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GAS OF THE LIFT BOOK 6
CATIONAL TRAINING SERIES
THIRD EDITION, 1994

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API GAS LIFT MANUAL
Book 6 of the Vocational Training Series Third Edition, 1994

Issued by AMERICAN PETROLEUM INSTITUTE Exploration & Production Department
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FOR INFORMATION CONCERNING TECHNICAL CONTENT OF THIS PUBLICATION CONTACT THE API EXPLORATION & PRODUCTION DEPARTMENT, 700 NORTH PEARL, SUITE 1840 (LB-382), DALLAS, TX 75201-2831 - (214) 953-1101. SEE BACK COVER FOR INFORMATION CONCERNING HOW TO OBTAIN ADDITIONAL COPIES OF THIS PUBLICATION.

Users of this publication should become familiar with its scope and content. This document is intended to supplement rather than replace individual engineering judgment.

OFFICIAL PUBLICATION

REG U.S. PATENT OFFICE

Copyright O 1994 American Petroleum Institute

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POLICY
API PUBLICATIONS NECESSARILY ADDRESS PROBLEMS OF A GENERAL NATURE. WITH RESPECT TO PARTICULAR CIRCUMSTANCES, LOCAL, STATE AND FEDERAL LAWS AND REGULATIONS SHOULD BE REVIEWED. API IS NOT UNDERTAKING TO MEET DUTIES OF EMPLOYERS, MANUFACTURERS,ORSUPPLIERSTOWARNANDPROPERLYTRAINANDEQUIPTHEIR EMPLOYEES, AND OTHERS EXPOSED, CONCERNING HEALTH AND SAFETY RISKS AND PRECAUTIONS, NOR UNDERTAKING THEIR OBLIGATIONS UNDER LOCAL, STATE, OR FEDERAL LAWS. NOTHINGCONTAINED IN ANYAPIPUBLICATIONISTOBECONSTRUEDAS GRANTING ANY RIGHT, BY IMPLICATION OR OTHERWISE, FOR THE MANUFACTURE, SALE,OR USE OF ANY METHOD, APPARATUS, PRODUCT COVERED BY OR LETTERS PATENT. NEITHER SHOULD ANYTHING CONTAINED IN THE PUBLICATIONBECONSTRUEDASINSURINGANYONEAGAINSTLIABILITYFOR INFRINGEMENT OF LETTERS PATENT. GENERALLY, API PUBLICATIONS ARE REVIEWED AND REVISED, REAFFIRMED, OR WITHDRAWN AT LEAST EVERY FIVE YEARS. SOMETIMES A ONE-TIME EXTENSION OF UP TO TWO YEARS WILL BE ADDED TO THIS REVIEW CYCLE. THIS PUBLICATION WILL NO LONGER BE EFFECT FIVE YEARS AFTER ITS PUBLICAIN TION DATE AS AN OPERATIVE API PUBLICATION OR, WHERE AN EXTENSION HAS BEEN GRANTED, UPON REPUBLICATION. STATUS OF THE PUBLICATION CAN BE ASCERTAINEDFROMTHEAPIEXPLORATION & PRODUCTIONDEPARTMENT (214-953-1101). ACATALOG OF APIPUBLICATIONSANDMATERIALSISPUBLISHED ANNUALLY AND UPDATED QUARTERLY API. BY 1220 L N.W., ST., WASHINGTON, D.C. 20005.

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FOREWORD
Artificial l i f t represents an increasingly important part of the oil business. In fact, at the time of this writing, over 90% of the oil wells in the United States used some form of artificial lift. The four basic types artificial lift used in the oil industry are: rod pumping, of electric submersible pumping, hydraulic pumping, and gas lift. As the name implies,lift gas is the only one the artificial lift systems that does not some formof mechanical pump of use to physically force the fluid from one place to another. Because phenomenon, gas lift of this has certain advantages over the other systems in some instances and occupies a rather unique and important place as a lift mechanism. This manualis underthejurisdiction of theExecutiveCommitteeonTraining and Development, Exploration & Production Department, American Petroleum Institute. It is intended to familiarize operating personnel the useof gas lift as artificial lift system. with an It includes information on the basic principles of gas lift, the choice of gas lift equipment, how various types of gas lift equipment work, and a gas lift system should designed. how be Information is also includedon monitoring, adjusting, regulating, and trouble-shooting gas lift equipment. The first editionof this manual was issued in 1965. A second edition was issuedin 1984, and editorial errata were published in 1986 and incorporated a 1988 reprint the manual. in of This third edition was developed asan editorial update for consistency with recentAPI gas lift standards. It was developed with assistance by volunteer technical reviewers including:

J. R. Blann, Consultant, Lead Reviewer J. R. Bennett, Exxon Production Research Company Joe Clegg, Pectin International John Martinez, Production Associates H. W. Winkler, Consultant

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Other publications in the API Vocational Training Series are:
Book 1: Introduction to Oil and Gas Production, Fourth Edition, 1983 (Reaffirmed 1988) Thispopularorientationmanualcontains81pagesandover 100 photographs and line drawings. It is written as a simple, easy-to-understand style to help orient and train inexperienced oil and gas production personnel. The book is also helpful to students, industry office personnel, and businesses allied with the oil and gas industry. The fourth edition represents a complete revision and updating of the previous edition. Spiral bound, 8 ’ / 2 x 1 1 , soft cover. Book 2: Corrosion of Oil and Gas Well Equipment, Second Edition, 1990 Generalaspects of corrosion,sweetcorrosion,oxygencorrosion,andelectrochemical corrosion are thoroughly covered. Methods of evaluation and control measures are described in detail Spiral bound, 6 ’ / 2 x 10, soft cover, 87 pages.
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Book 3: Subsurface Salt Water Injection und Disposal, Second Edition 1978 (Reaffirmed 1986) Ahandbookfortheplanning,installation,operation,andmaintenance of subsurface injection and disposal systems. Design criteria and formulae are given for gathering systems, treating plants, and injection facilities. Alternative equipment and methods are discussed and illustrated. Economic considerations are presented. The book includes a glossary and bibliography. Soft cover, 6I/2 x 1 O , spiral bound, 67 pages, 1 S illustrations. Book 5: Wireline Operations and Procedures, Second Edition, 1983 (Reaffirmed 1988) This handbook describes the various surface and subsurface wireline tools and equipment used in the oil and gas industry. It explains and outlines the application of these tools in wireline operations, including those operations conducted offshore. It isabasicmanual presented in a simple, uncluttered manner. Soft cover, 72 pages, 90 illustrations, 6l/2 x IO, spiral bound.

API Specs & RPs
(Users should check the latest editions)
Spec 1 1 VI, Specification for Gas Lift Valves, Orifices, Reverse Flow Valves and Dummy Va1ves Covers specifications on gas lift valves, orifices, reverse flow valves, and dummy valves. RP 1 1 V5, Recommended Practice for Operation, Maintenance, and Trouble-Shooting of Gas Lift Installations Coversrecommendedpracticeonkickoffandunloading,adjustmentproceduresand trouble-shooting diagnostic tools and location of problem areas for gas lift operations. RP 1 1V6, Recommended Practice for Design Continuous Flow Gas Lift Installations Using of Injection Pressure Operated Valves Thisrecommendedpracticeisintended to setguidelinesforcontinuousflowgas lift installation designs using injection pressure operated valves. The assumption is that the made designer is familiar with and has available data on the various factors that affect a design. The designer is referredto the API “Gas Lift Manual” (Book 6 of the Vocational Training Series) and to the various API 1 1V recommended practices on gas lift. RP 1 1V7, Recommended Practice for Repair, Testing and Setting Gas Lift Valves This document applies to repair, testing, and setting gas lift valves and reverse flow (check) valves. It presents guidelines related to the repair and reuse of valves; these practices are intended to serve both repair shops and operators. The commonly used gas pressure operated bellows valve is also covered. Other valves, including bellows charged valves production in pressure (fluid) service should be repaired according to these guidelines.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS API GAS LIFT MANUAL
CHAPTER 1 . INTRODUCTION TO ARTIFICIAL LIFT AND GAS LIFT BASIC PRINCIPLES OF OIL PRODUCTION........................................................................... Factors That Affect Oil Production.......................................................................................... ARTIFICIAL LIFT .......................................................................................................................... Types of Artificial Lift Systems ............................................................................................... . . . Choosing an Artlflclal Lift System .......................................................................................... THE PROCESS OF GAS LIFT ...................................................................................................... Types of Gas Lift ......................................................................................................................... Continuous Flow Gas Lift.......................................................................................................... Intermittent Flow Gas Lift......................................................................................................... ADVANTAGES AND LIMITATIONS OF GAS LIFT ............................................................. Choice of Gas Lift System ......................................................................................................... HISTORICAL REVIEW OF GAS LIFT DEVELOPMENT ...................................................... Early Experiments ....................................................................................................................... Chronological Development ...................................................................................................... Technical Development of Gas Lift Equipment..................................................................... DEVELOPMENT OF THE MODERN GAS LIFT VALVE ...................................................... Differential Valves ...................................................................................................................... Bellows Charged Valves ............................................................................................................ CHAPTER 2 - WELL PERFORMANCE INTRODUCTION .......................................................................................................................... INFLOW PERFORMANCE PREDICTION .............................................................................. Productivity Index (P.I.) Technique ....................................................................................... Inflow Performance Relationship (IPR) Technique............................................................ Vogel IPR Curve ........................................................................................................................ Vogel’s Example Problem........................................................................................................ WELL OUTFLOW PERFORMANCE PREDICTION ............................................................. Example Problem....................................................................................................................... PREDICTING THE EFFECTOF GAS LIFT ............................................................................ Comparison of Conduit Size.................................................................................................... Effect of Surface Operating Conditions ................................................................................ Use of Inflow Performance Relationship Curves (IPR) ...................................................... Computer Programs for Well Performance Analysis..........................................................

1 i 1 1 1

2 2 2 3 4 4 6 6 6 6 8 8 9
11

12 12 12 12 13 17
17

19 21 21 22 22

CHAPTER 3 - MULTIPHASE FLOW PREDICTION INTRODUCTION .......................................................................................................................... 23 Dimensionless Parameters ....................................................................................................... 23 Empirical Data ........................................................................................................................... 23 Basis for Developing Multiphase Flow Correlations.......................................................... 23 Accuracy of Flowing Pressure at Depth Predictions ........................................................... 23 Importance of Reliable Well Test Data................................................................................. 24 PUBLISHED VERTICAL, HORIZONTAL AND INCLINED MULTIPHASE FLOW CORRELATIONS .................................................................................................... 24 Papers Evaluating the Accuracy of Multiphase Flow Correlations.................................. 24 Ros-Gray and Duns-Ros Correlations .................................................................................... 25 SIMPLIFIED MULTIPHASE FLOW CORRELATIONS BASED ON TOTAL ENERGY LOSS FACTORS OR NO-SLIP HOMOGENEOUS MIXTURES ............... 25 Poettmann and Carpenter Correlation .................................................................................... 25 Baxendell and Thomas Correlation........................................................................................ 25 Two-Phase Homogeneous No-Slip Mixture Correlations.................................................. 26 GENERAL TYPE OF MULTIPHASE FLOW CORRELATIONS ......................................... 26 Typical Pressure Gradient Equation for Vertical Flow...................................................... 26 Published General Type Correlations.................................................................................... 27

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TABLE OF CONTENTS (Continued)
DISPLAYS OF FLOWING PRESSURE AT DEPTH GRADIENT CURVES ..................... Converting Rgoto Rg. ................................................................................................................. Gilbert’s Curves......................................................................................................................... Minimum Fluid Gradient Curve .............................................................................................. Displaying Gradient Curves to Prevent Crossover.............................................................. STABILITY OF FLOW CONDITIONS AND SELECTION OF PRODUCTION CONDUIT SIZE ........................................................................................ Graphical Determination of Minimum Stabilized Production Rate.................................. Conditions Necessary to Assure Stable Multiphase Flow .................................................. Effect of Tubing Sizeon Minimum Stabilized Flow Rate ................................................. 27 27 28 28 32 32 32 33 34

CHAPTER 4 - GAS APPLICATION AND GAS FACILITIES FOR GAS LIFT INTRODUCTION .......................................................................................................................... BASIC FUNDAMENTALS OF GAS BEHAVIOR.................................................................. APPLICATION TO OILFIELD SYSTEMS .............................................................................. Subsurface Applications........................................................................................................... Pressure Correction ................................................................................................................... Temperature Correction ............................................................................................................ Test Rack Settings..................................................................................................................... Gas Injection in the Annulusor Tubing ................................................................................ Flow Through the Gas Lift Valve ........................................................................................... SURFACE GAS FACILITIES..................................................................................................... System Design Considerations................................................................................................ Gas Conditioning ....................................................................................................................... Reciprocating Compression ..................................................................................................... Centrifugal Compression.......................................................................................................... Piping and Distribution Systems ............................................................................................ Gas Metering .............................................................................................................................. CHAPTER 5 - GAS LIFT VALVES INTRODUCTION .......................................................................................................................... VALVE MECHANICS.................................................................................................................. Basic Components of Gas Lift Valves................................................................................... Closing Force ............................................................................................................................. Opening Forces .......................................................................................................................... Valve Load Rate ........................................................................................................................ Probe Test ................................................................................................................................... Production Pressure Effect ...................................................................................................... Closing Pressure ........................................................................................................................ VALVE CHARACTERISTICS.................................................................................................... Dynamic Flow Test ................................................................................................................... Valve Spread .............................................................................................................................. Bellows Protection .................................................................................................................... Test Rack Opening Pressure.................................................................................................... TYPES OF GAS LIFT VALVES ................................................................................................ Classification of Gas Lift Valves by Application ............................................................... Valves Used for Continuous Flow ......................................................................................... Valves Used for Intermittent Lift ........................................................................................... Basic Valve Designs ................................................................................................................. Wireline Retrievable Valve and Mandrel ............................................................................. Mandrel and Valve Porting Combinations............................................................................ CHAPTER 6 - CONTINUOUS FLOW GAS LIFT DESIGN METHODS INTRODUCTION ..........................................................................................................................

