Category description

Plunger Lift is one of the artificial lift methods that use well's natural energy to lift the fluids. It is mainly used to de-liquefy (water, oil, wax etc) in a natural gas well.  The underlying principle of the Plunger Lift is a plunger / piston inside the production tubing that travels up and down. It uses reservoir pressure build-up and rise and gravity forces, to come back to the bottom. This is achieved by shut-in and flow periods that open / close the shutoff valve down-hole with the predetermined time intervals.  The system is entirely mechanical.

Modern days, multistage plunger lift equipment may take the technology to a higher operating envelope. The Plunger Lift method is widely used to produce fluids in the fields that have significant amount of natural gas. Application of the Plunger Lift is limited to less than 5,000 B/D productions.


Low capital cost

Low maintenance & operating cost 

Low energy cost




Require another lift method to deplete the well

Optimum for low producing rate

Require good communication between production tubing and well casing


Plunger Lift system consists of:

  • Down-hole assembly 
  • Control section, lubrication at the surface
  • Surface arrival sensors 
  • Flow chokes 
  • Solar panels

Supply & Demand Dynamics

More than 70-80% 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 10% CAGR from 2014 till 2019 (source: Markets & Markets).  North America holds almost half of the market and will continue to be dominant. A number of artificial lift suppliers are actively expanding their presence globally with more R&D hubs manufacturing plant and services centers. 

Globally, Plunger Lift systems represent around 5 % of the population, but circa 10 % in non-rod pumping. Biggest market of Plunger Lift systems is China and Canada. 

Currently, GCC represents the smallest market for Plunger Lift.

External Scanning

New Entrants is Medium
  • Moderate CAPEX required
  • Many  Players
  • Battle for market share
  • Increased demand attracts suppliers and redirects their focus
Supplier Power is Medium
  • Many providers
  • Little product differentiation
  • Can solve customer problem

 Competitive Rivalry
  • A competitive environment
  • Technology is available to many players
  • Battle for market share
  • Little product differentiation


Buyer Power is High
  • Many providers
  • Spend is small
  • Other industries are demand drivers
  • Too costly for buyer
  • Requires  trials and cost benefit analysis 

Portfolio Positioning



Cost & Price Analysis

Price Analysis
Plunger Lift systems represent a very low market share globally.  Prices for Plunger Lift systems have always been driven by supply and demand. In the long run, prices will not exhibit any volatility and will be driven by commodity prices. 


Cost Analysis

Plunger Lift systems mainly consist of mechanical parts, steel components and some electrical parts. Hence, commodity prices and capacity utilization of manufacturers drive the costs of plunger lift systems

Total Cost of Ownership

Total cost model shall include the costs of:

  • Acquisition
  • Installation
  • Operation & maintenance, including energy costs
  • Change-out / Workover
  • Down time


Frequent competitive tendering to drive competition and obtain best possible prices.