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How Summit ESP Went From Nothing to Industry-leader in ESP System Development

How Summit ESP Went From Nothing to Industry-leader in ESP System Development

By Larry Parmeter, Chief Engineer of Motors and Seals (holder of 31 patents)

Larry Parmeter

Over the course of my 30+ years in the oil and gas industry, I’ve been fortunate enough to be part of some of the most exciting advancements in artificial lift. This includes being part of the team that built the first successful Steam Assist Gravity Drain (SAGD) motor and seal, as well as the group that developed the what at the time was the industry’s leading motor, SAGD system, and 880 motor, which is currently the largest ESP motor in the industry.

Some of the most exciting developments, however, came after I started with Summit ESP in 2011 as Chief Engineer of Motors and Seals. At the time, I was just the 12th employee hired. We literally started the company from scratch. For the first six months we sat on the 7th floor of a bank building with absolutely nothing.

Since then we have designed and built three series of motors and seals from the ground up and become an industry-leader in the field of ESP system development.

But as exciting as all this is, we are far from satisfied

While a lot has changed over the past six years, one thing that hasn’t is our continuous drive to find ways to improve our motors’ run life and match the constantly evolving requirements of our customers.

Much of our success over that time period can be attributed to Summit’s unique corporate structure, which gives engineers at every level the freedom and latitude to discover new and more efficient solutions to industry problems. This has instilled a very creative culture, where innovation is not only accepted, but encouraged.

Summit assembled a small, highly motivated core group in an environment that empowered each of us to work in a variety of roles. This streamlined approach minimized the “red tape” that is often present at other firms and allowed us to develop superior products in record-breaking time

Extending ESP run life

Largely on the basis of the performance of our products, Summit is now one of the largest ESP providers in the U.S. Key to these systems is advancing motor technology.

Summit’s newest 3.75-inch OD series motor, for instance, has the industry’s highest horsepower per unit of length, which is a critical performance characteristic when installing ESPs in deviated wells. The temperature rise in these new motors is also extremely low, due to high-efficiency windings, which drastically prolongs run life.

Another important feature that improves run life in these systems is the rotor bearing design, which incorporates a novel method of preventing bearing spin. The new Summit motor design can be rated upwards or downwards, as needed, depending on specific well conditions and economics.

Other achievements include designing (and successfully testing) a SAGD system that will operate at 260°C, as well as a 738 motor, the parts to which are currently being machined for the first prototype.

A holistic approach

Summit’s holistic approach to production systems — which integrates design, operation, monitoring, optimization, and root cause failure analysis — is what allows us to continuously innovate and deliver best-in-class ESP performance. We also place a strong focus on documenting abnormal jobs that may have a negative impact. These events are tracked in an appropriate manner, so that both Summit and operator personnel have visibility on issues. This ultimately ensures that incidents are not repeated and appropriate design changes are implemented.


Larry Parmeter

Mr. Parmeter has a Mechanical Engineering and Physics degree from Oklahoma University and more than 25 years of technical engineering and management experience in the electrical submersible pump industry.