Unconventional horizontal wells are extremely susceptible to production challenges resulting from inconsistent multiphase slug fluid flow, damaging solids, and gas interference. In a modern horizontal well configuration, operators have found that conventional rod pumps lose efficiency in the horizontal leg because it is directly exposed to all solids and gas flows, which results in shorter runtimes, expensive workovers, and reduction in the operating lifetime of the pump. Horizontal wells also exhibit steep decline rates, thus requiring complex artificial lift strategies and multiple artificial lift transitions throughout a well's lifetime. Alternative artificial lift methods like electrical submersible pumps (ESPs) and progressing cavity pumps (PCPs) are better suited for horizontal wells, but still encounter detrimental effects of inconsistent slug flows, excessive solids, and gas locking.
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