Surveillance and deep analysis of the performance of artificial lift systems in a field are fundamental for continuous improvement. A field data analysis was conducted to determine the appropriate configurations of electrical submersible pumps (ESP) for the field and to identify how the implementation of the improvement plans resulted in the increase of mean time between failure (MTBF).

The investigation and exhaustive data analysis of the common root causes of failure identified in the failure analysis of the ESPs and analysis of the challenging conditions presented in the field, such as fluid characterization, decline of reservoir pressure, workover intervention procedures, and ESP technology currently applied in the field, enabled determining the specifications required of the ESP equipment to avoid premature failures (run life less than 90 days). The analysis included a specific matrix for root cause identification and several lessons learned over the 32 months of experience in this mature field.

The methodology used for this investigation included the recompilation and analysis of data on failed ESPs and knowledge of specific parameters of the field and applications (wells and fluids produced). The methodology enabled the operator and service companies to achieve greater run life and improve valuable indicators such as MTBF and failure index. After the implementation of the improvement plans, the index of premature failures (ESP failures with less than 90 days) was reduced by 86%from the first to the third year.

An increase of 66.6% of survival probability compared in a 1-year period (comparing year 1 to year 3) was also achieved for the entire ESP population operating in this field.

The thorough knowledge of the well conditions, including production, surface facilities, chemical treatment, and electrical parameters, by the artificial lift engineers and the operator’s engineering department helped in developing appropriate applications for the studied field.

With the knowledge of a field, it is possible to determine the appropriate artificial lift ESP configuration and best operational practices for production and technology. This knowledge allows the operator to be aware of changes to the budget in considering equipment fit for the operating environment, which results in improved run life, thus minimizing the deferred production and preserving the reservoirs through the reduction of well interventions.

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