C-FER Technologies
Joint Industry Project (JIP)

This Web Site was created by C-FER Technologies to permit access to the system by the ESP-RIFTS JIP Participants.

General Information on the ESP-RIFTS JIP is outlined below.

If your Company is a Participant in the JIP, and you were given access privileges (username and password), you may proceed to Login to the protected area of this Web Site.

General Information on the ESP-RIFTS JIP

General Information is provided below on the following topics:

Status and Approach
Benefits of Joining
Current Participants
Further Information


In the early stages of a field development feasibility study, several different artificial lift methods are usually considered. For many such developments, especially in high volume applications, Electrical Submersible Pumps (ESP’s) offer several advantages. They have the ability to work with relatively low bottom hole pressures, and therefore can accelerate production and increase reservoir recovery, improving the revenue obtained from a specific asset.

On the cost side, the estimate of ESP run life is a key factor, which can have a major impact on the results. Figure 1, for instance, shows the impact of ESP run life on workover costs for an offshore field, including the negative effects of deferred production due to the workovers. The higher the well’s production is, and the longer it takes to move a rig to the well location (and, of course, the higher the price of oil), the higher the lost revenue due to loss production, and the higher the total workover costs.

Unfortunately, however, the run life estimates used in these feasibility studies are usually little more than educated guesses. The main reason is that very few reliable correlations exist between run life, operational conditions, and equipment specifications. Industry experience has demonstrated that the consequences can be severe, with the end project economic results falling well behind the initial expectations in many cases. The uncertainty in run life prediction has also hindered the broader usage of ESPs and, as a result, the industry very likely has failed to benefit from this technology to the full extent possible.

Operators have long identified that having a failure tracking system in place is key to obtaining longer average service life in fields where wells are produced with ESPs. Problems with system design, equipment specification, manufacturing or installation, and day-to-day operation can be identified and corrected, contributing to increased run lives, lower operating costs and increased profits. As a result, many operators and vendors have set up database systems to track ESP run life and failure information. The structure of these databases depends on their purpose. For example, databases constructed by asset engineers, mostly concerned with equipment acquisition, are usually geared towards inventory control. On the other hand, databases constructed by field operators are usually geared towards failure analysis and production optimization. These databases seldom integrate both failure information and other pertinent data, such as operational conditions and equipment specifications. Furthermore, in most cases, the tracking systems are field/operation specific. Therefore, in terms of being useful tools for assessing the factors that affect ESP run life, these localized systems are limited, because they typically lack sufficient breadth to assess ESP run life under different conditions.

In many instances, when trying to improve ESP run life, operators find it difficult to conduct what-if analyses for conditions outside the range spanned by their own data set. For example, operators may find it difficult to obtain answers to questions such as:

  • My GOR has increased; should I try to use rotary gas separators? Will higher flow rates associated with higher drawdowns justify possible reductions in average run-life?
  • Should I start using used/refurbished equipment to reduce my operational costs? If I do, how many more workovers due to additional equipment failures might I expect to have in the upcoming years?
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Recognizing these pitfalls, several major operators have joined efforts to initiate the ESP Reliability Information and Failure Tracking System (ESP-RIFTS) Joint Industry Project (JIP), which focus on the sharing of failure information, operational practices and other pertinent data among the participants.

The main goal is to gain a better understanding of the circumstances during design, manufacture or use of ESPs that affect ESP run-life in a specific application.

Ultimately, the objective is to assist the industry in exploiting the full potential of the ESP technology, contributing to significant expansion in the world-wide use of ESPs.

Status and Approach

The JIP was initiated in November 1999, with a six-month first phase focused on generating a Failure Nomenclature Standard for the project, and building a functional database system. The database system had to allow for the efficient storage and retrieval of all relevant information collected through the project. It also had to have a number of built-in tools to allow user to query and conduct analysis with any desired subsets of the records.

Subsequent phases (i.e., since May 2000) have concentrated in increasing the amount of data in the system, improving the overall quality of the dataset, enhancing the analysis capabilities available on the Website and performing analysis to try to better understand key factors affecting run-life.

