See the Strengths and Weaknesses of Rod Lift, Gas Lift, Electric Submersible Pumps, Progressing Cavity Pumps and Jet Pumps.

  • January 31, 2022
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See the Strengths and Weaknesses of Rod Lift, Gas Lift, Electric Submersible Pumps, Progressing Cavity Pumps and Jet Pumps.

  • January 31, 2022
  • Share

Compare Artificial Lift Types and Select the Best for Your Well.

When you're selecting an artificial lift method, several essential factors will affect your decision:

  • Capital investment – The cost of the equipment and installation of the artificial lift system
  • Efficiency – How much energy you use to produce your desired volume of production (electricity cost, diesel fuel, natural gas)
  • Field Power – Availability of energy sources to power the artificial lift system
  • Surface Reliability – How long the equipment will operate without needing repair
  • Downhole Reliability – How long the equipment will operate between workovers

Generally, the highest cost associated with well operation (lease operating expenses) is workovers. This means the ideal artificial lift type is one that is easy to install, has a low upfront cost, and most importantly, will operate for long periods of time needing a workover. Energy consumption also is a factor.

Compare the Technology of Artificial Lift Methods



ESPs can produce large volumes of fluid but will consume vast amounts of energy (electricity) to do so. They do not require a lot of bottom hole pressure to operate, but they're usually very expensive to purchase. Plus, workover costs are higher than for most forms of artificial lift due to the need for a “spooler” for the power cable run in with the pump.

ESPs don't work well in deviated wellbores or where sand or solids are present.

They also require larger tubulars due to their size (the outside diameter of ESP).

ESPs work great, when they work, but failures are often unpredictable and extremely expensive.

Gas Lift

Gas lift can also produce large amounts of fluid, provided there is enough “injection gas” available to operate. Gas lift also requires a compressor to operate, which can be expensive. Compressors typically use produced natural gas from the well, but if gas is not plentiful, buying gas from the pipeline (buyback gas) is costly and often results in rendering wells no longer economically feasible to produce. 

Drawdown of the well is limited using gas lift, since injection gas can put backpressure on the formation. Overall, gas lift is a good choice when the gas-to-liquid ratio of the produced fluid is very high, and the required drawdown is not.

Rod Lift

Rod lift is the most widely used artificial lift type, simply because it's mechanically efficient, operators know and understand the technology, and pumping units are typically readily available. An electric motor typically powers the pumping units, but using an internal combustion engine is an option when electricity isn't available. You can produce high volumes of fluid with rod pumps, but large pumping units can become expensive. High bottom-hole pressures aren't needed for these pumps to work, which is a positive. However, because of the reciprocating motion of the rod inside the tubing, they don't work well in deviated wells. Rod pumps, like ESPs, perform poorly in high solids applications because the downhole pumps can't withstand abrasive wear.

All things considered, if you have a perfectly straight hole, don't produce sand/solids and don't require large amounts of production, rod lift is a good choice for artificial lift.

Progressing Cavity Pump

Progressing cavity pump systems are comparatively less expensive than using rod pumps, but they're limited in use to shallower wells. They can move high volumes of fluid, along with moderate amounts of sand or solids. Their mechanical efficiency is good, but run times are typically short due to a downhole elastomeric stator that is sensitive to high temperature.

Progressing cavity pumps also use a rod string inside tubing (rotating not reciprocating) and present rod/tubing wear issues like with rod pumps. They work best in shallow wells without deviation or high downhole temperatures.

Jet Pumps

Jet pumps are unique in that a surface pump powers a downhole pump. Jet pumps operate long run times between workovers.

Produced water or oil is pumped downhole through the jet pump. By utilizing the Venturi effect, produced fluid is drawn into the pump and mixed with the injected power fluid, and both power and produced fluids return up either the casing annulus or tubing string. While using one pump to drive another can be less efficient than some forms of lift, the benefits, in most cases, far outweigh the drawbacks.

Jet pumps have no moving parts downhole, so sand or solids production is good. Solids don't damage pumping mechanisms like with ESP or rod pumps. Jet pumps work great in deviated wells. Since there is no mechanical connection from the surface pump to the downhole jet pump deviations in the wellbore rarely impede the function or efficiency of the pump system.

Although tubular sizes can limit the amount of produced fluid, jet pumps can work inside of slim-hole wellbores as small as two inches. You can hydraulically retrieve the jet pump to the surface without the use of a workover rig. You can also continuously treat all the tubulars with corrosion inhibitors, or any chemicals needed to prolong the life of the tubulars within the well.

Historically, hydraulic jet pumps haven't been a widely used form of artificial lift, but with the rising cost of workovers and their extremely long run times, jet pump systems are becoming common in the oil and gas industry.



What Makes the JJ Tech Jet Pump System Better Than Artificial Lift Types?

The JJ Tech Jet Pump system has two main advantages over our competitors.

Our patented system (US Patent 7,255,175) utilizes the Hydra-Cell positive displacement diaphragm pump. The seal-less pump design reduces overall maintenance, ensuring long run times.

See Hydra-Cell Diaphragm Pumps.

The JJ Tech SELECT-JET Pump is the most versatile, user-friendly jet pump in the industry today. Combined with no moving parts downhole and a hydraulically retrieved carrier assembly, the JJ Tech jet pump eliminates the need for a workover rig for routine maintenance.

Using the JJ Tech Pump Analyzer, you can ensure that the artificial lift system is operating at maximum efficiency. This allows you to boost production while minimizing the surface horsepower consumption, reducing your monthly costs.

See JJ Tech Jet Pumps.

When unplanned workovers because of repeated failures are affecting your bottom line, it might be time to reach out to us. We promise all our clients that if we don't believe our system is the best form of artificial lift for your well, we won't recommend installing it.

Talk to our team about analyzing your well and customizing our jet pump solution for your organization.

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