Reduce Long-Term Artificial Lift Costs

The conventional oil industry in Canada faces many obstacles, and as our business environment becomes more challenging, everyone has to work to build solutions “Made in Canada” to meet the specific needs of the Canadian market, including artificial lift units and the associated long-term costs.

The lower oil price environment has been reflected in drastically lower equipment prices, but many of these price reductions are not sustainable long-term as equipment suppliers are selling at extremely low margins. This requires all stakeholders to come up with solutions that have

  1. technologies to reduce Artificial Lift costs and
  2. add value to the products being sold. 

Finding A Better Way

Redhead Pumping Units have developed the Stroke Extender™ series units, that will extend the life of your surface pumping unit system, and enable higher efficiency pumping over the life of the well.

What led to this development? Our team at Redhead asked the question:

How can we reduce the overall capital costs, without affecting either the IP30 or IP90, while having a long term ALS system at the lowest possible operating costs?

Many reservoirs in Canada, especially hydraulically fractured wells, see significant declines in production early in the wells life. In a typical case of a rapidly declining new drill, surface equipment is sized to accommodate this initial production, often to the detriment of future operating conditions.

As the well rapidly declines, the pumping unit must be slowed down dramatically – often by 80% or more. This results in pumping units that either are running at less than 1 SPM, which in some brands of pumping units, can affect the gearbox lubrication. In addition, and more importantly, this can negatively affect the performance of downhole pumps. To alleviate this problem, the operator will change the stroke length of the pumping unit, in which most have 2 additional strokes which in many cases is insufficient enough a size reduction to be in an acceptable SPM range.

What is required is the ability to pump initial production to meet goals, while being able to pump long-term in the most efficient manner possible, when it is the most important.

The Long-Term Costs

The costs associated with moving pumping units can be considerable. This is especially true if they are not planned and engineered with the life of well in mind. After the initial pumping unit has run its course, and is now too large for the application, it can interfere with long term value of the well. Costs of poorly planned downsizing include removal and reset of the cement base, pilings, transportation and other associated costs, all of which can be avoided.

Breaking It Down

To illustrate the costs involved, lets look at a typical application in the Cardium, where the operator would be starting with a 456-305-168, and downsizing would occur very quickly.  As you can see with this initial example, within the first year, the well is already at it’s shortest stroke, and by the 3rd year, the SPM is too slow for ideal efficiency of the system, requiring intervention.

  • Initial Volume – 41 m3/d – 7.3 SPM with 168” stroke
  • Month 12 Volume – 10 m3/d – 2.71 SPM with 120” stroke
  • Month 36 Volume – 6 m3/d – 1.69 SPM with 120” stroke.  This rate remains relatively constant over the life of the well, until abandonment.

Increasing Stroke Per Minute (SPM)

There are 2 options for increasing the SPM of these units, one is to change out the pump, which requires a rig and other intervention equipment, at considerable cost. The other option is to change out the pumping unit to a smaller one, allowing shorter stroke and faster SPM.  Typically, the cost of changing surface equipment is less than downhole, and with less risk.

In this particular case, the cost to change out the 456-305-168 with a 228-213-100 would incur the following costs:

  • Unit Purchase - $45,000 (including electric motor, and accessories)
  • Transportation & Installation - $15-25,000 (including changing pile layout if required)

In this case, having the extra stroke on the Redhead unit (168” to 100” strike lengths) would save $60,000-$70,000 in the second year of production, by eliminating the need to change the unit and replace with a smaller one.

Redhead Pumping Units are leaders in the market at developing products that help producers attain their goals of lowering capital costs, while improving the overall value by reducing long term operating costs.

The Solution - Redhead Stroke Extender Series

Redhead Stroke Extender Series™ of Pumping Units boasts an additional 33% operating range compared to the competition. This offers the flexibility to chase those high rates, when they are needed, and also the flexibility to match your declines, and provide long term, low maintenance and low cost operation as the well matures.

Do you have more questions? Please contact us today or download the Redhead Lift feature sheet, and we'd be happy to discuss further.

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