C-FER’s role in the JIP is mainly of a facilitator, a third-party resource working with the Participants to ensure that the sharing of information takes place effectively. C-FER maintains the Project Web Site, processes the Participants’ data to ensure consistency, develops new analysis tools, and conducts a variety of analyses on behalf of the Participants.

The Participants have a key role as well, since they are the source of the information, experience and knowledge related to their own operations.

Figure 2 illustrates the use of the system. Information in the operators’ databases is first brought into an “unqualified” area of the system. The “unqualified” data is then subject to processing for quality control. Records that meet the established quality criteria are then and brought to a “qualified” area of the system, and become accessible to all JIP Participants for analysis.

A one-year duration (May-April) has been established for each phase of the JIP following the initial six-month phase. Steering Committee Meetings are scheduled twice a year, and serve for C-FER to report progress in the project tasks and Participant company representatives to provide overall direction to the JIP. The second and last meeting of each phase has been held in conjunction with the ESP Workshop, in Houston. Such meeting has also marked the conclusion of one phase and the initiation of the next phase.

The project is currently in its tenth phase, and will be moving into its eleventh phase in May 2009.

While the JIP is open to New Participants at any time, New Participants are required to pay an Entrance Fee in addition to the Participation Fee for the relevant Phase.


One of the main deliverables of the JIP is the continuous access to the ESP-RIFTS system, through a secure, protected are of the Project Website, by the Participants.

Through the protected area of the Project Website, Participants can:

  1. query the system database for specific records and conduct analysis with the information contained in them; and
  2. have access to other Project Information, such as project documentation, and meeting minutes and presentation materials, as well as results of analyses conducted by C-FER.

The records in the system contain not only run-life data such as install/start/stop/pull dates for each installation, but also "pertinent data" such as well completion information, production and operational data, ESP equipment data, and information specific to the failures (from pull and teardown reports, and related failure analyses).

Analyses conducted using the system involve a two-step process:

  1. querying the system to select a sub-set of interest (e.g., all offshore installations with motor power higher than 400 hp); and
  2. examining the data using the built-in analysis routines, pivot-table and chart capabilities of the system (e.g.; run-time as a function of field and installation date, or breakdown of the failures by primary failed item and failure descriptor).

Most analyses are "problem-led", in the sense that they attempt to answer specific questions:

  • What sort of run-life should I expect under these circumstances?
  • How does run-life compare between different equipment vendors or ESP technologies?
  • What factors contribute to shorter/longer run-life?
  • What sort of failure mechanisms prevails under these circumstances?
  • What can I do to reduce my risk of failure?

Benefits of Joining

Tangible results from this industry-led initiative include:
  • Operators can benchmark their performance against others all over the world.
  • Operators can also accelerate their learning curve and continuously identify opportunities for improvements, thus leading to more favorable economic results in all stages of a development project;
  • Decision-makers are able to rely on hard reliability data, rather than on educated guesses or vendor indications, to support selection of an optimal solution for a specific application. The chances for economic success are therefore enhanced;
  • Operators and vendors are able to focus on relevant technology developments to resolve key problems and expand the application range of ESPs; and
  • What-if scenario analyses become possible, because data on a wide variety of conditions are readily accessible.

An expanded description of Immediate and Long-Term Benefits to Companies considering joining the JIP is available in an attached file.

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Current Participants
  • BP (and TNK-BP)
  • Cenovus Energy
  • Chevron Corporation
  • ConocoPhillips
  • ExxonMobil
  • Hess Corporation
  • Nexen Inc.
  • Occidental Oil Gas Corporation
  • Petrobras
  • Shell International
  • Statoil
  • Suncor
  • Total

Data in the System

As of February, 2012 there were about 102,429 ESP records in the System from approximately 740 fields representing 21 operating companies. In addition to conventional ESP systems, the database includes a number of "non-conventional" ESP's, including subsea, coiled tubing deployed, water source well ESP's, Downhole Oil/Water Separation (DHOWS) ESP systems, and Progressing Cavity Pump (PCP) ESP systems.

Further Information

If you need further information, please contact C-FER.

C-FER wishes to recognize Cleon Dunham (retired, Shell) for his vision and determination, which led to the initiation of this Joint Industry Project.