Gas handling devices may be a better alternative for wells prone to high free gas, slugging, foams and emulsions. These are essentially centrifugal pumps with large stages, mixed (or axial) impellers, large vane openings, steep vane exit angles and sometimes include multiple vanes.
Instead of separating, their purpose is to break large gas bubble into smaller ones thereby reducing the risk of gas locking and making it easier for gas to be re-absorbed into solution, and to homogenize the gas with liquid phases, prior to entering the pump intake.
An additional benefit of gas handlers is, because more gas is retained in the flow stream, this gas is then available to help lift fluids in the tubing above the ESP discharge head thereby reducing hydraulic horsepower requirements.
Applications: A Gas Handler is generally considered if the Free Gas Percentage at the intake of the pump is from 30% to 60% by volume.
As shown in the graph above, the GH can be used with a standard intake or with a gas separator. The choice will depend on how much free gas will be present at the intake for producing condition and on whether there is a packer preventing gas production up the annulus.
PS: Typical handling capacity of centrifugal pumps: