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13 January 06 - Artificial lifting techniques assist old oil wells


In these days of high energy prices, Artificial Lift show how old or previously unsuitable oil wells can benefit from artificial lifting techniques.

"The Journal of Offshore Technology", November/December 2005:

"A large number of mature wells are currently experiencing a notable decline in production or indeed, have already been suspended.  In the North Sea alone, there are understood to be around 300-400 of these wells.

It is considered uneconomic to work the well over, as this means going to the significant expense of mobilising a rig, pulling and disposing of the old contaminated completion, and installing an artificial production boosting means such as an electrical submersible pump (ESP).

Seeking to turn a problem into an opportunity, a new company ALC (Artificial Lift Company) has been set up to provide a fresh approach to the discipline and in particular, the employment of electrical submersible pumps in areas where they have been previously unable to be used.

ALC's approach has been to design a new generation system based on a small diameter (3.8in OD) high power electric motor that can be deployed through the existing well tubing, yet able to be installed and recovered without a rig. It would have sufficient power (300KW) to pump large quantity of fluid or gas from reservoir depth to surface.

'If this technology is employed,' said project director Marcus Dixon, 'it could result in 5-6,000 barrels per day of fluid per well.  This would be equivalent to a range of between 900,000-1,600,000 b/d of fluid, from the existing UK brownfield infrastructure currently dormant.'

Read/download the full article in pdf format (67K).

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