35 35 39 39 39 39 41 41 45 49 49 49 50 52 54 54 57 57 58 59 59 60 60 60 61 61 6.1 61 62 62 63 63 63 63 64 65 67 69

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TABLE OF CONTENTS (Continued)
TYPES OF INSTALLATIONS .................................................................................................... CONTINUOUS FLOW UNLOADING SEQUENCE............................................................... DESIGN OF CONTINUOUS FLOW INSTALLATIONS....................................................... Types of Design Problems ....................................................................................................... Example Graphical Design ...................................................................................................... Safety Factors in Gas Lift Design .......................................................................................... Downhole Temperature for Design Purposes ....................................................................... Actual Conditions Different From Design Conditions....................................................... DESIGNING GAS LIFT FOR OFFSHORE INSTALLATIONS ........................................... ADVANTAGES OF CONTINUOUS FLOW OVER INTERMITTENT FLOW GAS LIFT .................................................................................................................. DUAL GAS LIFT INSTALLATIONS........................................................................................ CHAPTER 7 -ANALYSIS AND REGULATION OF CONTINUOUS FLOW GAS LIFT INTRODUCTION .......................................................................................................................... Recommended Practices Prior to Unloading........................................................................ Recommended Gas Lift Installation Unloading Procedure ................................................ Analyzing the Operation of a Continuous Flow Well ........................................................ METHODS OF OBTAINING SURFACE DATA FOR CONTINUOUS FLOW GAS LIFT WELLS ................................................................................................................ Recording Surface Pressure in the Tubing and Casing ...................................................... Measurement of Gas Volumes ................................................................................................ Surface and Estimated Subsurface Temperature Readings................................................ Visual Observation of the Surface Installation.................................................................... Testing Well for Oil and Gas Production ............................................................................. METHODS OF OBTAINING SUBSURFACE DATA FOR CONTINUOUS FLOW GAS LIFT ANALYSIS ........................................................................................... Subsurface Pressure Surveys................................................................................................... Subsurface Temperature Surveys in Casing Flow Wells ................................................... Precautions when Running Flowing Pressure and Temperature Surveys ....................... Computer Calculated Pressure Surveys ................................................................................. Temperature Surveys in Tubing Flow Wells ........................................................................ Flowing Pressure and Temperature Survey .......................................................................... Fluid Level Determination by Acoustical Methods ............................................................ VARIOUS WELLHEAD INSTALLATIONS FOR GAS INJECTION CONTROL .............................................................................................................................. WELL INJECTION GAS PRESSURE FOR CONTINUOUS FLOW SYSTEMS ................................................................................................................. GETTING THE MOST OIL WITH THE AVAILABLE LIFT GAS ..................................... Manual Controls ........................................................................................................................ Semi-Automatic Controls......................................................................................................... Optimizing Gas Lift Systems .................................................................................................. Automatic Optimization of Injection Gas Use..................................................................... APPENDIX 7A - EXAMPLES OF PRESSURE RECORDER CHARTS FROM CONTINUOUS FLOW WELLS ............................................................... 69 70 72 72 72 77 79 81 82 83 83

84 84 84 85 85 85 85 86 86 87 87 87 88 88 88 88 90 91
91

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CHAPTER 8 . INTERMITTENT FLOW GAS LIFT INTRODUCTION ........................................................................................................................ 102 OPERATING SEQUENCE......................................................................................................... 102 TYPES OF INSTALLATIONS.................................................................................................. 103

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TABLE OF CONTENTS (Continued)
FACTORS AFFECTING PRODUCING RATE ............................................................... Maximum Rate .................................................................................................................. Fallback .............................................................................................................................. Use of Plungers i n Intermittent Lift Systems.............................................................. DESIGN OF INTERMITTENT LIST INSTALLATIONS ............................................ Fallback Method ............................................................................................................... Percent Load Method ....................................................................................................... Variations of Percent Load Method .............................................................................. Production Pressure Operated Gas Lift Valves .......................................................... CHAMBERS .......................................................................................................................... Design of a Gas Lift Chamber Installation .................................................................. 103 103 104 105 105 105 108 109 109 109 110

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CHAPTER 9 - PROCEDURES FOR ADJUSTING, REGULATING AND ANALYZING INTERMITTENT FLOW GAS LIFT INSTALLATIONS INTRODUCTION ................................................................................................................. CONTROL OF THE INJECTION GAS ............................................................................ The Time Cycle Controller ............................................................................................. Location of Time Cycle Controller ............................................................................... Choke Control of the Injection Gas .............................................................................. UNLOADING AN INTERMITTENT INSTALLATION............................................... Recommended Practices Prior to Unloading............................................................... Initial U-Tubing ................................................................................................................ Unloading Operations Using A Time Cycle Operated Controller ........................... Unloading with Choke Control of the Injection Gas ................................................. ADJUSTMENT OF TIME CYCLE OPERATED CONTROLLER .............................. Procedure or Determining Cycle Frequency ............................................................... SELECTION OF CHOKE SIZE FOR CHOKE CONTROLOF INJECTION GAS ......................................................................................................... VARIATION IN TIME CYCLE AND CHOKE CONTROL OF INJECTION GAS ......................................................................................................... Application of Time Opening and Set Pressure Closing Controller ....................... Application of Time Cycle Operated Controller with Choke the in Injection Gas Line ........................................................................................................ Application of A Combination Pressure Reducing Regulator and ............................................................................................................... Choke Control IMPORTANCE OF WELLHEAD TUBING BACK PRESSURE TO REGULATION OF INJECTION GAS...................................................................... Wellhead Configuration .................................................................................................. Separator Pressure ............................................................................................................ Surface Choke in Flowline ............................................................................................. Flowline Size and Condition.......................................................................................... SUGGESTED REMEDIAL PROCEDURES ASSOCIATED WITH REGULATION OF INJECTION GAS ...................................................................... Installation Will Not Unload .......................................................................................... Valve Will Not Close....................................................................................................... Emulsions ........................................................................................................................... Corrosion ........................................................................................................................... TROUBLE-SHOOTING ...................................................................................................... APPENDIX 9A . EXAMPLES OF INTERMITTENT GAS LIFT MALFUNCTIONS ...........................................................................

112 112 112 113 113 113

113 114 114 114 115 115
115 116 116 116

116
117 117 117 117 117 117 117 117 118 118 118 120

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GLOSSARY .......................................................................................................................... 132 SYMBOLS
............................................................................................................................

135 138

REFERENCES .....................................................................................................................

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CHAPTER 10 . USE OF PLUNGERS IN GAS LIFT SYSTEM THE INTRODUCTION ................................................................................................................. APPLICATIONS ................................................................................................................... TYPES OF PLUNGER LIFT .............................................................................................. SELECTING THE PROPER EQUIPMENT ..................................................................... Retrievable Tubing (or Collar) Stop ............................................................................. Standing Valve .................................................................................................................. Bumper Spring .................................................................................................................. Plungers .............................................................................................................................. Well Tubing ....................................................................................................................... Master Valve ..................................................................................................................... Second Flow Outlet .......................................................................................................... Lubricator .......................................................................................................................... PROPER INSTALLATION PROCEDURES ................................................................... SUMMARY ...........................................................................................................................

124 124 124 125 125 125 126 126 130 131 131 131 131 131

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CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION TO ARTIFICIAL LIFT AND GAS LIFT
BASIC PRINCIPLES OF OIL PRODUCTION
When oil is first found in the reservoir, it is under pressure from the natural forces that surround and trap it. If a hole (well) is drilled into the reservoir, an opening is provided at a much lower pressure through which the reservoir fluids can escape. The driving force which causes these fluids to move out of the reservoir and into the wellbore comes from the compression the fluids that are stored of in the reservoir. The actual energy that causes a well to produce oil results from a reduction in pressure between the reservoir and the producing facilities on the surface. Fig. 1-1 illustrates this production processas it occurs in an oil well. If the pressuresin the reservoir and the wellbore are allowed to either equalize, because of a decrease in reservoir pressure or an increase in wellbore and surface pressure, no flow from the reservoir will take place and there will be no production from the well.
*ELLHEAD

10 PROCESSING AND TREATING

STILL LOWER PRESSURE

/
LOWEST

PRESSURE

PRESSUHF

PRESSURE

Factors That Affect Oil Production

Fig. 1-1 - The production process in an oil well

ARTIFICIAL LIFT
In many wells the natural energy associated with oil will not produce a sufficient pressure differential between the reservoir and the wellbore to cause the to flow into the well production facilities at the surface. In other wells, natural energy will not drive oil to the surface sufficient volume. in The reservoir’s natural energy must then be supplemented by some form of artificial lift.

Choosing an Artificial Lift System
The choice ofan artificial lift system in a given well depends upon a number of factors. Primary among them, as far as gas lift is concerned, is the availability gas. If gas of is readily available, eitheras dissolved gas in the produced oil, or from an outside source, then gas lift is often an ideal selection for artificial lift. Experience has shown that produced gas will support a gas lift systemif the daily gas rate from the reservoir is at least 10% of the total circulated gas rate. No other system of artificial lift uses the natural energy stored in the reservoir as completely as gas lift. If an installation is adequately designed, wellscan be gas lifted overa wide range of producing conditions by regulating the injection gas volume at the surface.

Types of Artificial Lift Systems
There are four basic ways of producing an oil well by artificial lift. These are L@, Sucker Rod Pumping, SubGas mersible Electric Pumping and Subsurface Hydraulic Pumping. The surface and subsurface equipment required for each system is shown in Fig. 1-2.

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Gas

THE PROCESS OF GAS LIFT
Gas lift is the form of artificial lift that most closely resembles the natural flow process. It can be considered an extension of the natural flow process. a natural flow well, In as the fluid travels upward toward the surface, the fluid column pressure is reduced, gas comes out of solution, and the free gas expands. The free gas, being lighter than the oil it displaces, reduces the density of flowing fluid the and further reduces the weight of the fluid column above the formation. This reduction in the fluid column weight produces the pressure differential between the wellbore and the reservoir that causes the well to flow. This is shown in Fig. 1-3(A). When a well produces water along with the oil and the amount of free gas in the column is thereby reduced, the same pressure differential between wellbore and reservoir can be maintained by supplementing the formation gas with injection gas as shown in Fig. I-3(B).

Types of Gas Lift
There are two basic types of gas lift systems used in the oil industry. These are called continuous flow and intermittent flow.

Continuous Flow Gas Lift
In the continuous flow gas lift process, relatively high pressure gas is injected downhole into the fluid column. This injected gas joins the formation gas to lift the fluid to the surface by one or more of the following processes:
1. Reduction of the fluid density and the column weight so that the pressure differential between reservoir and wellbore will be increased (Fig. 1-4A).

.
I

-

\
“CONTROL EQUIPMENT -GAS LIFT VALVE
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PACKER STANDING VALVE IOPTIONALI

HYDRAULIC

PUMP

PUNP

GAS LIFT
(COURTESY DRESSER-GUIEERSONJ

Fig. 1-2 - Artificial lift systems

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Lift Gas and Lift Introduction Artificial to

3
Intermittent Flow

2. Expansion of the injection gas so that pushes liquid it ahead of it which further reduces the column weight, therebyincreasingthedifferentialbetweenthereservoirwellbore and the (Fig. 1-4B).

Gas Lift

If a well has a lowreservoirpressureoraverylow producingit rate, can be produced by a form gas of lift called intermittent flow. As its name implies, this system 3 . Displacement of liquid slugs by large bubbles of gas produces intermittently or irregularly and is designed to acting as pistons (Fig. 1-4C). produce at the rate at which fluid enters the wellbore A typical small continuous flow gas lift system is shown from the formation.In the intermittent flow system, fluid is allowed to accumulate and build up i n the tubing at the in Fig. 1-5.

' \d r 4
I
(A)

'

OIL & GAS FROM FORMATION

OIL & GAS

'
I

FROM FORMATION

F LUI D COLUMN WEIGHT REDUCED BY FORMATION GAS IN A NATURAL FLOW WELL

FLUID COLUMN WEIGHT REDUCED BY FORMATION AND INJECTEDGAS: A GAS LIFT WELL
(B)

Fig. 1-3 - Reduction in fluid column weight by formation and injected gas

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Gas the rifle slug. The frequency of gas injection in intermittent lift is determinedby the amount of time required for a liquid slug to enter the tubing. The length of the gas injection period will depend upon the time required to push one slug of liquid to the surface.

bottom of the well. Periodically, a large bubble ofhigh pressure gas is injected into the tubing very quickly underneath the column of liquid and the liquid column is pushed rapidly up the tubing to the surface. This action is similar to firing a bullet from a rifle by the expansion of gas behind

ADVANTAGES AND LIMITATIONS OF GAS LIFT
Choice of Gas Lift System
Because of its cyclic nature, intermittent flow gas lift is suited only to wells that produce at relatively low rates. Continuous flow gas lift will usually be more efficient and less expensive for wells that produce at higher rates where continuous flow can be maintained without excessiveof use injection gas. Gas lift is suitable for almost every type ofwell that requires artificial lift. It can be used to artificially lift oil wells to depletion, regardless of the ultimate producing rate; to kick off wells that will flow naturally; to back flow water injection wells; and to unload water from gas wells. The advantages

of gas be liftsummarized can

as follows:
usu-

1. Initial cost of downhole gas lift equipment is ally low.

2. Flexibility cannot be equaled by any other form of lift. Installations can be designed for lifting initially from near the surface and for lifting from near total depth at depletion. Gas lift installations can be designed to lift from one to many thousands of barrels per day.
3. The producing rate can be controlled at the surface.
4. Sand in the produced fluid does not affect gas lift equipment in most installations.

