Artificial lift systems
refer to use of artificial methods to increase the flow of crude oil/ gas through an oil well. This system effectively lowers the producing bottomhole pressure (BHP) in an oil well, hence obtains higher production rate from the well. Majority of the existing reservoirs in the world are in mature stage and have lost the natural pressure to move the oil and gas on to the surface. Artificial lifts help in raising the pressure in the oil wells, so the oil flows easily on to the surface. Henceforth, artificial lift systems are used to obtain the oil from deeper oil wells to the surface.
Over the past few years, techniques such as Hydraulic Fracking have led to rise in deployment of horizontal wells. Artificial lift systems
are increasingly being used to draw crude oil/ gas from horizontal wells. The major forms of artificial lift include:
- Beam Pumping
- Electrical submersible pumping
- Gas lift and intermittent gas lift
- Reciprocating and jet hydraulic pumping
- Plunger lift
- Progressive cavity pumps
Beam Pumping also called as Sucker-rod pumping is most widely used type of artificial lift system for onshore O&G applications. More than half of worldwide oil wells use beam pumping mechanism. Simple system design, ability to operate at very low pressure, flexibility, ability to lift high-temperature & viscous oils and can also be applied to slime holes & multiple completions amongst others are the major advantages of beam pumping. However, beam pumping method is not the preferred type of pumping for offshore applications as they are quite bulky and heavy.
Beam Pumping method is followed by Gas Lift method as this method can handle rates from 10 bpd to 80,000 bpd. Gas Lift method can handle large volume of solids. This method is fairly flexible and is unobtrusive. This method can be applied to offshore oil wells unlike beam pumping.
Companies such as Baker Hughes Inc., General Electric Co., Schlumberger Ltd., Weatherford International Ltd., Dover Corporation and Cameron International Corporation amongst others are the major players in this industry.
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