Beam pumping / rod pumping / sucker-rod lift / pump-jack / Reciprocating rod lift is the oldest and mostly used method (onshore only) in many countries around the world. The unit is made of a number of components, both surface and subsurface. The power source located at the surface, drives the down-hole pump. The pump contains a plunger and set of valves and works similar to a piston and cylinder. On the upstroke, the sucker rod fills the pump chamber and displaces the fluid on the down-stroke. Depending on the size of the equipment, this lifting method can pump up to 1,000 B/D. It can be used in a range of operating conditions. Modern days, there is a great variety of pumps that are geared towards more specific applications and may have some uncommon features, but all are governed by API Specification 11E.
Excellent gas and corrosion handling
Low cost solution and very reliable, easy to operate & maintain
Flexible source of power source - Gas or electricity
Can be used in a wide range of profiles
Low volumes & Onshore only
Low down-hole temperature
Not suitable of deep or deviated wells
Poor solid handling
The Beam/ Rod Pump consists of:
Although Rod / Beam pumping is the most widely used method and expected to dominate the artificial lift segment globally, the penetration rate is not what it used to be. Beam/ Rod Pumps are very reliable and can work for many years. Sucker rod is the only component that is most susceptible to premature failure. Friction, bending, stress fatigue and corrosion are the key reasons.
Risks & Opportunities
- Having the right material selection and type of connection would prolong the life of the sucker rod
- Depending on the down-hole conditions, fiberglass sucker rods can be used, especially in deep and corrosive wells
- Remote monitoring allows measuring and monitoring of pumps and well performance, sucker rod string loads and other parameters, that together maximize the life of the Beam/ Rod Pumps and minimize shutdowns. It also removes the requirements of personnel to be on location to monitor the units.
- Improving existing equipment vs. buying new
Supply & Demand Dynamics
More than 75% of wells worldwide use artificial lift. Depletion rate and maturing of the oilfield is the major driver for using artificial lift technologies. The segment is expected to witness the growth rate of almost 9% CAGR till 2023 (source: GM Insights). North America holds almost half of the market and will continue to be the dominant place. A number of artificial lift suppliers are actively expanding their presence globally with more R&D hubs manufacturing plant and services centers.
While the conventional production require artificial lift at a later stage during production, unconventional fields use artificial lift very early, due to fast decline in production. According to Frost & Sullivan, by 2025, 92% of the wells will require artificial lift.
Globally, Rod / Beam pumping systems represent between 40% to 45% of the population. Biggest markets for this artificial lift method are North America, China and Russia. While conventional oil production is a major segment for Rod / Beam systems, shale is a significant demand driver as well.
Currently, GCC represents the smallest market for Rod / Beam systems.
New Entrants is Medium
- Moderate CAPEX required
- Many Players
- Battle for market share
- Simple technology
Supplier power is Medium
- Many providers
- No alternative for buyers
- Some product differentiation
- A competitive environment
- Technology is available to many players
- Battle for marker share
Very limited product differentiation
Buyer Power is Medium
- Many providers
- OEM spare parts required
- Can be critical to buyer revenue
- Does not exist
Cost & Price Analysis
Over the last several years, the demand for Beam/ Rod Pumps was fairly stable with a significant growth in North America. However, oil price downturn, global requirements for Beam / Rod pumps are hampered, due to reduction in activities. In the near term, this will put some pressure on services companies and manufacturers, to reduce pricing. Yet, since the artificial lift supply / demand cycle has a different nature, i.e. in the downturn operators would concentrate on improving existing fields, than new projects, the price pressure will be less than other oilfield services.
Since the method is used mainly in marginal wells and a preferred artificial lift method for unconventional production, in the short term, the demand for the systems and high-price consumables may be affected significantly, due to low oil price environment; hence prices shall be heading down.
Onwards maintenance of Beam/ Rod Pumps is another large area of opportunity for suppliers, due to switching costs for operators. Depending on the operator requirements for Beam/ Rod Pumps, pricing models may be geared towards onward operations & maintenance of Beam/ Rod Pumps.
A Beam / Rod Pump consist of Surface Equipment and Down-hole assembly. The majority of the components are electrical, instrumentation and steel.
A complete set of Beam / Rod Pump ranges between US$50k to US$ 500k and primarily driven by the type and of the unit and down-hole conditions, such as operating depth, loads, corrosion risks, as it all greatly affect the material selection for sucker rods.
Key cost drivers and their impact:
Total Cost of Ownership
The total cost model shall include the costs of:
- Operation & maintenance, including energy costs
- Change-out / Work-over
- Down time
Cost of sucker rods may contribute as much as 30% of the TCO cost of Beam/ Rod Pump system and a very careful consideration shall be given to the selection of material and ensure the longest working life at an optimum cost.
Set up manufacturing facilities in country. This is a low technology segment.