- LIQUID

Reduction of Fluid Density

GAS

(C)
Displacement of Liquid Slugs by Gas Bubbles
--`````,`,,``,,,````,`,```,,,-`-`,,`,,`,`,,`---

Expansion of Gas

Fig. 1-4 - Three effects of gas in a gas lift well

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Introduction to Artificial Lift and Gas Lift

5 . Gas lift is not adversely affected by deviation of the wellbore.
6. The relatively few moving parts in a gas lift system give it a long service life when compared to other forms of artificial lift.
7. Operating costs are usually relatively low for gas lift systems.

On the other hand, gas lift also has certain limitations which can be summarized as follows:
l . Gas must be available. In some instances air, exhaust gases, and nitrogen have been used but these are generally more expensive and more difficult work with to than locally produced natural gas,.

8. Gas lift is ideally suited to supplement formation gas
for the purpose artificially lifting wells of where moderate amounts of gas are presentn the produced fluid. i

9. The major item of equipment (the gas compressor) in a gas lift system is installed on the surface where it can be easily inspected, repaired maintained. This and equipment can be driven by either gas or electricity.
SURPLUS GAS T O SALES

2. Wide well spacing may limit the use of a centrally located source of high pressure gas. This limitation has been circumvented on some wells through theuse of gas-cap gasas a lifting sourceand the return of the gas to the cap through injection wells.
3. Corrosive gas lift gas can increase the cost of gas lift operations if i t is necessary to treat or dry the gas before use.

GLYCOL DEHYDRATOR

STATION
--`````,`,,``,,,````,`,```,,,-`-`,,`,,`,`,,`---

GAS/OI L SEPARATOR

MANIFOLD

INJECTION GAS M A N I F O L D (METERING & CONTROL)

ØI

Fig. 1-5 - A typical gas lift system

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5. In very low pressured reservoirs, continuous flow gas 4. Installation of a gas lift system including compreslift cannot achieve as great a pressure drawdown as sors usually requires a longer lead time and greater can some pumping systems. However, when low flowpreparation than does single well pumping systems. ing bottomhole pressure is desired, the use of interIn addition, the initial surface installation for gas lift mittent lift and chamberlift forms of gaslift can usuwill sometimes be more expensive than equivalent ally achieve pressure draw downs comparable to pumping installations. However, the reduced operatpumping systems. ing cost of the gas lift system will usually far out weigh any additional cost of the initial installation. Also, if the associated gas will be gathered and compressed, 6. Conversion of old wells to gas lift can require a higher as is usually the case, provisions for circulating some level of casing integrity than would be required for of the compressed gas for gas lift will not, in most pumping systems. cases, significantly increase the initial cost.

HISTORICAL REVIEW OF GAS LIFT DEVELOPMENT
Early Experiments
3. 1900-1920: Gulf Coast Areafor hire” “air boom. Such famous fields as Spindle Top were produced by air lift.
of straight gas lift with wide in Oklahoma (See

Carl Emanual Loscher (German mining engineer) applied compressed air as a means of lifting liquid in laboratory experiments in 1797. The first practical application of 4. 1920-1929: Application air was lift in 1846 when an American named Cockford publicity the from Seminole Field Pennsylvania. in from wellslifted some 1-7). Fig. oil The firstU.S. patent for gas lift called “oil ejector”was an issued to A. Brear in 1865 (Fig. 1-6).
FLOW LINE

- .l br

SUBMERGENCE

W
Fig. 1-6 - Brear Oil Ejector (May 23, 1865) Fig. 1-7 - Early gas lift nomenclature
5. 1929-1945: This era included the patenting of about 25,000 different flow valves. More efficient rates of production as well as proration caused the development of the flow valve. 6. 1945 to present: Since the end of World War II, the pressure-operated valve has practically replaced all other types of gas lift valves. Also in this era, many additional companies have been formed with mostof them marketing some version of a pressure-operated valve. 7.1957:Introduction valves. of wirelineretrievablegaslift

Chronological Development
The following chronological development gas liftwas of given by Brown, Canalizo and Robertson in a paper published in 1961. (Manyof the sketches shownin this chapter are taken from this paper.)

1. Priorto1864:Somelaboratoryexperimentsperformed with possibly one or two practical applications.

2. 1864-1900:Thiseraconsistedoflifting

by compressed air injected through the annulus or tubing. Several flooded mine shafts were unloaded. Numerous patents were issued for foot-pieces, etc.

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Lift Introduction Artificial to

TechnicalDevelopment o Gas Lift f Equipment
The technical development of gas lift equipment can be grouped into stages which are described as follows:

3 . Kick-off valves (Fig.

1. Straight gas injection which employed no valves and consisted primarily of U-tubing the gas around the bottom of the tubing. Several types of early gas and air lift hookups are shown in Fig. 1-8.

1-10 and Fig. 1-11) were next employed to providea means for closing off gas after a lower valve was uncovered. The earlykick-off valves were designed to operate ona 10-20 psi pressure differential until the development of the spring-loaded differential valve which operated at about100 psi differential. The kick-off valve was a crude forerunner of the modern gas lift flow valve.

GAS
"

TUBING

2 Jet collars (Fig. 1-9) were placed up the string to allow gas to enter higher and thereby reduce the exup cessive kick-off pressures required for kicking around the bottom.

--`````,`,,``,,,````,`,```,,,-`-`,,`,,`,`,,`---

AS

Fig. 1-8 - Early gas (air) lift without valves

Fig. 1-10 - Taylor kick-off valve

I FLOW LINE
%:\ O :I: N TURN TUBING TO CLOSE

a+-

,-TU

BI NG

TUBING

-=-":="" -"

I

" "

FLAPPER TYPE SPRING
Fig. 1-9 - Jet collar

\

Fig. 1-11 - Kick-off valves

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DEVELOPMENT OF THE MODERN GASLIFT VALVE
Differential Valves Until 1940, the closest thing tothepresentday gas lift flow valve was the differential valve (Fig. 1-12) which was operated by the difference in pressure between the injection gas in the casing and the fluid in the tubing. The differential valve opened when there was an increase in
fluid pressure relative to injection gas pressure and closed when the gas pressure increased relative to the fluid. This principle of operation meant that the differential valves had to be spaced close together in order to assure proper operation of the installation. Little or no surface control was possible in a differential valve installation.

SEC. A-A

?--

il-"

v
(A) Mechanically controlled valves

CASING

(B) Bryan differential valve

FLOW LINE

TUBING
DISK TYPE VELOCITY

4

+ GAS

IN

FLOW LINE

(C) Velocity controlled valves

(D) Spring loaded differential valves

Fig. 1-12 - Early types offzow valves
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9 Lift Gas and Lift Introduction Artificial to

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One type of differential valve, which was very popular around 1940, is shown in Fig. 1-1 3. This valve was originally called the Specific Gravity Differential Vulve. The specific gravity differential valve employed the difference in specific gravity between a 16 foot column of kerosene and a 16 foot columnof well fluid for operating pressure. It was very successful in continuous flowwells and may still be operatingsuccessfullyinsomewells.However,the valve’s length and excessive diameter limited its transportability and application.
Gas Charged Pressure Chamber

Bellows

4
Fig. 1-14 - King valve (First pressured bellows valve)
OPERATING VALVE VALVES ABOVE OPERATING VALVE

Fig. 1-13 - Specific gravity type differential valve

Bellows Charged Valves

In 1940, W. R. King introduced his bellows charged gas lift valve. A drawing taken from King’s patent issued on King had good insight into valve construction when he January 18, 1944 is shown in Fig. King’s valve, which 1- 14. designed his valve. He recognized the need for complete is very similar to most present day unbalanced, singlebellows protection, including an anti chatter mechanism. element, bellows charged gas lift valves, allowed for the first The bellows in the King valve is protected from excessive time the gas lifting of low pressure wellswith a controlled well pressure by sealing the bellows chamber from the well change in the surface injection gas pressure. Since King’s fluids after full stem travel. Chatter is prevented by the valve was opened by an increase in injection gas pressure

and closed by a decrease in pressure, the valve could be operated from the surface by changes in the injection gas pressure. This meant that it was no longer necessary to operate a valve from the surfaceby rotating or moving the t u b i n go rw i r e l i n ec o n n e c t e dt ot h es u r f a c e .T h e principal of operation of the bellows valve was also far superior to the differential valve for most applications in that the bellows valve was closed by a decrease in gas pressure, whereas the differential type valve opened with a decrease in gas pressure. This meant that fewer of the bellows type gas pressure operated valves were required for each installation, since the valve relied on the relatively high injection gas pressure for operation, thereby allowing the spacing between valves to be much greater than the differential pressure operated valves.

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Stem 8 Seat

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Lift

small orifice. The baffle design also supports the bellows. Similar construction is used by several manufacturers in their present gas lift valves. The success of the King valve is evidenced by the fact that the basic principles used in the design were quickly adopted by almost all valve manufacturers and are still used with little modification in today’s gas lift valves. Fig. 1-15 is an illustration of a typical modern bellows charged gas lift valve. Note the similarity between this valve and the Kingvalveshown in Fig. 1-14. Gas lift valves and mandrels are discussed in detail i n Chapter 5 of this manual.

POSITIVE STOP FOR STEM

BELLOWS SECTION

GAS INLETS
STEM 8 SEAT INSERT

REVERSE CHECK

Fig. 1-15 - Typical modern bellowscharged gas lift valve

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Well Performance

11

CHA 'TER 2 WELL PEF IFORMANCE
INTRODUCTION
tivity and fluid composition. well's outflow performance A Well performance is controlled by a large number of is a direct function of the size and type producing equipof factors that are often interrelated. Most students of fluid ment. Both inflow and outflow performance can be preflow now divide well performance into two basic categories dicted quite accurately, and wells can be designed based on which they call Inflow and Outflow performance. As illusthese predictions. In any given well, outflow performance trated in Fig. 1, all flow in the reservoir up to the wellbore 2and inflow performance must be equal. That is, we can is designated as inflow performance and all flow up the produce no more fluid from the reservoir than we can to lift tubing and into the production facilities is designated outthe surface and vice versa. Because of this fact, it is flow performance. extremely important that a well's inflow performance be A well's inflow performance is controlled by the characteristics of the reservoir such as reservoir pressure, produc- carefully considered when sizing production equipment.

'"1
U
4

NFLOW PERFORMANCE
"

" "

I

' I I
I
I

"

Fig. 2-1 - Inflow and Outflow Performance in a flowing well

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Gas Lift

INFLOW PERFORMANCE PREDICTION
A well's inflow performance is usually expressed in terms of productivity which simply indicates the number of barrels of oil or liquid that a well is capable of producing at a given reservoir pressure. One way of expressing well productivity iswith the Productivity Index (P.I.=J) technique. This involves measuring a well's producing rate, and flowing bottomhole pressure at that rate, then using this information to calculate a P.1 for the well.

Inflow Performance Relationship (IPR) Technique The P.I. method assumes that all future production rate changes will be i n the same proportion to the pressure drawdown as was the test case. This may not always be true, especially in a solution-gas drive reservoir producing below the bubble point pressure. The bubble point pressure is the condition of temperature and pressure where free gas first comes out of solution in the oil. When the pressure in the formation drops below the bubble point pressure, gas is released in the reservoir and the resulting two-phase flow of gas and oil around the wellbore can cause a reduction in the well's productivity. J. V. Vogel developed an empirical technique for predicting well productivity's such under reduced conditions and he called his method of analysis Inflow Performance Relationship (IPR) after the terminology used in an earlier paper written by W. E. Gilbert.' Vogel2 calculated IPR curves for wells producing from several fictitious solution gas drive reservoirs. From these curves he was able to develop a reference IPR curve which not only could be used for most solution gas drive reservoirs in arriving at oil well productivity, but would give muchcould accurate projections more than be obtained using the P.I. method. His work was based entirely upon results obtained from wells producing in solution gas drive reservoirs. However, good experience has been obtained using the Vogel IPR in all two-phase flow conditions.

Productivity Index

(P.I.=J) Technique

One definition of Productivity Index and the one that is used in artificial lift, defines P.I. as the number of barrels of liquid produced per day (BLPD) for each pound per square inch (psi) of reservoir pressure drawdown. Drawdown is defined as the difference in the stabilized static bottomhole pressure (SSBHP) and the flowing bottomhole pressure (FBHP). This can be written as an equation using current engineering symbols as follows: J where: J = 91 Equation 2.1 pws P,, Productivity index, BLPD/psi Liquid Production Rate, BLPD Static bottomhole pressure, psig Flowing bottomhole pressure, psig

= ql = P,, =

Pwf =

The calculation of a well's P.I. is given in the following example.

Vogel IPR Curve The Vogel IPR dimensionless curve (see Fig. 2-2) is based onthe following equation: 90 (qohax
= 1.0 - 0.2 -

Given: A wellthat produces 100 BLPD andhasan SSBHP of 1000 psig and a FBHP of 900 psig.
Find: ofP.I. the well

(2)-

0.8

(+)

Equation 2.2

Solution:
J =
Pws

ql

- Pf w

-

J = 1 BLPD/psi

100 BLPD 1000 psig - 900 psig Equation 2.1

The P.I. technique allows us to determine the well production if the pressure is drawn down further. Using the same example, if we draw the FBHP down to 500 psig from the Of 'Ooo Psig the produce at the lowing rate:
J =
q1

Note that the initial bubble point pressure (PB) has been substituted for the static bottomhole (Pws) pressure in the above equation to emphasize that the Vogel IPR curve only applies when Pwf= PS The change i n production with a change in the flowing bottomhole pressure above the initial bubble point reservoir pressure is defined by the productivity index equation, which is a straight ]ine IPR curve. The second requirement to assure validity of the Vogel IPR relationship is that the flow efficiency (FE) must be equal to unity (FE = 1.O) where flow efficiency is defined as the ratio of the actual to the ideal productivity index. Ideal implies no skin effect; that is, the absolute permeability and porosity of the formation remain in the same and unaltered from the drainage radius to the wellbore radius.

