Zilift – an independent energy company based in Aberden which is backed by six venture capital companies – has successfully achieved a world first in the installation, operation and retrieval of a slim-line cable deployed electrical submersible pump (ESP), under live-well conditions.
The installation of an ESP, deployable through 3½” tubing, was conducted in a Californian well during November and included full wellhead termination and pump operation.
In many parts of the world rig costs are the single most significant factor in downhole pumping economics, particularly offshore. Further, rigs are rarely available as an ESP fails, which results in scheduling conflicts between important drilling programs and restoring production from the failed ESP well. Often this results in months of lost (deferred) production.
In concluding this trial, Zilift has demonstrated that rigs are no longer an essential component in ESP operations thereby saving the rig cost and largely eliminating postponed production. This presents the industry with a game changing opportunity for significant life cycle cost reductions.
Zilift was set up to develop innovative technologies in artificial lift for oil and gas markets based on patents in the permanent magnet machine space. Zilift has technology for downhole pump systems that is more compact, efficient and reliable than traditional solutions.
Its backers include Chevron Technology Ventures and Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures.
Norman Liley, Zilift commercial and IP director said: “For operators to regain profitability in this challenging oil price environment, the only route forward is the application of new methods and technology which can fundamentally reduce the industry’s cost base and the capacity to cable deploy ESP’s offers just that.”
Mike Rushby, Zilift SpeedDrive business unit manager said: “Demonstrating, for the first time, that ESP’s can be safely deployed under live well conditions – without the need for a rig at any stage in its deployment is a transformational development for the upstream oil industry.
“Additionally, Zilift successfully re-connected to the deployment cable and retrieved the complete system to surface – all under live well conditions. The significance of these achievements cannot be overstated – the industry has sought this type of solution for decades – it’s the “holy grail” for powered artificial lift systems.”