With unconventional oil and gas operators seeking more flexible production equipment that can handle fluctuating conditions, GE Oil & Gas announced the global introduction of its next-generation Vector Plus variable speed drive (VSD) surface control system for electric submersible pumps (ESPs). ESPs are a widely used form of artificial lift that utilize centrifugal force to pump hydrocarbons to the surface, enabling high flow and enhanced production.

ESPs and other artificial lift pumping applications are used in 94% of the roughly 1 million oil-producing wells around the world, helping lift hydrocarbons to the surface in reservoirs with low pressure and improving the efficiency of naturally flowing wells.

Intelligent control capabilities
ESPs are widely used to aid production in with high-volume wells and operate, on average, 6,000 feet below the surface. GE provides two ways to control the ESP motor from the surface, by using either a switchboard or a VSD system such as the company’s new Vector Plus VSD and its predecessor, the Vector VIITM VSD. While switchboards allow the operator to turn the motor on and off, GE’s new Vector Plus VSD allows the operator to gradually increase ESP motor speed and remotely adjust ESP speed from the surface with greater ease of use and improved intelligent control capabilities.

GE’s Vector Plus VSD is compatible with other GE artificial lift products, such as Zenith Downhole Sensors and Field Vantage Solution, and incorporates other existing control technologies, enabling GE to offer customers a cost-effective, integrated solution.

“The introduction of the Vector Plus VSD illustrates GE’s commitment to continually push the envelope to improve on our existing, proven artificial lift technologies while also developing new innovations that will help our customers meet their challenging production requirements in the field,” said Jerome Luciat-Labry, president of GE’s Well Performance Services business.

Significant growth in the global unconventional oil and gas space is a major energy trend driving GE Oil & Gas’ developments in artificial lift technologies, with the goal of offering operators the right type of solution to address the unique technical and environmental challenges of unconventional wells. Unconventional production, driven by shale exploration and production, is expected to increase globally by 50% by 2018 alone.