Electrical submersible pumps (ESPs) and their variable frequency drives (VFDs) are one of the most popular artificial lift techniques for oil extraction.

However, beam pumps on multi-well pads, still very popular in many countries, have 920,000 pumps in operation around the world. Their use in oilfields goes back more than 150 years!

Historically, many beam pumps and ESPs are often fed from generators where power quality was not necessarily a major consideration. However, with the continuing transition to powering ESPs and beam pump VFDs from utility supplies, maintaining acceptable power quality has become extremely important.

Indeed, failures of equipment adjacent and upstream of the ESP and beam pump VFDs is often related to power quality problems. Therefore, utilities now apply strict rules regarding harmonic voltage distortion and power quality.

Traditional harmonic mitigation solution for ESP and Beam Pump VFDs – Series passive harmonic filters

Series passive harmonic filters are installed with each 6 pulse ESP VFD.  They are very rugged electrically and environmentally, cost-effective and have acceptable performance (<5% to 8% at rated load).

Series Passive Harmonic Filters for ESP and Beam Pump VFDs
Pros & cons for series passive harmonic filters for ESP & beam pump VFDs

AFE (aka ‘low harmonic drives’) for ESPs and Beam Pumps Applications

Currently, a number of ESP VFD vendors are promoting active front end (AFE) VFDs for ESP applications.  These are essentially a series active filter, DC bus and a PWM IGBT output inverter as (per a 6 pulse VFD).  This technology requires the use of an LCL filter at the input which, at reduced loading, injected uncontrolled reactive power into the power system causing leading displacement power factor, which is especially problematic on oilfields supplied by generators.

AFE (Aka ‘low harmonic drives’) for ESPs and Beam Pumps
Pros and cons of active front end (AFE) for ESPs and Beam Pumps

RiteSine ActiveESP – Harmonic mitigation for ESP and Beam Pump VFDs

RiteSine ActiveESP provides economical ‘global’ harmonic and PQ mitigation for ESP or beam pumps VFDs from a central point (e.g., a container or switchroom). Enclosures available include IP20 for panel mounting, IP31, IP43, IP54 or IP65 at ambient temperature up to 55 deg C.

However, if required, ‘one to one’ mitigation (i.e. one ActiveESP filter per ESP VFD or beam pump VFD), adjacent to the well site, can also be accommodated.

The compensation current capacity for both options can be expanded if additional ESP VFDs are added to the field thus ensuring a future-proof solution.


In addition to total harmonic voltage distortion, a concern on offshore oil production platforms and FPSOs is the lack of physical space and the weight of ESP VFDs and ancillary equipment. This may limit the number of ESP VFDs (and their harmonic mitigation) installed and therefore, the production throughput.

On production platforms, FPSOs and where land-based utility networks supply the oilfields, the cost and ease of installation, performance and redundancy are all primary drivers. The harmonic mitigation focus is now shifting towards more centralized, advanced mitigation solutions such as the RiteSine ActiveESP.

RiteSine ActiveESP is an advanced, high performance active filter which offers economical ‘global mitigation’ for multiple ESP VFD applications as illustrated below thus saving valuable total purchase, installation and maintenance costs, space, weight yet ensuring high performance or, alternatively, ‘one to one’ application with the VFD at the well site(s).

RiteSine ActiveESP global harmonic mitigation for Oilfield ESP
Pros and cons of ActiveESP Global or ‘One to One’ Mitigation

Patented ripple current interleaving cancellation technology

The ActiveESP harmonic filter utilises double interleaved inverter topology to ensure dynamic response time, reduced ripple current and reduced heat loss.

Electrical diagram of the ActiveESP active harmonic filter

The high-frequency components of the two inverters’ output currents are shifted by 180 degrees in order to essentially cancel each other. As a result, the overall ripple current is reduced by 80% and the power losses decreases by 30% but without compromising both the response time and the need to increase the switching frequency.

Waveforms of individual inverter ripple current as well as the overall ripple current

ActiveESP basic specification

  • Supply voltages available – 380V to 690V, 50/60Hz (above 690V on application).
  • Maximum compensation capacity per discrete filter 100A up to 600A. Up to 10 filters can be    connected in parallel (max 6000A).
  • Broad spectrum of cancellation (from 2nd to 50th harmonics) to <5% THDi at rated load
  • Ambient temperature – 40 deg C to 55 deg C with derating (above 55 deg C on  application).
  • Enclosure options – IP20, IP31, IP43, IP54 (IP65 on application)
  • Harmonic mitigation and reactive power compensation as standard (3W)
  • Superior filtering efficiency of no less than 97%


ActiveESP additional advanced outstanding features

  • Powerful controller based on dual-DSP architecture allowing for ultra-fast and precise compensation
  • Amorphous alloy reactors used for for low noise and enhanced energy efficiency
  • Compensation for both integer harmonics and interharmonics (optional)
  • Compensation for background harmonic voltage distortion (optional) to protect downstream loads

For information on Harmonic Solutions Oil & Gas additional range of oilfield products and services please click on the appropriate link below :

ESP Power Managment

Passive ESP VFD output filters

Active Harmonic Filters

Continuous oilfield power & PQ monitoring

PQ and conducted EMI expert oilfield site services

TVSS – Sinetamer

Oilfield site PQ services