Equation 2.

P,, - Pf , or rearranging the equation:
91 = (J) X (Pws - Pwf) = 1 X 500 of Rate (ql) = 500 BLPD at FBHP (Pw,) 500 psig

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Well Performance

2. Daily production rate = q o = 65 BOPD 3. Flowing bottomhole pressure, Pwf= 1500 psig

Find:

l . Maximum production rate for 100 percent drawdown (Pwf= O psig)

2. Daily production rate for a flowing bottomhole pressure equal to 500 psig (See Figures 2-4 and 2-5 for a graphical presentation of the Solution.)

Solution: 1. The maximum production rate, (90) max, is calculated using the given test q o and corresponding P,r.
Pressure Ratio
=
-

Pr w

- 1500 - - = 0.75
2000
= 0.40

P,,

From the Vogel IPR curve: Rate Ratio, q o
~

PRODUCING RATE AS A FRACTION OF MAXIHUH PRODUCING RATE MX. WITH 100% DRAWDOWN, q,/(q,)

(90) max

Fig. 2-2

- Vogel’s curve for inflow performance relationship (from Vogel’s papel; SPE 1476)

Since this discussion is an introduction to the application of the widely-used Vogel IPR curve and not a detailed presentation on the concepts of well damage and inflow performance, the example calculations will be based on the assumptions that P,, = PB and FE 1.0. Also, the IPR curve will not berestricted to all oil production if free gas is present with liquid the phasethe at flowing bottomhole pressures in the wellbore. If a well produces free gas, and a significant flowing bottomhole drawdown below the initial bubble point pressure is required for the desired daily production rate, more accurate production predictions can be expected using the Vogel IPR curve than using a straight line productivity index relationship for water-cut wells. The incremental increase in production for the same incremental increaseinflowingbottomholepressuredrawdown becomes less at the lower flowing bottomhole pressure. Gage pressures will be used in these calculations. A worksheet for performing IPR calculations is given in Fig. 2-3.
--`````,`,,``,,,````,`,```,,,-`-`,,`,,`,`,,`---

The maximum daily production rate represents the maximum deliverability of the well if the bottomhole pressure could be decreased to atmospheric pressure (O psig) by turning the well upside down and producing through a frictionless conduit. 2. Pressure Ratio = pwf =

P,,

500 = 0.25 2000
- = 0.90

From theVogel IPR curve: Rate Ratio, q o (90)
q o = 162.5 (0.90) = 146 BOPD

max

When the valve for (90) max is determined, the value of q. for all values of Pwrcan be calculated. Also, the value of P,f can be calculated for any value of q. less than (qo)max. As an example, flowing the bottomhole pressure for a production rate of 114 BOPD for the above well can be calculated as follows: Rate Ratio =
90

- - = 0.70
= 0.50

(90) max

114 162.5

Vogel’s Example Problem
The following data for illustrating IPR calculations were used in Vogel’s paper: Given: I . Averagereservoirpressure, P,, = 2000psig ( p w s = PB) From the Vogel IPR curve: Pressure Ratio, P,,

Pwr= 0.5 (2000) = 1000 psig

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WORK SHEET FOR NONDIMENSIONAL INFLOW PERFORMANCE CURVE WELL NO. FROM BHP SURVEY
1 .o0

GIVEN:

( 1)

P ,

=

PSkI

...i:
0.80
!.

j

(3) TEST RATE =
...

~

BFPD

I::, ...
I :.

..]...

x

= (5) =

from this curve

0.60

II

>
0.40

"
:. I :
!
I , .:i..
' I

0.20
'!::

1
I

O O

j . ,
0.20 0.40

0.60

0.80

1 .o0

I

Plot BHP(7) versus BFPD(8) for IPR Curve between BHP = O & BHP =

P & BFPD , ,

= O & BFPD

I

Max. Rate (6)

Fig. 2-3 - Worksheetfor performingI P R calculations

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Well Performance

IPR
2,000

a r m

2 O

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FRACTION OF MAXIMUM PRODUCING RATE

FRACTION OF MAXIMUM PRODUCING RATE

FRACTION O F MAXIMUM PRODUCING RATE

FRACTION O F M A X I M U M PRODUCING R A T E

Fig. 2-4 - Example problemsolution

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FRACTION O F MAXIMUM RODUCING ATE RACTION P R F SINCE TEST RATE AT 1500 PSlG WAS 65 BOPD

OF M A X I M U M R O D U C I N G A T E P R

X = 162 BOPD = (qo) MAX

(G)
IPR

FRACTION

OF M A X I M U M P R O D U C I N G R A T E

@

0.9 = 0.4 A 6 5 BOPD

___-

@

A = 146 BOPD = q o

-

162 BOPD x 0.9 146 BOPD = q O

Fig. 2-5 - Continuation of example problem

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Well Performance 17

WELL OUTFLOW PERFORMANCEPREDICTION
Well outflow performance depends upon many complex factors which are often as difficult to simulate as those for inflow performance. Such varied parameters as fluid characteristics, well configuration, conduit size, wellhead back pressure, fluid velocity, and pipe roughness all contribute significantly to outflow performance. Efforts to predict well outflow performance have been going on for many years and these efforts have culminated in much research and development work being done in the area of multiphase flow correlations. The flow correlations that have developed from this work attempt to predict the pressure at depth in a flowing vertical column of multiphase fluid (oil-gas, oil-water-gas,water-gas) or taking into account all of the fluid characteristics along with the conduit configuration and other factors affecting the flow. Since the producing characteristics of continuous flow gas lift wells are essentially the same as those for a naturally flowing well, the flow correlations that have been developed work equally well in either system. The development and useof multiphase flow correlations for outflow performance predictions are discussed in Chapter 3 . The well under consideration is a high productivity well. To begin the analysis it is assumed that for this well, and the given reservoir conditions, maximum flow rates can probably best be obtained under annular flow conditions. This may not be true, and the maximum rates for 2’/8 inch tubing will be checked later. The first step is toobtain or calculate a suite of vertical two-phase flowing pressure gradient curves for the conduitsizes to beexaminedbasedonproducing conditions to be expected. Computer programs available from several sources make the calculation and plottingofsuchcurvesbothfastandinexpensive. Generalized curves, available in many textbooks, can be used if they closely match the actual producing conditions. The gradient curves used in this example are not typical, generalized well gradient curves, but were calculated for these specific conditions. The suite of gradient curves should cover all ranges of flow rates that are possible for the particular conduit being considered. Six to ten rates should be sufficient, but the actual number will depend on the width of the producing range being considered. The rates should be fairly equally divided over the entire range to give somewhat equal distribution of points along the entire length of the curve. A page of gradient curves calculated for this particular wellandrepresentingthe 3000 BOPDrateis shown in Fig. 2-6A. In this case a line has been drawn representing the producing formation depth at 5800 ft. The intersection of the depth line with the Rgl line for naturalflowconditions (800 R,, for100%oil) has been noted with an arrow. The pressure at this point has been read as 930 psig. Fig. 2-6B shows the gradient curves for the 4000 B/D fluid rate at 100% oil; and a similar reading, in this case 940 psig, has been noted on it. Gradient curve readings are con-tinued in fashion points thisuntil sufficient are obtained to represent a full range of producing rates. The pressure readings are now tabulated in the manner shown in Table 2-1. Note that the pressures shown in Table 2-1 are for both 100% oil and various water cuts. A separate suite of gradient curves is required for each water cut. The points shown in Table 2-1 are now plotted on Cartesian Coordinate paper with flowing pressure at the formation depth being scaled along the vertical (Y) axis and the producing rate plotted along the horizontal (X) axis. Fig. 2-7 is a plot of these values and the resulting curves represent the minimum flowing pressure at the formation depth that will be required to overcome gravity, friction, surface pressure and other effects, and produce at the rates indicated.
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~

Example Problem
All of the correlations for predicting multiphase flow require extensive calculations and from a practical standpoint can only be done with a computer. Fortunately these computer calculations have been plotted into generalized pressure gradient curves that are immediately available to the operator and engineer. An example of one such gradient curve is shown in Fig. 2-6A. Using a suite of these gradient curves calculated for several different well rates, the flowing bottomhole pressure Pwfcan be read at a given depth for a specific rate and gas to liquid ratio (Rg]).Separate curves must be used each well rate, water cut and Rgl.Fortunately, for many of the variables in two phase flow cause only a small change and can be generalized. The following example demonstrates the use of these curves to predict outflow performance and well performance. Well data for the example problem follows: Casing Tubing Static BHP (Today) Flowing Wellhead Back Pressure Injection Gas Pressure Water Cuts (Assumed) Pressure Gradient Curves Tubing Setting Depth Formation Gas Oil Ratio Productivity Index Formation Depth
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7-inch O.D. (outside diameter) 2’/~inch O.D. 1970 psig @ 5800 ft. 230 psig 1500 psig @ Surf. 0-25-50-75% EPR Correlation (Orkiszewski) Near 5800 ft. 800 CFA3 5.0 BFPD/psi Drawdown (Straight Line) 5800 ft.

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18

Lift

Gas

Rate, BPD 2,000 2,500 3,000 3,500 4,000 4,500 5,000 6,000
8,000 10,000

12,500

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I

1
4

I

1

I

TYPICAL GRADIENT CURVES FOR 3000 B/D RATE (COURTESY EXXON PRODUCTION RESEARCH CO.)

TYPICAL GRADIENT CURVES FOR 4000 BID RATE (COURTESY EXXON PRODUCTION RESEARCH CO.)

Fig. 2-6 - Gradient curves TABLE 2-1 TABULATION OF POINTS FROM GRADIENT CURVE FOR NATURAL FLOW 7" x 27/8" Annulus - Natural Flow - Rglas Indicated FBHP @ 5800 ft, psig 100% Oil (R,I = 800) 990 940 930 935 940 960 970 1O00 1080 1180 1320 2240 25% Wtr (Rgl = 600) 1260 1180 1130 1110 1120 1120 1135 1160 1240 1320 1440

50% Wtr
(Rgl = 400) 1655 1535 1465 1420 1390 1375 1370 1370 1440 1500 1600

75% Wtr (R,[ = 200) 2190 2140 2100 2060 2020 2000 1960 1980 2000 2080

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4. On the same sheet of graph paper, plot the well productivity line based on either the straight line productivity index or the IPR technique by beginning at a point representing the static bottomhole pressure (SBHP) on the vertical axis. This example uses the straight line P.I. method. An example using the IPR curves is given in Fig. 2-13. In this case, the point is 1970 psig at 5800 ft. Continue the plot of the productivity line by reducing the flowing bottomhole pressure by the amount of drawdown calculated for various rates. For example, at a rate of 5000 B/D and with a P.I. of 5.0 BFPD psi, the drawdown from the static pressure of 1970 psig is 1000 psig. Therefore, the point to be plotted for the extension of the productivity line is 1970 psig less 1000 psig or 970 psig and is plotted opposite the 5000 BFPD rate.
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7” x 2 - 7 / 8 ” ANNULUS

200( ,SBHP PSIG 1970

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5. The points of intersection of the drawdown line with
the flowing pressure curves represent the maximum producing rate by natural flow which is possible under the given reservoir and well conditions if flow is up the 2l/8” x 7“ annulus. In this example, shown in Fig. 2-7, the maximum rate indicated is 5000 B/D at zero water cut and 4250 B/D at a 25% water cut. Note that the drawdown line does not intersect the 50% and 75% waters curves. This indicates that the natural flow is impossible regardless of rate where the water cut is 50% or more. Natural Flow then would cease on this well when it reaches a water cut somewhere between 25% and 50%.
1001

50(

5.0 BFPD/PSI I I 2000 4000 6000 8000 10,000 12,00014,
\-Pl
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=

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l

I

PRODUCING RATE (BFPDI

Fig. 2-7 - Flowing BHP V S . Producing rate for natural flow conditions, various water cuts

PREDICTING THE EFFECTOF GAS LIFT
The effectof injecting additional gas into a fluidcolumn from an outside source for gas lift purposes can be determined in the following manner. plotted for the maximum gas injection rate alongside the curve plotted for natural flow (800 Rgl) for the 100% oil case. A dotted line is also shown on Fig. 2-8 to indicate the 1200 Rgl curve which represents a plot of the flowing pressure for a case where injected gas is limited to 400 cubic feet per barrel (CF/B)(1200 - 800). 3. The maximum producing rates which are possible under various conditions are indicated the intersecby tion of the productivity line with the flowing pressure versus rate curves. In this case the maximum rate for unlimited gas lift is 5600 B/D, and for limited gas lift (400 CF/B injected gas) is 5450 B/D. These compare to a maximum natural flow rate under the same conditions of 5000 B/D. A comparison of maximum producing rates possible under both gas lift and natural flow conditions is shown in Table 2-3.

