We drill wells to extract crude oil or natural gas from rock formations. The recovered formation fluids are subsequently separated into oil, gas and formation water using surface production facilities.
Based on the amount of available reservoir energy, production methods can be classified into two basic categories:
- natural flow production
- artificial-lift production
Over the course of production, the reservoir energy gradually decreases up to a point where the natural flow of formation fluids is so low or non-existent that mechanized methods must be employed instead.
Artificial-lift production is facilitated primarily by the following types of production equipment:
- sucker rod pumps (beam pump production)
- progressing cavity pumps (PCP)
- electric submersible pumps (ESP)
- gas lifts
- plunger lifts