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TECHNOLOGY FOCUS

Artificial Lift
Greg Stephenson, SPE, Senior Engineering Adviser, Occidental Petroleum

One of the more exciting aspects of artifi- Although we seem to have has a stake in the success of the well and
cial lift is the constant influx of new tech- should be aligned around a common set
nologies and new ideas that the discipline a never-ending supply of new of goals to ensure that the artificial-lift
invites. Inventors appear to be regularly artificial-lift technologies, system performs reliably and delivers
developing “the next new thing” in arti- optimal production and does so in a cost-
ficial lift. Some ideas are so brilliant and the technologies effective manner.
so obvious, you ask yourself, “Why didn’t that consistently allow us All of the papers selected for this sec-
I think of that?” Other ideas seem so
to achieve our technical tion concern the correct application of
zany and so ill-conceived, you ask your- field-proven artificial-lift technology.
self, “What were they thinking?” In every and business goals Paper SPE 181216 describes the surveil-
case, these new technologies have the are usually the old ones. lance methods used by one operator
same goal: To produce more oil and gas to improve the reliability and perfor-
more reliably and more cost-effectively. mance of their beam pumping systems.
One of my artificial-lift mentors has ones. There is a catch, however: You need Paper SPE 186254 describes a method
such a long history of developing and to apply those technologies correctly. to deploy electrical submersible pumps
championing new downhole pump- Applying artificial-lift technology in gassy horizontal wells to improve gas
ing technologies that he once described correctly means selecting the right lift handling and mitigate slugging. Paper
his career as the “relentless pursuit of method in the first place, selecting the SPE 186110, written by one of our recent
the everlasting pump.” Even in retire- right system components, installing the Legends of Artificial Lift inductees, pro-
ment, he continues this lifelong passion. equipment correctly, performing effec- vides new insights into the application
Yet, it occurs to me that the everlasting tive surveillance, and performing root- of injection-pressure-operated gas-lift
pump may actually exist today—through cause failure analysis so that we can learn valves, to allow operators to improve
the correct application of field-proven from our mistakes and enable continu- the design and overall reliability of gas-
technology. Although we seem to have a ous improvement. All of this requires a lift installations.
never-ending supply of new artificial-lift coordinated effort, not just between ven- To see more great artificial-lift papers
technologies, the technologies that con- dors and operators but also between the like these and to welcome our latest class
sistently allow us to achieve our techni- various groups within the operating com- of Legends, I invite you to join us for the
cal and business goals are usually the old panies themselves. Each of these groups 2018 SPE Artificial Lift Conference and
Exhibition—Americas on 28–30 August
2018 in The Woodlands, Texas, USA. JPT
Greg Stephenson, SPE, is a senior engineering adviser for arti-
ficial lift in Occidental Petroleum’s Worldwide Engineering and
Operations Group in Houston. In this role, he provides technical
support, mentoring, and training on all forms of artificial lift
Recommended additional reading
used throughout the company. Stephenson specializes in the at OnePetro: www.onepetro.org.
various aspects of artificial lift, production surveillance, automa- OTC 28123 A Step Change in Safety and
tion, and optimization. He has taught numerous industry cours- Quality for ESP Deployment in the North
es throughout the world and has written a variety of technical Sea by L. Pastre, Schlumberger, et al.
papers and publications on the subject. Stephenson currently serves on the JPT SPE 190090 Detecting Failures and
Editorial Committee, is an Associate Editor for the SPE Production & Operations Optimizing Performance in Artificial
journal, is the program chairperson for the 2018 SPE Artificial Lift Conference Lift Using Machine Learning Models
and  Exhibition—Americas, serves on the board of directors of the Artificial Lift by Mike Pennel, OspreyData, et al.
Research and Development Council, and is an active contributor and voting member SPE 187490 A Novel Approach to
for a variety of international standards and recommended practices related to gas Distributed Field-Based Gas-Lift Facilities
lift  technology through API Task Group 19G. Stephenson can be reached at by Siddharth Mullick, Anadarko Petroleum,
greg_stephenson@oxy.com. et al.

JPT • JULY 2018 55

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