1. Using the same gradient curves and the same method as for natural flow, determine the flowing pressure at the formation depth for the total gas liquid ratio (formation gas + injected gas). If there is no limit on the amount of gas that can be injected, the Rgl which produces the minimum gradient line at each producing rate can be used. In the example problem, thatis a R,, of 3000 at the 3000 B/D rate. Since this minimum gradient will represent differentR,~values at different rates, the calculation of injection gas requirement will depend on the minimum gradient for the rate being considered. Table 2-2 shows a tabulation of the minimum downhole pressure readings at the various rates.
2. Plot the pressures versus rates tabulated in Table 2-2 on Cartesian Coordinate paper in the same manner as in the example for natural flow. Fig. 2-8 shows a curve

4. Using the above example, it is now possible to evaluate the benefits accruing to gas lift under the given conditions. Also, it is possible to determine the optimum gas injection rate by comparing the oil produced

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Gas Lift
TABLE 2-2 TABULATION OF POINTS READ ON GRADIENT CURVES FOR GAS LIFT 7" x 27/8" Annulus Maximum Gas Lift R,, Values FBHP @ 5800 ft, psig

-

-

Rate, B/D

Oil

100% 690 680 680 700 720 750 810 870 1030 1180 1350

25% Wtr Wtr 740 740 750 760 790 860 890 950 1120 1280 1420

75% 50% Wtr

2,000 2,500 3,000 3,500 4,000 4,500 5,000 6,000 8,000 10,000 12.500

0 8O 8O 0 815 840 910 940 960 1040 1220 1360 1530

1400 1440 1470 1520 1540 1570 1600 1660 1760 1860 1950

20$ 50

20" 507" x 2-7/8 ANNULUS

2000k
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1000

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NOTE:THISREPRESENTS MAXIMUA AND NOT OPTIMUM GAS LIFT CONDITIONS

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1000-

REPRESENTSNOTE: THIS MAXIMUM ANDNOT OPTIMUM CONDITIONS

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.

= 4770 MCF/
BFPD/PSI
100

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= 5.0

= 5.0 BFPD/PSI
'O0-

'O0

2000 4000 6000 0000 10,000 12,00011 PRODUCINGRATE(BFPD)

2d00 4dOO 6d00 8dOO l0,bOO 12,bOOl

PRODUCINGRATE(BFPD)

Fig. 2-8 - Comparison of naturalflow with gas lift, 100% oil, no injection gas limit

Fig. 2-9 - Comparison of naturalflow with gas lift, 25% water, no injection gas limit

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21 Well Performance

(5450 B/D)under the limited gas injection rate of 2180 MCF/Day to the oil produced (5600 B/D) at a maximum gas injection rate of 4770 MCF/D. Plots of curves comparing gas lift and natural flow at 25%, 50% and 75% water cuts and with no injection gas limit are shown in Fig. 2-9, 2-10 and 2-11.
c
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TABLE 2-3 COMPARISON OF MAXIMUM PRODUCING RATES FOR NATURAL FLOW AND GAS LIFT

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MAX RATE

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Water %
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Max. Rate Gas Lift @/D)

Inj. Gas Required (MCF/D) 3920 4770 5500 3380

t
~~

O 25
50 75

5000 4300 -0-0-

5600 5300 5000
2600

NOTE: THIS REPRESENTS MAXIMUM AND NOT OPTIMUM CONDITIONS
500'

\\

\

Pl = 5.0 BFPD/PSI
W O O 10,dOO 12,bOOl 100

20b0 4000

do0

PRODUCING RATE(BFPD)

Fig. 2-11 - Comparison of naturalflow with gas lift, 75% water, no injection gas limit

Comparison of Conduit Size The effect of conduit size on maximum producing rate can be seen by comparing bottomhole flowing pressure versus rate curves prepared forthe various pipe sizesunder consideration. In the example problem, flow through 2'/~ inch tubing was considered as an alternative to annular flow. Fig. 2-12 shows a plot of the flowing pressure versus rate curves for various water cuts in 2 7 / ~ inch tubing. The maximum flow rate at each water cut is shown in the table on Fig. 2-12. The effect of changing static bottomhole pressures or formation productivity on producing rates can be determined by replotting the productivity line for the new productivity and with a new static pressure starting point. Effect of Surface Operating Conditions

20r-50"-

7- x 2-718 ANNULUS

t O
O
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NOTE:THIS MAXIMUM AND NOT OPTIMUM GA5 LIFT CONDITIONS

v)

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1500

f 3
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10°0

500

2000 4000 6000 Bob0 l0,dOO 12,~0014,000
PRODUCING RATE (BFPD)

-Y

\

MAX RATE

,MAX RATE

=

5000 B/D

MAX GAS REQ 5500 MCF PI

=

5.0 BFPD/PSI

Fig. 2-10 - Comparison of naturalflow with gas lift,50% water, no injection gas limit

To calculate the effect of surface operating conditions, such as back pressure, on well production, curves should be prepared for avariety of possible surface operatingpressures and a comparison made of the producing rates under each condition. Such comparisons are useful in determining the production to be gained from reducing pressure losses in production facilities. They may also be used for determining the optimum design operating pressure at the wellhead.

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which is, in effect, the balance point between inflow and Use of Inflow Performance Relationship Curves (IPR) outflow performance. An example of such a plot is shown Although the example problem uses the straight line P.I. in Fig. 2-13. technique for predicting inflow performance, IPR curves can also be used for determining the point of intersection, Computer Programs for Well Performance Analysis
2500
I

I
l

"

I

l

I

2-7/8' TUBING

Computer programs are available that compare well inflow performance (productivity) with the vertical flow characteristics of the production installation to determine the maximum production rates that are possible under various producing conditions. These programs are usually available as adjuncts to gas lift design programs but can be used as separate tools for well performance analysis. Most of the computer programs follow very closely the manual technique discussed in this chapter. However, the computer versions usually allow the user to input a wide variety of producing parameters and to study the effect of each of the parameters on well performance. Many of the computer programs will also plot the information in a graphic form similar to that shown in Fig. 2-14. This demonstrates the effect of injection gas pressure on producing rate and injection gas requirements.The great advantage of the computer programs is that they allow the generation of a large number of such curves comparing various producing parameters in a very short period of time.

NATURAL FLOW M A X FLOW RATES %H20 BFPD
O 25 50 75

2500 2400 2100

500

L

Fig. 2-13 - Curve number (1) is an IPR curve and curve number (2) indicates the calculatedpe$ormance characteristics of the outflow system

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le
500'

H

PI

=

5.0 BFPD/PSI

3
2dOO 40b0 60b0 d o 0 l0,AOO 12,bOOI
O0

G A S L I F T PERFORMANCE
PRODUCING RATE (BFPD)

Fig. 2-12 - Natural flow, 2'h -inch tubing
YELL ORTA lU6ULRR FLOU 2 716 I N . YRTERCUT 90 f FWHP = YO0 PSIG SC IWJ CRS = 0.90

-

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I 100

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1

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300

400

500

600

700

Boo

I

PRODUCTION R A T E (BBL./DAYI

Fig. 2-14 - Computer plotsof gas lift well performance

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Multiphase Flow Prediction

CHAPTER 3 MULTIPHASE FLOW PREDICTION
INTRODUCTION
There are several words and terms in this chapter which may be new or confusing to the reader who is not familiar with multiphase flow studies. definition of all terms is not A necessary for understanding the basic concepts, but a discussion of the more unique terminology should aid the reader.

Basis for Developing Multiphase Flow Correlations
Several of the earlier multiphase flow correlationswere based on a total energy loss factor or a no-slip homogeneous mixture for high rate production. The total energy loss factor is analogous to a single-phase friction factor. No-slip homogeneous flow implies that the gas and liquid have the same velocity; therefore, the density of the mixture can be calculated for any desired pressure without a complex gasslippage or liquid holdup correlation. In other words, the pressure loss calculations for multiphase flow and singlephase flow are similar. The distribution of the liquid and thegasisbasedonthedailyproductionratewithno accumulation of liquid in the production conduit. These simplified methods for calculating multiphase flow pressure loss, with a total energy loss factor or a no-slip homogeneous mixture and friction factor, do not require the establishment of the flow regime or pattern. The flow regime for multiphase flow must be determined before the pressure loss can be calculated for the more general type of correlation. Each flow regimehas a different set equaof tions and correlating parameters for calculating a pressure loss. If the flow regime cannot be accurately determined, the calculated pressure loss be in error and discontinuiwill ties in the slopeof the flowing pressure gradient curvesmay be apparent. Multiphase flow in a production conduit represents complex relationships between many variables and dimensionless groups. For the purpose of this discussion, multiphase flow implies the presence of free gas and a liquid which may be oil and or water. Many of the important correlating parameters mustbe determined empirically because mathematical solutions do not exist. There is no one multiphase flow correlation available today that is universally accepted by the petroleum industry for accurately predicting flowing pressure gradients in all sizes of production conduits for the ranges of gas and liquid rates encountered in oil field operation. There is a continuing effort to develop new correlations and to improve those that exist.

Dimensionless Parameters
Most multiphase flow correlations involve numerous dimensionless groups or parameters. Dimensionless groups are commonly used in the analysis of experimental data because the number of measured or assumed values for variables can be greatly reduced by combining severalvariables into a single dimensionless group of variables. The variables are combined in such a manner that all units will cancel, thus the group becomes independent of the unit system. Reynolds number is example of a dimensionless an parameter or group.

Empirical Data
The word empirical refers to measured data. When there is no purely mathematical relationship that will accurately predict the value of a variable or parameter associated with multiphase flow. The value must be established empirically by actual measurements. Generally, interpolation of empirical data will present no problem but extrapolation can be quite dangerous. Interpolation means the determination of values between measured data, whereas extrapolation refers to predicting values beyond the range of the measured data. For example, the investigator does all of the experimental work in l'/d-inch nominal tubing. A general computer program is developed based on these test data for 1'/4inch nominal tubing and extended to high rates through large tubing such as 4'h-inch O.D. Predictions beyond the range of a correlation may be totally in error. Usually a correlation is identifiedby the investigator or investigators. A typical multiphase flow correlation consists numerous of equations and curves defining the relationships between different independent dimensionless groups, which may be called correlating parameters. These relationships represent measured data that have been organized in a manner that will permit calculation of the flowing pressures at depth or pressure loss through a flowline based on a production conduit size and the fluid rates and properties. Production conduit is a general term which can mean tubing or tubing-casing annulus, depending upon which is the production string. Most wells are produced through a tubing string.

Accuracy of Flowing Pressure at Depth Predictions
Accurate flowing pressure at depth predictions in production conduits are essential to efficient continuous flow gas lift installation design and analysis. Selecting the best correlation for specific well production rates and conduit sizes is not always a simple matter. Flowing pressure at depthsurveys with calibratedinstrumentsandaccurate stabilized production data measured during the surveys are

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Gas Lift scale or paraffin deposition. For accurate predictions the flow pattern should also be relatively stable without severe heading or surging. There have been many instances when a multiphase flow correlation or set of gradient curves has been rejected based on reportedly reliable well test data after the calculated flowing pressures at depth didnot approximate the measured pressures at depth. Further investigation of the reported production test data may reveal the reason for the discrepancy. A practice of reducing the flow rate to run a survey is not uncommon when the wireline operator has difficulty lowering the subsurface pressure gage into the production conduit. Field personnel may report the average daily production rate as gas-liquid ratio for a well based on previous production test or an average daily rate for the last 30 days rather than obtaining accurate production test measurements during the survey. Flowing pressure gradient curves and computer calculated flowing pressures at depth which are based on a proven multiphase flow correlation will assure consistent predictions in the stable flow range of the correlation. When the actual reported field data are inconsistent and not repeatable, the flowing pressure at depth predictions based on computer calculations are generally more accurate than the “so called” field measurements. An operator should always double-check the field data before condemning a widely proven multiphase flow correlation.

essential to verify the applicability of a multiphase flow correlation. In other words, the only way to properly evaluate a multiphase flow correlation or set of flowing pressure at depth gradient curves to compare reliablewell test is data with calculated pressures at depth or with pressures determined from published gradient curves.

Importance of Reliable Well Test Data
Reliable well test data implies accurate gasmeasurement. The importance of selecting the recommended orifice beta ratios for accurate gas measurement cannot be overemphasized because the volumetric gas rate is one of the most important parameters for defining the flow pattern or regime. Beta ratio is the ratio of the size of the borehole in the orifice plate to the internal diameter of the meter tube. A differential reading in the upper two-thirds of the range of the element is essential for accurate gas measurement with an orifice meter, and the beta ratio controls the differential pen reading for a given volumetric gas rate. The proper equations for multiphase flow calculations depend upon a correct predictionof the flow regime forthe general type of multiphase flow correlations. There are required wellandtubularconditionsbeforeaccurateflowingpressure-at-depth predictionscan be anticipated. Themultiphase flow correlations this discussion arenot applicable in when an emulsion exists. The production conduit must be full open: i.e., the area open to flow cannotbe restricted by

PUBLISHED VERTICAL, HORIZONTAL AND INCLINED MULTIPHASE FLOW CORRELATIONS
This discussion is not intended to replace a text book on multiphase flow. Only the multiphase flow correlations that have received at leastlimited acceptance by the petroleum industry are mentioned in this chapter. These vertical multiphase flow correlations are the Poettmann and Carpenter3, Baxendelland Thomas4, Duns and RosJ,Johnson6, HagedornandBrown7,Orkiszewski*,andMoreland9. The number of detailed investigations of horizontal and inclined multiphase flow are less numerous in the literature. The morewidely applied correlations includeBakerlo, Lockhart and Martinelli”, Flanigan12, Eaton13, Dukler, et ali4, and Beggs and Brilll5. The Beggs and Brill correlation for inclined flow may be used for vertical flow calculations by assigning a 90 degree angle of inclination. The reported data base, application and possible limitations are not always available for all multiphase correlations. Generally, internal company improvements and modifications in multiphase flow correlations and computer programs are not public knowledge. Only published information can be used to describe the various multiphase flow correlations.
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Papers Evaluating the Accuracy of Multiphase Flow Correlations
Therearetechnicalpapers I h , 17* l x * thatreportedly evaluate the accuracy of several widely used correlations for vertical multiphase flow. Generally, authors of these papers use published data from several sources. Thesemay include flowing pressures at depth and production data from original publications for multiphase flow correlations being compared. A statistical error analysis is performed on the difference between the published measured pressure loss and the calculated pressure loss using computer programs written by these authors. The conclusions from this type of error analysis can be misleading to the reader. A multiphase flow data bank as a benchmark test for all multiphase flow correlations does notalwaysapply.A significant portion of the data may be out of the recognized production rate or production conduit size ranges, by noted the investigators, to be applicable to their multiphase flow correlations. An example is the use of low production rate data to check the Baxendell and Thomas correlations.

