06 May 2011

Electric Submersible Pump - ESP Artificial Lift Technology

The ESP unit consists of a motor, pump, protector or seal, intake or gas separator, cable, switchboard or variable speed drive, and several accessories. The ESP unit comes in a wide range of sizes and can vary from a small unit costing 15 thousand dollars to large high metallurgy units that could cost over $500k USD. 

The ESP market ranges from 120 to 35,000 barrels of fluid a day, is designed to operate in any size casing from 4.5” and larger. ESP’s horsepower range from 5 HP to 1,500 HP units. ESPs have been deployed to depths of 12,500 ft. 

There have been a lot of technology improvements over the last 25 years that allow the ESP to operate in many difficult applications.
These improvements comprise Variable Speed Drives, Gas Separation, Pressure Sensors, Automation, High Temperature technology, metallurgy in the pump that helps with sand and wear, along with high load bearings.

Variable Speed Drive; has allowed the ESP to slowed down and speed up to help keep the pump to within the recommended range.

Gas Separation;  the improvements in the gas separation has allowed more ESP’s to operate in high gas/oil ratio wells and even in dewatering of many gas wells.  

Pressure Sensors; have improved the performance so more and more customers rely on this technology. In the past sensors were not known as reliable so most customers did not install them. In many Countries of the world the pressure sensors is now considered essential to being able to monitor and improve the run life of the ESP.

Automation; with the introduction of automation the key components of the ESP can be monitored, allowing the customer to make changes to improve run life or prevent failures. With down hole pressure monitoring, vibration and monitoring motor heat, the ESP run life can be improved.

High Temperature technology; New motor technology has allowed the large manufacturers to operate in wells up to 450 F.

Pump Metallurgy; improvements in technology providing hardiness in key areas, along with bearings to prevent vibration, sand wear have improved pump life.

High Load/high temperature Bearings; new technology have improved thrust load in the protector, which has increased run life in the difficult wells for the ESP equipment.


  1. The main problem with esp compared to pumpjack sucker rod pump is pull costs and time to get a workover.

    For this reason we opt for rod pumps when flow and pressure conditions warrant.
    Good website.

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