ESP failures have important economic implications for O&G operators, including: nonproductive time, production deferral, production losses, and high cost of ESP replacements, especially for offshore or remote wells.

Improving Electric Submersible Pump (ESP) system reliability, eliminating or reducing failures, comprise the most frequent requests from O&G operators. But, how much reliability is enough? What is the cost of increasing reliability? What are the strategies to achieve it? ESP operators and vendors struggle when questions like these arise.

This paper explores the subject of ESP reliability in depth. It reviews key concepts of ESP maintainability and run life. It addresses the questions of how reliability of ESPs is measured, what the current levels of ESP reliability are and how much reliability is actually needed. It proposes a methodology to estimate potential savings as a result of reliability improvement and a method to calculate the optimum level of investment in ESP reliability.

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