Digital Oil Field Grows With Intelligent Artificial Lift

Artificial lift is used in about 950,000 wells around the globe to improve production rates when natural pressure is insufficient to push the oil to the surface. Products such as rod pumps, progressive cavity pumps (PCP) and electric submersible pumps (ESP) are used to increase the flow of crude oil from a well. The motive force for all these pumps are motors.

When these motors and pumps are managed and controlled by variable speed drives (VSDs), intelligent artificial lift becomes possible and real opportunities for better insight into and control of oil pumping start to appear on several levels. This is because VSDs, which originally were only used for basic speed control on motors as an alternative to simple on-off running, have developed over recent decades with oil industry-specific programs built into them, giving operators and engineers valuable new opportunities for better process control.

These intelligent artificial lift systems can make proactive process adjustments using real-time operating data from VSDs and sensors, and with tailored algorithms they will act as key enablers for the digital oilfield (DOF) concept that will eventually use digital devices and communications networks to optimize a wide variety of oil production tasks.