Optimizing your existing wells in the face of diminishing resources

Optimizing your existing wells in the face of diminishing resources


Change is constant. Oil producers know this better than anyone, as they deal with formation pressures that don’t last. Engineers and geologists know this as they face declines in production from their wells. There’s a persistent dilemma in both of these cases: should companies invest into the well with expensive technologies, enhanced oil recovery methods or waterflooding, or should they optimize the well they already have?

In the industry’s current climate, turning to artificial lift technology to optimize existing wells while the price of oil is low will cut operating costs and reduce downtime, while freeing up production engineers and operators to work on other critical functions.

The new year has brought big changes to the oil industry. A decline in the price of oil has forced the industry to tighten its belt and produce oil at a lower cost. Budgets are shrinking, projects have been put on hold and layoffs are happening. It’s getting more difficult to convince management to pursue such risky ventures in oil extraction. Nonetheless, the pressure is there to maintain and increase production.


Oil operations in B.C. and Alberta are constrained by a lack of operators. At the same time, producers are focused on shaving operating costs. But cutting key areas while oil is priced low will negatively impact the producers ability to recover when price inevitably goes up. Managers will rush to cut key areas in a bid to slash capital budgets. Cuts in the wrong areas will hamper future success.

In times of crisis, we look for alternative and innovative solutions. With tightened budgets, operators themselves may not be able to spare any cash for R&D or improvements to their own tool sets. Artificial lift optimization reduces operating costs and reduces downtime no matter the price of oil, but is particularly valuable as budgets dwindle.

Producers will position themselves to rebound as the industry recovers, and will continue to benefit from an artificial lift optimization system.


Keeping bottom hole pressure low enough and having adequate pump fillage at the same time are hard to implement without technology. A pump off controller can provide real-time visibility on a wells’ pumping conditions. But picking the right technology is critical. With technology like PumpWELL’s, producers have the ability to fine-tune a wells’ performance at any moment with real-time feedback.

The most effective optimization systems first observe the amount of free gas inside the barrel and make the necessary speed adjustments. When selecting an artificial lift optimization technology, ensure that it provides real-time information on rod loading, casing, tubing and stuffing box pressures. For advanced protection, choose technology that can detect leaks and downhole problems, such as tapping for fluid pound.

Technology like PumpWELL’s advanced artificial lift optimization system can generate an IPR curve to assist in setting target levels for production. Tracking actual production against target is the quickest way to determine if wells are operating optimally.

In a time of tighter budgets and falling prices, oil producers should look to optimization technologies to help them do more with less.