressing cavity pumps.

This paper provides guidance to other developments around the world in regards to heavy oil AL selection and to how best to apply lessons learned from existing heavy oil developments.

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