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The Baxendell and Thomas correlation ishigh rate extena sion of the Poettmann and Carpenter total energyloss factor curve. All low rate data would be on the Poettmann and Carpenter portion of the curve and not on the extension by Baxendell and Thomas. Another consideration is the manner in which a computer program is written and the correlations that are being used to calculate thefluid properties. The results from two computer programs based on the same multiphase flow correlation can be quite different.

Ros-Gray and Duns-Ros Correlations
Authors may infer that the Ros-Gray correlation, which can be purchased from Shell Oil Company, is being compared to other correlations when in fact the Duns and

Ros Correlation is being compared.The initial paper, which was based on an extensive laboratory investigation by Ros2' was presented at a Joint AIChE-SPE Symposium and a revised version of the same paper was published in the Journal of Petroleum Technology". The final version of the Ros paper was presented by Duns5. The Duns and Ros paper is based on laboratory data only and is not the Ros-Gray correlation that was modified to eliminate discrepancies between calculated and accurately measured data from over600 actual stabilized well tests. The conclusion remains that one particular multiphase flow correlation may prove to be more accurate than others for certain production conduit sizes and rates; therefore, a ranking of the available correlations in terms of general overall applicability is questionable.

SIMPLIFIED MULTIPHASE FLOW CORRELATIONS BASED ON TOTAL ENERGY LOSS FACTORSOR MO-SLIP HOMOGENEOUS MIXTURES
A simplified multiphase flow correlation based on a total numbers for fully turbulent single-phase flow on a Moody diagram. The authors assumed that the flattened portion of single energy loss factor curve or a simple homogeneous no-slip flow model should be considered for calculating the energy loss factor curve represents the truly turbulent conditions where little or no gas slippage occurs. The calcuflowing pressures at depth in areas of high rate production on when the correlation is based on accurate stabilized flowinglated flowing pressures at depth for high rates based the extended total energy loss curve proved to be exceedingly well data from the same field or similar well production of the rates and conduit sizes. The calculations for this type corre-accurate for wells in Venezuela. Since extension energy loss curve was based on well data from the same lation are simple and are reportedz2. to be more accurate 23 fields i n which the correlation was being used, reasonable in many instances than the more complex general type of accuracy in flowing pressure at depth predictions could be correlations. anticipated. The number of variables which affect these Poettmann and Carpenter Correlation pressure predictions are reduced because the fluid properThe first widely accepted multiphase flow correlation ties and conduit sizes are the same for the correlation and was developed by Poettmann and Carpenter and was pubthe actual wells. The original Poettmann and Carpenter lished in 1952. The work of Poettmann and Carpenter did total energy loss factor curve and the extension by Baxenmore to initiate additional research in vertical multiphase dell and Thomas is shown in Fig. 3-1. flow than all prior publications combined. Their correlation was based on a total single energy loss factor that accounts for all losses including liquid holdup from gas slippage and for friction and acceleration. The energy balance equation combined a pseudo no-slip homogeneous mixture density gradient and the Fanning equation for single-phase flow where the friction factor was replaced by the total energy loss factor.
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Baxendell and Thomas Correlation
Baxendell and Thomas modified the Poettmann and Carpenter correlation using measured data from high rate wells in Venezuela. The total energy loss factor curve was extended for daily mass rates which were significantly higher than the original Poettmann and Carpenter data. The energy loss factor for vertical and horizontal multiphase flow approached a near constant value at very high daily mass rates in a manner analogous to high Reynolds

O

I

2

S

4

&

6

7

4

ou x 10-4 O
Fig. 3-1 - Extension of the energy loss factor curve by Baxendell and Thomas4 (Copyright 1961, SPE-AIME, First published in the JPT 1961)

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26 Two-Phase Homogeneous No-Slip Mixture Correlations
Several technical papers have been published that illustrate the application of two-phase homogeneous no-slip correlations for high rate wells. Brown22 notes that a simplified correlation developed from multiphase flow data for an actual production conduit size may assure more accurate pressure loss calculations than the more complicated general type of correlation based on laboratory controlled multiphase flow data for conduit sizes which are Gas Lift generally smaller and shorter than the actual conduits. The importance of properly definedfluid property relationships for calculating flowing pressure gradients was demonstrated by Cornishz3. The advantages and accuracy of a simplified total single energy loss factor correlation or a two-phase homogeneous no-slip flow model based on actual measured data from high rate production wells should not be overlooked. Total energy loss factors are easily calculated from flowing pressure surveys, and an energy loss factor curve can be shifted to improve the accuracy of the calculated flowing pressures at depth.

GENERAL TYPE MULTIPHASE FLOW CORRELATIONS
A general type of multiphase flow correlation is reportedly applicable for all sizesof typical oil field production conduits and for the liquid and gas rates encountered oil in field operations. The general correlation requiresidentian fication of the flow regime, or flow pattern, to define the proper equations for calculating the flowing pressure gradient in the incremental pipe length under investigation. There may be more than one flow pattern existing between the lower end of the production conduit and the surface. The flow regime may be single-phase or bubble flow at the higher pressures nearer the surface. The flow pattern schematic from Moreland9 in Fig. 3-2 for vertical flow of gas-liquid mixtures illustrates the need for proper flow regime identification. The pressure gradient equationfor at least one flow regime will include liquid holdup based on gas slippage. Liquid holdup represents the relationship between the volume occupied by the liquid and the total volume of the production conduit within the incremental pipe length under investigation. The accuracy of the method for predicting liquid holdup is particularly important for the gas and liquid velocities associated with the lower production rates. Liquid and gas viscosity's and surface tension are usually required input or are defaultvalues in the computer programs for the general types of multiphase flow correlations. Accurate pressures at depth predictions are claimed by the developers of most general correlations for even relatively high viscosity crude oil. The density term includes a liquid holdup correction for gas slippage. The accelerationterm is often neglected in all flow regimes except where highfluid velocities exists such as

ANNULAR MIST

FROTH
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SLUG

BUBBLE

Typical Pressure Gradient Equation Vertical Flow for
Although the exact final equations and correlating parameters vary between investigators, the basic typical pressure gradient equation for vertical multiphase flow consists of the following terms: Equation 3.1 Pressure - Density Friction Acceleration Gradient + Term Term Term Term
SINGLE PHASE
LlOUlO

+

Fig. 3-2 - Typical flow patterns for vertical of gasflow
liquid mixtures9

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27 Multiphase Flow Prediction in the annular mist regime. The contribution of acceleration is reported to be very small in the other multiphase flow regimes.

Published General Type Correlations

The multiphase correlations developed by Ros, Orkiszewski, Aziz, et. al, are considered general. The original The flow regime, or flow pattern, mapgenerallyis paper by Hagedorn and Brown’ stated that it was unnecesdivided into at least three major regions which are defined sary to separate two-phase flow into the various flow patby the continuity,or lack of continuity, of the liquid and gas terns and develop correlations for each pattern. Many phases. Fig. 3-3 is thepublished Ros flow regime map based computer programs based on the Hagedorn and Brown on laboratory data. The liquid phase is continuous in correlation include separate sets equations for the differof Region I; and gas is the continuous phase in Region III. The ent flow regimes and use the Hagedorn and Brown correlapressure gradient in the transition area between Regions II tions for only the slug flow pattern, which is Region II on and III can be approximated by linear interpolation on the the Ros flow regime map in Fig. 3-3. An explanation for basis of the gasvelocity number (RN) value on the abscissa, this conclusion by Hagedorn can be found in the paper by where R is the ratioof the in-situ superficial velocity of the Orkiszewski which notes that slug flow occurred in 95 gas to liquid phases. The flow regime must be established percent of the cases studied. Apparently, Hagedorn not did before the proper equations andcorrelationscanbe encounter the bubble flow regime during his experimental selected for the flowing pressure gradient calculations. The work because his tests were conducted in a shallow 1500Ros flow regime boundary equations have been used by foot well. The accepted categoriesor flow regimes fortwoother investigators. phase flow are ideally depicted by Orkiszewski in Fig. 3-4.
Y

. . ..

L

I

.
v .

: .

..

(AI BUBBLEFLOW Gas Veloclty Number
RN

I\-, RI SLUG FLOW

\ - /

FLOW

SLUG-ANNULAR ANNULAR-MIST TRANSITION

Fig. 3-3 -Rosflow region boundaries based on laboratory Fig. 3-4 -Ideal flow regimes or categories for multiphase flow as illustrated by OrkiszewskP (Copyright 1967 SPEdata’ AIME, First published in the JPT June 1967)

DISPLAYS OF FLOWING PRESSUREAT DEPTH GRADIENT CURVES
Most displays of flowing pressure at depth gradient curves use the same parameters but may be plotted somewhat differently. Generally, a setof gradient curves will be displayed for a given conduit size, a production rate, a and water cut which may be zero; i.e., all oil production.Flowing pressure at depth curves will be drawn for gas-liquid ratios (R,1) ranging from zero for single-phase liquid to a maximum practical R,], depending uponthe conduit size and production rate. For example, a maximum R,1 of 10,000 standard cubic feet of gas per stock tank barrel (scf/STB) would be displayed for a production rate only of 100 STB/day through 2’/rinch O.D. tubing, whereas a R,I of 1000 to 2000 scf/STB may be the maximum for a higher production rate of 2000 STB/day through the same conduit size. In general, higher Rglvalues are associated with lower production rates and lower R,I values with higher production rates.
--`````,`,,``,,,````,`,```,,,-`-`,,`,,`,`,,`---

Converting RgO Rg, to
This family, or set, of curves should always be defined in terms of R,I and not gas-oil ratio (Rgo).The Rgois equal to the R,] only when the water cut is zero. The first step after selecting the proper set of gradient curves is to convert the

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Gas Lift pressure gradient curve definedby the loci of tangency’s of the higher R,] curves to form a single curve. As the R,I increases, the flowing pressure at the depth tangency for of the higher R,, curves increases which infers that these points of tangency occur at increasing chart depths. A set of typical flowing pressure gradient curves for 600 STB day through 23/s-inch O.D. tubingz5 is shown in Fig. 3-7. The minimum fluid gradient curve and higher R,I curves will be one and the same above the pointof tangency. Gradient curves displayed with a minimum fluid gradient curve are easier to apply for certain design determinations. The design calculations may lose some accuracyif gas lift operations should occur in the reversal portion of a high R,] curve.However,mostefficientgasliftinstallations will operate with a total R,I below the range of a severe reversal in the flowing pressure gradient curve and the actual flowing wellhead pressure will exceed the lower pressures where a severe reversal would occur. Gas lift installation designs and analyseshavebeenbasedongradient curve displays with a minimum fluid gradient curve without any reported significant error in predictions of flowing pressures at depth or injection gas requirements.
Gradient pressure, psi

total Rgoto total Rgl before determining a flowing pressure at depth.
Rgl

=

fo (Rgo)

Equation 3.2

Where:

R,I = gas-liquid ratio, scf/STB f,, = oil cut (1 .O - water cut), fraction Rgo = gas-oil ratio, scf/STB
These R,] curves always represent total R,I, which is the formation R,I below the point of gas injection and is the injection plus the formation R,I about the point of gas injection.

Gilbert’s Curves
Gilbert1 published one the first sets flowing pressure of of at depth gradient curvesin 1954. Although flowing pressure gradient curves for several conduit sizes were published by Gilbert, the only full-page size curves presented the API in paper were for 27/~-inch O.D. tubing. No multiphase flow correlation was offered for calculating these flowing pressures at depth. Gilbert’s curves were based on numerous flowing pressure surveys run in the VenturaField in California. The Gilbert flowing pressure-depth curves were the forerunners for the present method of displaying gradient curves. One set of Gilbert gradient curves for 600 barrels per day through 27/8-in~h O.D. tubing is shown in Fig. 3-5. Note that the depth axis is shifted 5000 feet for the Rgl curves of 3000, 4000 and 5000 scf/STB. The optimum R,I, as defined by Gilbert for this daily production rate of 600 barrels through 2’/8-inch O.D. tubing, is 240 scf/STB. The optimum curve represents minimum possible flowthe ing pressure at depth for a given conduit size and production rate. When the R,I exceeds 2400 scf/STB, the flowing pressure gradient begins to increase rather than decrease. This increase in flowing pressure gradient is referred to as a reversal in the slope of a gradient curve. A higher flowing pressure at depth is predicted for R,I of 5000 scf/STB than for 2400 scf/STB based on these gradient curves.
--`````,`,,``,,,````,`,```,,,-`-`,,`,,`,`,,`---

Minimum Fluid Gradient Curve

Many published gradient curves are displayed with a minimum fluid gradient curve rather than shifting the origin of the depth scale to prevent overlaying crossing and over of R,] curves at low flowing pressures at depth. A reversal in the slope of a high R,I curve will result in the higher R,I curves crossing over the low R,I curves at low flowing pressures. An example of overlaying of gradient curves24 is illustrated in Fig. 3-6. and accurate pressure determinations are difficult confusing at thelower and flowing pressures where the curves are crossing over one another. The minimum fluid gradient curve ignores the reversals in the individual R,I curves and represents a flowing
Fig. 3-5 - Gilbert’s flowing pressure gradient curves for 600 BPD through 27/g-inch O.D. tubing’

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Multiphase Flow Prediction

8

16

PRESSURE 24

- 100 PSI
32

40

40

66

2-

VERTICAL FLOWINQ PRESSURE GRADIENTS (ALL OIL)
TUBING SIZE 2.441 IN. I.D.
1500 BLPD

4-

PRODUCTION RATE Q A 8 SPECIFIC GRAVITY AVERAQE FLOWINQ TEMP. OIL GRAVITY WATER SPECIFIC QRAVITY

0.65 150 O
F

36.0 O API
1 .O7

6-

8-

0-

2-

4-

6-

8-

'O

-

Fig. 3-6 - Vertical flowing pressure gradient curves without depth displacement to eliminate overlapping of the high R,I curves24

--`````,`,,``,,,````,`,```,,,-`-`,,`,,`,`,,`---

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Gas Lift

O

4

8

12

16

20

24

28

1

I

2

(ALL a u Tubing Size 2 i . 1.D. n Producing Rate 600 Bblr/Day Oil A I Gravity P 35" APt Gs Specific Gravity a 0.65

VERTICAL FLOWING PRESSURE GRADIENTS

1
I

3

4

8

a Fig. 3- 7 - Vertical flowing pressure gradient curves plotted withminimum fluid gradient curvez5

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Multiphase Flow Prediction

O

5

10

15

20

25

30

10

Fig. 3-8 - Vertical flowing pressure gradient curves based on the Shell Ros-Gray correlation with the higher curves Rg, reversal overlapping6 displaced on the depth scale to prevent gradient
--`````,`,,``,,,````,`,```,,,-`-`,,`,,`,`,,`---

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Gas Lift from crossing over the preceding lower RE,curve. A set of Ros-Gray curvesh are shown in Fig. 3-8. Flowing pressures at depth are determined in the same manner for the displaced R,I curves as for a set of gradient curves with a minimum fluidgradientcurve.

