Operators of unconventional wells have different approaches on the field development from well construction, completion, stimulation, and finally production. The production phase of unconventional wells from the early flowback to the lower flow rate at the late life of the well brings significant challenges to operators on determining the timing and type of artificial lift system to use. The steep production decline is not the only problem that needs to be addressed in the production phase. To complicate the artificial lift operations there is often an increase in the gas to liquid ratio (GLR) and significant amount of solids.
While the flexibility of artificial lift systems has been significantly broadened with new technologies there is still not a silver bullet or a unique system that can effectively address the challenges throughout the life of the well. This presentation includes case studies from operations on different unconventional plays using transitional artificial lift systems. The advantages and disadvantages from the operation standpoint and the estimated comparison of cumulative production among different artificial lift approaches for a well.