Most wells require additional energy to bring fluids to the surface as reservoir pressure declines over time. A key solution is artificial lift, which provides energy to lift fluids to the surface and increase production from a well. Artificial lift is used on more than 90 percent of Occidental's producing wells. Occidental invests in new technologies and techniques to optimize and extend production from artificial lift. The primary methods of artificial lift in use at Occidental are beam lift, electric submersible pump (ESP), gas lift and progressive cavity pump (PCP).
Beam lift, the most common artificial lift method worldwide, consists of a beam unit (also called pumping unit, pump jack or sucker rod pump) on the surface, a downhole pump and rods that connect the two. Beam lift is the largest component of Occidental's artificial lift, both in terms of number of wells and percentage of production. We operate a centralized communication and analysis system that enables surveillance, troubleshooting, optimization and control of our beam wells around the world.
Electric submersible pumps (ESP) consist of an electric motor and pump suspended near the bottom of a wellbore and connected to a power supply at the surface. ESPs can lift very high liquid rates and are the workhorses of our artificial lift fleet in terms of total fluid production.
Gas lift injects gas into the fluid column in a wellbore, reducing the column's density to the point where reservoir pressure is sufficient to produce the fluid to the surface. Occidental operates gas-lifted wells offshore Qatar, where we combine a surface network model with an automated system for collecting real-time operating data. This provides a powerful tool for production optimization.
Progressive cavity pumps (PCPs) are in use at many Occidental business units. These pumps typically are used in medium to shallow depth wells, and fill a gap in rate between beam pumps and ESPs. The primary components are a rotor inside an elastomeric stator. Occidental is using metal stator PCPs in thermal operations.