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An operator in the Williston basin wanted to accelerate the initial production of unconventional, Bakken wells before switching to a lower-flow pump. The wells had deep setting depths, high bottomhole temperatures, and high levels of gas in the production fluid. The Artificial Lift Systems team of Baker Hughes, a GE company (BHGE), designed an electrical submersible pumping (ESP) system capable of operating in these challenging conditions. The downhole motor, a critical component of the ESP system, was designed for the elevated temperatures and harsh operating conditions characteristic of the Bakken. The patented process of encapsulating the motor windings and end coils in epoxy improves heat dissipation, increasing reliability at elevated operating temperatures.

It is not uncommon for ESP motors to be replaced after each install due to failure from operating in harsh conditions. BHGE ESP motor technology provided the reliability necessary to reinstall the same motor in multiple wells. As soon as the ESP system successfully drew the well down to a low intake pressure and flow rate, the system was pulled proactively and the motor was reinstalled in the next well. Over a period of 722 days, the same motor was installed in three different Bakken wells, producing a total of approximately 215,000 barrels of oil, 110,000 barrels of water, and 90,000 MCF of gas. Reusing the same motor saved the operator 67% of the cost of buying a new motor for each install. A lower-flow FLEXPump™ 3.2 pump was subsequently installed in two of these wells. FLEXPump3.2 pumps offer a wide operating range of 500-50 B/D.

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Challenges & Results
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Challenges

  • Setting depth of over 9,000 ft
  • Bottomhole temperatures above 200°F (93°C)
  • High levels of gas in the production fluid
  • Unconventional wells with steep decline curves
  • Operator wanted to accelerate initial production of wells before switching to a lower-flow pump

Results

  • Single motor ran for 722 days in three different wells
  • Patented epoxy encapsulated motor operated in harsh environments and extreme temperatures
  • Customer saved 67% of the motor cost for three installs
  • Motor moved approximately 215,000 barrels of oil, 110,000 barrels of water, and 90,000 MCF of gas