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oil and gas, onshore, desert, power

Powering electrical submersible pumps

Client: A hydrocarbon exploration company

Location: The Delaware Basin, West Texas, USA

Sectors: Oil and Gas

The Challenge

Boosting electrical submersible pump uptime with reliable power

Pumping up ESP uptime with reliable power

A hydrocarbon exploration company in West Texas was ramping up the number of electrical submersible pumps (ESPs) on its wells in the Delaware Basin. But it needed to power most of these ESPs through a combination of unreliable utility power and separate 500 kW diesel generators.

The customer wanted to power each ESP with utility power but in parts of Delaware the grid was overloaded.

As a result, the customer was experiencing significant power issues: from voltage fluctuations and power surges to brownouts and frequent power outages – often for hours at a time, multiple times a day. In some cases, it could only get about 15% uptime on its ESPs.

The average cost per well running on diesel generators was $50,000 per month with fuel. What’s more, the utility company wanted $3 million to upgrade the lines. So the customer turned to Aggreko to see if improvements could be made.


Key Facts

Uptime 99 +
Improvement on utility power Near 80 %
Monthly savings per well $20,000

The Solution

Natural gas system and scalable microgrids

We were first asked to quote for large diesel generators. These were for a new seven well pad ESP where utility power was unavailable.

As well as a diesel generator option, we presented the customer with a significantly cheaper alternative using well gas. Initially, the customer hadn’t been interested in trying a gas option. It wasn’t familiar with gas systems and perceived them to be unreliable.

However, once we had convinced the customer that well gas was reliable, they decided to go with that option. This was a decision that really paid off.

We also helped the customer by installing microgrid packages in other areas of its field. In one area, utility power was so bad that ten ESPs would only get 15-20% uptime and outages would take place on an almost daily basis.

Here, we installed a four-unit 1.3 MW microgrid. This package was scalable and a fifth unit was added a few months later.

The success of this microgrid saw us install a second microgrid with seven 1.3 MW natural gas units in another area. Here, there were 17 ESPs, with a further nine being added later.

We were able to do this quickly, with a turnaround time of just over a month from initial discussion to installation. This microgrid will be expanded to 10 units as more ESPs are added.

The Impact

Reliability and uptime soar as costs plunge

The well pad gas system resulted in overall savings of approximately $700,000 over a six-month period. Reliability has been in the range of over 99%.

Both microgrid packages have been running with over 99% uptime and the customer’s production numbers have snowballed, with it seeing an almost 80% improvement.

What’s more, the costs per well on generator power have dropped from about $50,000 to $30,000 a month.

Generators powering electrical submersible pumps