Displaying Gradient Curves to Prevent CrOSSOVer The most accurate displayof gradient curves will include the reversal in the flowing pressures at depth for the higher R,I curves. The R,, curve will be displaced sufficiently on thedepthscaletopreventthe nexthigher Rgl curve

STABILITY OF FLOW CONDITIONS AND SELECTION PRODUCTION CONDUIT SIZE OF
Multiphase correlations developed flow are based on Graphical Determination of Minimum Stabilized stabilized flowing well data. A correlation extended be can Production Rate beyond its range of validity without the user recognizing the limitations. Although smooth gradient curves may be pubA plot of flowing bottomhole pressure at 6000 feet versus lished for low liquidrates with low total gas-liquidratios,dailyproduction rate for a constant Rgl of 400 scf/STB actual flow conditions may be quite different than would be and a flowing wellhead pressure of 100 psig is shown in curves. predicted the from Fig. 3-9. A minimum pressure flowing bottomhole of

18 17 16 15
14

13
12

11 10
9
$3 -

O

1

2

3

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1 011211431 5 1

Daily Production Rate - 100 STB/day
Well 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Information: Tubing Size = 2%-inch O.D. Tubing Length = 6000 ft Water Cut (fo)= 0% (All Oil) Formation Rg,= 400 scf/STB Flowing Wellhead Pressure (Pwh) psig = 100

Fig. 3-9 - Flowing B H P versus daily production ratefor a constant gas-oil ratio
--`````,`,,``,,,````,`,```,,,-`-`,,`,,`,`,,`---

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Multiphase

approximately 860 psig at 6000 feet occurs at a daily proConditions Necessary to Assure Stable duction rate slightly greater than 500 STB day. The flowMultiphase Flow ing bottomhole pressure increases at lower and higher daily liquid production rates. The unstable flow conditions exist An explanation for the conditions necessary to assure at daily liquid rates less than the rate for the minimum stable multiphase flow can be related to a minimum free flowing bottomhole pressure. The unstable range should be volumetric gas rate requirement for a given production conavoided by producing at a daily rate that is safely above the duit size. The in-situ gas velocity must exceed a minimum 500 STB day in this example to assure not slipping into the value that prevents excessive gas slippage and correspondingly high liquid holdup which causes a well to load unstable region. A cyclic heading or surging condition develops as the daily production falls below the liquid rate up and die. Since there is this minimum gas rate requirement, the total gas-liquid ratio to sustain stable flow must for this minimum flowing bottomhole pressure. The cyclic conditions are perpetuated and intensifiedby the fluid flow increase as the daily liquid production rate decreases for the same production conduit size. For this reason, a compariprinciples defining a vertical or inclined multiphase flow son of injection gas-liquid ratios is not recommended for system and the intlow performance relationship defining the deliverabilityof a reservoir. As the liquid rate decreases, evaluating the gas lift operations in wells that have a wide range in daily production rate. Also, a minimum gas velocthe flowing bottomhole pressure increases which in turn ity necessary to prevent excessive liquid holdup explains results in a further decrease in liquid rate. Most wells will reach a severe surging condition that can best be described why stable flowing conditions can be established in smaller conduit sizes for low wells. The gas rate velocity increases as as a loading and unloading state of flow before all flow the production conduit size decreases for the same daily ceases and the well is classified as dead.

O

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

Daily Production Rate - 100 STB/day

Well 1. 2. 3.

Information: Tubing Length = 6000 feet Formation Rg,= 400 scf/STB (All Oil) Flowing Wellhead Pressure = 100 psig

Fig. 3-10 - Flowing B H P versus daily production rate for three different tubing sizes of the sume length und stunt gus-oil ratio
--`````,`,,``,,,````,`,```,,,-`-`,,`,,`,`,,`---

a con-

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volumetric gas rate.In other words, a tubing size can be too large for a low capacity well or too small for a large capacity well.

Effect of Tubing Size on Minimum Stabilized Flow Rate
A well may flow with a 2’/s-inch O.D. tubing string and require artificial lift with a larger size tubing. If the daily production rate occurs in the unstable range of flow for a given tubing size, a lower flowing bottomhole pressure can be attained for the same daily production with a smaller

conduit size. For example, the predicted flowing bottomhole pressure is approximately 1360 psig at 6000 feet 1 O0 for STB day through 2’/s-inch O.D. tubing in Fig. 3-9. If 1 660inch O.D. (l’/a-inch nominal) tubing were run in the same well,thepredictedflowing bottomhole pressure would decrease to approximately 1000 psig forthesamedaily production rate of 100 STB day. The intake flowing bottomhole pressure versus daily production rate for three commonly used tubing sizes is illustrated in Fig. 3-10. Accurate gradient curves can be used to select the proper conduit sizefor a well based on the desired daily production rate.

CONCLUSIONS
The ability to predict accurate multiphase flowing pressures at depthin a vertical production conduithas improved significantly since the work of Poettmann and Carpenter in 1952. Research in multiphase flow continues with increased emphasis i n gathering systems including flowlines and inclined flow. The number of wells having deviated production conduits will increase as new wells are drilled from offshore platforms. Improved multiphase flow correlations will be developed for deviated production conduits. The calculations for inclined flow will be more complex by requiring profiles of production conduit lengthversus angle of deviation. Many companies have their own in-house multiphase flow computer programs. These programs should be utilized by field production personnel for continuous gas lift installation design and analysis. The majority of the gas lift manufacturers have computer programs available to design and analyze gas lift installations. The widely used multiphase flow correlations in these computer programs have been verified by actual field measurement to be reasonably accurate when reliable well data are used for input. In conclusion, the advent of multiphase flow correlations which are applicable to the conduit sizes and the daily production rates associated with gas lift operations has changed the design and analysis of continuous flow gaslift wellsfrom an art based on experience to a predictable science.

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and Gas Facilities Lift Gas for

CHAPTER 4 GAS APPLICATION AND GAS FACILITIES FOR GAS LIFT
INTRODUCTION
Gas handling facilities such as gas compressors, dehydrators, meters, and pipelines are the highest cost portions of the gas lift system. This equipment usually requires more operating and maintenance effort than any other part of the gas lift facilities. Natural gas used to produce liquids by gas lift is controlled,measured,compressed,andprocessedwith mechanical devices. Therefore, an understanding of gas fundamentals and operating practices is necessary to the successful operation of a gas lift system. Operating practices involving gas are different from those for oil because of the increased pressure and compressibility of the mixtures involved. Also, as a gas that contains even small quantities of hydrogen sulfide can be very corrosive to certain equipment and present a hazard to human life. It is important to understand that a single component like nitrogen gas and a mixture of components such as natural gas will behave differently. Injection gas for gas lift wells can be affected by various operating and producing conditions including gas supply and production system back pressure. Production conditions such as surface wellhead back pressure and surface temperature are usually estimated i n gas lift design and planning because actual measurements will not be available. Gas lift valves downhole will respond to injection gas pressure and production pressure in the wellbore as well as pressure and temperature inside the bellows of thegasliftvalve. These conditions must be accurately predicted.

BASIC FUNDAMENTALS OF GAS BEHAVIOR
The pressureof a liquid or gas system can be measured. A pressure gage is the device thatis commonly used to measure the pressure of the liquid/gas mixture produced from the well as well as the pressure of the gas injected into the well. The pressure is taken with a gage and is referred to as gage pressure.In theUnited States it is measured in pounds per square inch and designated psig. Gage pressure plus atmospheric pressure (usually about 15 psi) is referred to as absolute pressure and designated psia. The difference between gage pressure and absolute pressure is very small at high pressures. For example, 1000 psig converts to 1015 psia, if atmospheric pressure is 15 psi. Gas lift systems utilize gas pressure more than one type in of application. In the first type of application the gas can expand. In this application, gas goes from the compressor, through a pipeline to the well, and then goes through a gas lift valve, where it expands and mixes with the produced liquids. At each link the gas expands and loses some of its pressure energy. The second type of application involves a sealed gas container. An example of this is the nitrogen which is contained in the bellows of a gas lift valve.In each of these cases the gas behavior differs. Thesealed container is a system in which pressure, temperature, and volume are related.
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because the nitrogen cannot expand outside the bellows. This is stated in the following equation:
"

PI = TI

P2

Equation 4.1

Tz

In gas lift calculations this equation could be used to determine the change that takes placein the nitrogen pressure in the bellows when a gas lift valve is set in a testrack at a temperature of 60°F and then is placed downhole at a much higher temperature. However, before equation 4.1 can be applied, the effects of temperature must be reviewed. Temperature affects the gas in the closed container as well as in the open, expansive application. The indicator of heat change is the measured degree of temperature. In all calculations throughout this chapter, the temperatures are absolute, i.e., degrees Rankine ("F plus 460). For example, 150°F plus 460 is equal to 610" Rankine (absolute). A gas expands when heated. Temperature increase after compression and the subsequent effect on flow through a pipeline or a gas lift valve are the most common examples of these phenomena. Gas measurement requires a record of the flowing temperature of the'gas through an orifice meter. The gas flow equation is adjusted for the flowing temperature of the gas and corrected to a standard temperature of 60°F. In the calculations shown here, the temperature in degreesFahrenheit (F) is convertedtodegreesRankine (R).

In the sealed container, or bellows, a temperature increase causes a pressure increase inside the bellows

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Deviation factors can be obtained for nitrogen from Fig. 4-1 and for sweet natural gases from Fig. 4-2 and 4-3. Deviation is a function of the pressure and temperature and, for natural gases, itis also a functionof gas specific gravity (gas specific gravityis based on composition). These compressibility(deviation account factors factors)nonthe for behavior of ideal accuracy and improve the gas of calculationsforoilfieldsystems. The previous example is modified as follows: The gas is nitrogen. At condition 1:
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In this example, the valve bellows pressure in the test rack at 60°F is calculated SO that the valve can be set to have a bellows pressure of 1000 psig when it is operating downhole at 150°F.

PI - PZ ~or TI

(1000 psig +psi) 15
(150°F

T?
or

+ 460)

-

P?
+

(600F
-

460"F)

(1015 psia) ( 6 1 O'R)

P Z
(520"R)

then

P? = 865 psia

PI = TI

1015 psia (1000 psig
150°F

+ 15 psi)

This is the absolute pressure with ideal behavior. The atmospheric pressure is approximately 15 psi, therefore, the gage pressure is 850 psig. This example does not take into account the deviation from ideal behavior. A compressibility factor (Z) is used to denote deviation from ideal conditions. The deviation or compressibility factor appears in the (Z) following equation:
~-

FromFig. 4-1, ZI = 1.013 At condition 2:

P? = unknown(butassume865psia)
Tz =
2 2

60°F 0.992

=

Now apply equation 4.2

1015 psia P1
VI

Z II T

-

P2 V? Z? T?

-

Pz
(0.992) x [(60"F)

Equation 4.2

(1.013) x [(150"F)

+ 460'1

+ 460'1
Z2

P2 = 847 psia (Use this PZ to estimate another and repeat calculation)

The volume (V) is now includedin the pressure, temperaIf similar calculations are made with natural gas, Fig. 4-2 ture, and deviation relationship. In the example i n which and 4-3 are available for estimating the Z Factor. For bellows is considered a sealed container that changes very example, assume the gas specific gravity is 0.7condition at little in size VI is equal to VZ and so volume is eliminated 1: from the equation. The Z factor remains, in order to improve the accuracy of the results. To apply the Z factor, P I = 1015 psia (1000 psig) the type of gas must be identified because theZ factor for T I = 150°F methane is different from the factor for nitrogen, which is Z also different from the factor for a natural gas mixture Z of From Fig. 4-3, (use the above data), ZI = 0.885 many components. Atcondition2, T? = 60°F. P2 isunknown,butan So the Z factor is related to the particular gas vapor. Charts assumed pressure is needed to estimate ZZ. Assume PZ are available that list deviation (Z) factors for nitro= 850 psia (835 psig), then Z = 0.8 1. 2 gen and for natural gas mixtures denoted by some property Now apply equation 4.2, (usually specific gravity). These charts and tables are not valid if significant quantities of impurities are present the in psia 1015 P2 natural gas mixture. Special charts are needed for those (0.885) (610"R) x (0.81) x (520"R) conditions.

