Electric Submersible Pumps (ESPs) Surface More Oil and Gas

A technology used in 60% of global oil production today, ESPs extract oil by pumping it to the surface. In 2011, GE acquired the John Wood Group, a manufacturer of this technology, to grow the company’s Oil & Gas (O&G) portfolio.

GE Global Research is helping to strengthen the acquisition by introducing new technology that will enable new applications for ESPs in unconventional oil and gas, subsea, geothermal and mining applications. The key challenges are developing new technologies that allow these pumps to function in much harsher environments.

GE scientists are bringing a unique and broad set of technical

capabilities and knowledge of GE’s business portfolio to deliver needed technologies. Examples include:

  • Abrasion and erosion resistant coatings. Similar to how GE researchers developed coatings to protect jet engines, gas turbines and oil pipeline valves from sand wear, we will apply this expertise to ESPs.
  • High temperature motor insulation. Our experience in insulation technology dates back to World War II and recently has enabled generators on jet engines to run hotter than ever. We’re developing new insulation technologies to ensure the wiring for ESP systems can meet the more volatile environments in which they will need to function.
  • Rotor dynamics and bearings performance. We’re developing breakthrough technology that eliminates instabilities to improve durability and the life of parts.
  • Monitoring and diagnostics. Customers will be able to monitor and track the condition and operation of their pumps in a much more detailed and reliable manner. Data will then predict failures before they happen and allow customers to better manage the production of entire reservoirs.

While improving oil and gas production, the breadth of technologies GE is introducing also will support other energy applications as well. Equipment for geothermal wells faces some of the same harsher conditions deep beneath the earth that will require more rugged technology solutions.