The Falah field offshore Dubai consists of four satellite platforms and is mostly produced by gas lift. High pressure lift gas is received from the main SWFateh field and the produced fluid and gas after a two-phase separation are returned to SWFateh through long sub-sea pipelines. The system is constrained both on the gas lift supply and surface production networks. The conversion of two of the major gas lift producers to electric submersible pump (ESP) has helped de-bottleneck the Falah system.

The main objectives were to increase drawdown in these wells using ESP and to reduce the load on the gas lift and production systems. Both of these objectives have been successfully achieved. This paper will describe the system constraints, the options considered and the economics associated with each option. The modeling work that helped the justification for the ESP installation will also be described.

The selection of well candidates was an important criterion for success. From a reservoir perspective the goal was to achieve improved oil recovery with increased drawdown. From a facility perspective the wells were selected at the farthest (FB) platform that had the minimum gas lift pressure in the field. Commissioning of the ESPs has reduced the gas load on the system and the production system pressures have decreased as a result. Gas lift operating depths would be deepened in some of the Falah wells, taking advantage of the increased gas lift header pressure now available.

The use of ESP for de-bottlenecking a gas lifted field is an excellent example of production system optimization. This demonstrates how a different type of artificial lift can be effectively used to improve the productivity of a field that uses one type of artificial lift.

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