Among the technology and innovation advances to access and produce today's complex reservoirs, a key element that ultimately delivers the production is often less visible—artificial lift, which keeps more than 90% of current producing wells flowing. A jet pump is a relatively infrequent artificial lift technique, yet it is highly efficient in the right application.
In deviated wells, rod pumping units have limitations due to friction between the rod and the tubing wall. The efficiency and run life of electric submersible pumps suffer in wells that produce significant volumes of sand, gas, or both. Because they have simple downhole architecture and no moving parts, jet pumps have become an increasingly popular artificial lift option in challenging production scenarios. Their operation is based on Bernoulli's principle, which states that an increase in the speed of a fluid is accompanied by a decrease in its pressure.
A nozzle in the jet pump converts the pressurized, slow-moving power fluid pumped down by a surface pump into a fast-moving fluid (the Venturi effect). The consequent fall in pressure draws in wellbore fluid and the two fluid streams mix. The mixture transfers to an expanding area where its significant kinetic energy converts to static pressure in the fluid, sufficient to lift the fluid mixture to the surface.
Operator interest in jet pump use has been spurred further by recent technical developments that reduce pump operating costs while increasing efficiency. For example, surface equipment can be powered with gas taken directly from the well and integrated control systems help to optimize performance during production fluctuations.
A Defining Series article “Jet Pumps” explains the basic concepts of jet pumps and how operators employ them to meet their specific production needs.
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