PZ = 7 9 2 p s i a ( u s e t h i s PZ to estimate another ZZ It becomes very apparent that the accuracyof the calcuand repeat) lation depends on having reliable information for pressure, temperature, and Z factors. The user should be careful to Note: Nitrogen (N?) is used in the gas lift valve bellows ensure that the table or chart being used represents the because N behavior is well known. N2 is non-toxic 2 actual gas stream being considered. and it is readily available.

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Fig. 4-1 - Compressibility factors for Nitrogen, Bureau of Mines Monograph 10 Volume 2, “Phase Relations of Gas-Condensate Fluids”

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--`````,`,,``,,,````,`,```,,,-`-`,,`,,`,`,,`---

N

PRESSURE, PSlA

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PROBLEM EXAMPLE: GIVEN:
Tavo 100°F =

Fig. 4-2 - Z-Chart (100 - 300 psi) Courtesy Exxon Production Research Company

Fig. 4-3 - Z-Chart (300 - 2000 psi) data from CNGA Bu1 T5-461 and Standing-Katz AIME Transactions 1942

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A P I T I T L E a V T - 6 74 W 0732290 0 5 3 2 8 7 2 576
Gas Application and Gas Facilities for Gas Lift 39

APPLICATION TO OILFIELD SYSTEMS
Gas behavior applications are important in the production of oil and gas because there are changes in temperature and pressure as the oil and gas move from reservoir to the surface. Conceivably the “gas” may be a liquid in the reservoir at high pressure and temperature and change to the gas phase inside the wellbore as it moves toward the surface. Offset wells in the same reservoir can be a good source of information relating to crude oil and dissolved gas characteristics such as gas-liquid ratios and gas composition. Various correlations are available for estimating the changes in the properties of crude oils as the pressure and temperature of the production system change. These correlations make it possible to predict the amount of free gas that will be present in the system under any given condition of pressure and temperature. Another area related to gas behavior occurs in the design and sizing of surface compressors and dehydration facilities. Millions of dollars are spent to design, install, and operate these surface facilities. Therefore, good data on gas properties are necessary to accurately predict gas behavior within ranges in temperature and pressure. In order to more accurately describe gas behavior, a reservoir fluid sample is analyzed in the laboratory for PVT (pressure, volume, temperature) relationship. This analysis provides the gas and liquid composition as well as other useful information on gas and oil properties such as gas specific gravity, liquid gravity, and gas-oil ratio. If a sample from the reservoir cannot be obtained, a recombined separator liquid and gas sample is used. Often multiple gas samples are taken for chromatograph composition analyses and used for compressor sizing and design. These composition values are crucial for the design of centrifugal compressors because the internal wheel design is highly dependent upon gas specific gravity and the changes that occur in the gas as it goes from a low pressure to a high pressure. The reciprocating compressor is also dependent upon this gas composition but is not as sensitive to changes. valve operates much like a back pressure valve on a separator. The closing force in the valve is provided by the nitrogen pressure in the bellows for most valves, although some valves use a spring or nitrogen pressure plus a spring. The valve mechanics equations, estimates of downhole gas pressure, downhole fluid pressure, and downhole temperature are used to calculate the bellows pressure needed for the closing force. As previously discussed, this nitrogen pressure within the bellows (approximately constant volume sealed dome) is dependent upon temperature. The pressure inside the bellows will vary as the temperature varies.

Temperature Correction
The temperature correction is actually an adjustment from wellbore temperature to a test rack temperature of 60°F. The wellbore temperature estimate is critical because the nitrogen pressure setting in the valve is dependent upon this temperature estimate. Another possible error may result from poor behavior prediction of the bellows gas. As mentioned previously, nitrogen is used to lessen chances of error because it has well-knowncompressibility factors and is safe to handle. Most manufacturers cool the gas lift valves to 60°F in a cooler and thus have a consistent and repeatable temperature at which to set the nitrogen pressure in the bellows: however, the gas lift valve in the well will not beoperating at 60“. It will be at some higher temperature and the downhole bellows pressure (Pbdt) at temperature must be converted to a bellows pressure (Ph”) at 60°F. One correcting method is to use Table 4-1 by H . W. Winkler and the following relationship:
phv

= C x Phdt T

Equation 4.3

Where: P v = Bellows Pressure (psig) @ 60°F b CT
= Temperature Correction Factor,

for a downhole temperature at valve (from Table 4-1)
@ Downhole Temperature(fromvalvemechanicscalculation)

Subsurface Applications
Techniques for estimating gas behavior may be applied to subsurface applications in computing injection gas pressure profiles, estimating the gas passage through a gas lift valve and, as previously mentioned, in setting a bellows (dome) pressure in a gas lift valve. In all cases the fundamental methods described here are used to estimate gas behavioral changes. Most of the time, equations are not used directly. Tables and charts provide the data needed for calculations. Computers are often used, producing a data graph for estimates. PM
= Bellows Pressure (psîg)

As an example, calculate the dome pressure at 60°F in a test rack if Pmt = 820 psig at 140°F.

Pbv

= (0.848) x (820 psig) = 695 psig

Pressure Correction
The dome, or bellows, in the gas lift valve is used to provide a controlled closing pressure so that the gas lift
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This calculation gives the bellows pressure setting at a laboratory (shop) standard condition. In the shop the valve is placed in a special test rack fixture and the valve is set by calculating a test rack opening pressure and thenslowly bleeding the nitrogen from the bellows until the test rack opening pressure just barely opens the valve.

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TABLE 4-1 TEMPERATURE CORRECTION FACTORS FOR NITROGEN BASED ON 60°F P v = 1000 psig b Cl "F .847 .845 .843 .842 .840 .839 .837 .836 .834 .832 .831 .829 ,828 .X26 ,825 .823 .822 .820 .819 .817 ,816 ,814 ,813 .81 1 .a10 181 182 183 184 185 186 187 188 189 190 191 192 193 194 195 196 197 198 199 200 20 1 202 203 204 205 206 207 208 209 210 21 1 212 213 214 215 216 217 218 219 220

"F
61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80
81 82 83 84 85

Ct

"F

CI

"F

Cl

"F
22 1 222 223 224 225 226 227 228 229 230 23 1 232 233 234 235 236 237 238 239 240 24 1 242 243 244 245 246 247 248 249 250 25 1 252 253 254 255 256 257 258 259 260

Cl

"F

C,

,998 ,996 ,993 .99 1 ,989 ,987 .985 .982 ,980 .978 .976 .974 .972 .970 .968 ,965 .963 .96 1 .959 ,957 .955 .953 .95 1 .949 .947 .945 .943 .94 1 .939 .937 ,935 .933 .931 .929 .927 .925 .924 .922 ,920 .9 18

101 102 103 104 105 106 107
108

.9 16 ,914 .912 .910 .909 .907 .905 ,903 .901 ,899 .898 .896 .894 ,892 .890 .889 ,887 .885 .883 .882
.880 .878 .876 .875 .873

141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 160 161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 169 170 171 172 173 174 175 176 177 178 179 180

,787 ,786 ,784 ,783 .781 .780 .779 .777 .776 .775 ,773 .772 .77 1 .769 .768 .767 ,765 .764 ,763 .76 1 .760 .759 .758 .756 .755 ,754 .753 .75 1 .750 .749 ,747 ,746 .745 .744 .743 .74 1 .740 .739 .738 ,736

.735 .734 .733 .732 .730 .729 .728 ,727 .726 .724 .723 .722 .721 ,720 .719 .717 .7 16 .715 .714 .7 13 .7 12 .7 1 1 ,710 .708 .707 .706 ,705 ,704 .703 .702 .701 .700 .698 ,697 .696 .695 .694 .693 .692 .69 1

26 1 262 263 264 265 266 267 268 269 270 27 1 272 27 3 274 275 276 277 278 279 280 28 1 282 283 284 285 286 287 288 289 290 29 1 292 293 294 295 296 297 29 8 299 0 3O

,690 .689 .688 .687 .686 .685 ,683 .682 .68 1 ,680 .679 .678 .677 .676 .675 ,674 .673 ,672 .67 1 .670 .669 .668 ,667 ,666 .665 .664 .663 .662 .66 1 .660 .659 ,658 .657 .656 ,655 .654 .654 .653 .652 .65 1

109 110
111 112 113 114 115

116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 I27 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140

86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 1O 0

.871 .870 .868 .866 .865 .863 .861 .860 ,858 .856

.808 .807 .805 .804 .803
.801 ,800 .798 .797 .795 .794 .793 .79 1 .790 ,788

.855 .853 .85 1 .850 .848

Where: Cl = 1/[1.O

+ ("F-60) x MPb]

And for P v less than 1238 psia b M = 3.054 X Pb~2/10000000 1.934 X Pbv/1000 - 2.26/1000 + and for P v greater than 1238 psia b M = 1.840 X P~v2/10000000 2.298 X Pbv/lOOO - 0.267 + Based on SPE paper 18871 by H. W. Winkler and P. T. Eads, Algorithm for more accurately predicting nitrogen-charged gas lift valve operation at high pressures and temperatures. Presented at SPE production operations symposium in Oklahoma City, OK, March 13-14, 1989

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Gas Application and Gas Facilities for Gas Lift

Test Rack Settings
This method of setting test rack opening pressure P,, allows air pressure to be applied to the valve seat as the drawing shows in Fig. 4-4. The pressure in the bellows acts downward (over the bellows area) and the test rack opening pressure acts upward (over the bellows area less the port area). The calculated test rack opening P,, pressure is as follows: Equation 4.4 Equation 4.5 The test rack opening calculation is based on the corrected bellows pressure at 60°F Pb and the valve data A b and A,.
Bellows

One of these cases occurs when gas is injected at volumetric flow rates high enough to cause friction loss. That is, as the velocity of the gas increases inside the pipe, the pipe resists the flow and friction develops between the gas and the pipe walls. The effect of friction is particularly noticeable in miniaturized casing (for example, 1'/4-inch nominal tubing with 2.30-inch O.D. collars used inside 2.441-inch I.D. casing). Another example of friction loss occurs at high annular (casing) fluid flow rates where gas is injected down the tubing and into the annulus at a high rate for lifting purposes. These high rate applications, such as in some Middle East wells, can lead to a significant friction loss in the gas flowing down the tubing. In the Gulf Coast area, the problem is usually found in wells with small casing. Gas pressure loss in miniaturized casing is made up of two components: first, the friction caused by the gas flowing between the pipe body and the small casing and, second, the more serious problem of friction caused by gas flowing between the tubing coupling (collar) and the casing. Often, this small clearance (approximately O. 14-inch) causes a flow restriction and loss of pressure similar to a choke (sometimes called gas stacking). The methods used to predict the pressure loss inside the small casing are only approximate because the non continuous outside diameter on the tubing is difficult to model. Usually, the pipe body diameter is assumed to be uniform and the pressure (friction) loss with depth is calculated. An estimate of the pressure loss due to the collars (stacking) can be made. First, a pipe diameter equivalent to the tubing pipe body is used and the pressure profile is observed. Second, a case is run with the diameter equivalent to the collar outside diameter. This effect is observed and results compared. The effect of excessive friction loss on the gas lift valve is a downhole gas pressure that is different from the value used i n the design. Thus, the valve operation would be erratic or perhaps the valves would prematurely close because the pressure at the valve is lower due to the choking effect of the collars.

ATMOSPHERE Pa

Fig. 4-4 - Setting test rack opening pressure

Gas Injection in the Annulus or Tubing
High pressure gas for injection into the well is usually supplied to the gas system from the gas compressor (or high pressure gas well) and the gas pressure and rate must be measured and recorded so that actual values are known rather than assumed. The gas pressure will'decrease as it passes through the adjustable choke upstream of the wellhead assembly. The wellhead gas pressure is required for design purposes. One aspect of design is the change of gas pressure with depth. In most cases, injection gas is put into the tubing-casing annulus of the gas lift well and the gas pressure increases with depth due to the weight (density) of the gas. Tables or figures, such as Figures 4-5 and 4-6 give the increased pressures with depth. These curves show the gas pressure profile with depth and each line represents a different surface gas pressure. Although the gas pressure usually increases with depth, there are cases in which gas pressure could decrease with depth.
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In a typical well, the gas profile will increase with depth because the weight of the gas increases the pressure. However, the exceptions are the cases just reviewed where significant friction losses actually result i n a pressure decrease (with depth) because the friction loss is greater than the weight-generated increase.
Since the typical well has negligible friction due to use of large casing, the design requirement becomes one of estimating the pressure at depth for the gas specific gravity used in the system.
In most systems compressing low pressure separator gas to injection pressure, the high pressure gas specific gravity will be from 0.7 to 0.8. When the reservoir fluid has

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Pressure, PSlG
800 O

900

1000

1100

1200

1300

1400

1500

1600 1700

1O00

2000

3000

4000

5

5000

tl

e 6000
7000

8000

9000

10 O00

900

1000

1100

1200

1300

1400

1500

1600 1700

Fig. 4-5 - Gas pressure profile with O. 7 SG Gas
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Pressure, PSlG
800 O

900

1000 1100 1200 1300

1400' 1500

1600

1700

1O00

2000

3000
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4000

5000
u ,
Q)

G

e 6000 n
7000 8000

9000

10 O00
900

1000

1100

1200

1300

1400 1500

1600

1700

Fig. 4-6 - Gas pressure profile with 0.8 SC Gas

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l -

(3

5 e

c ! a
F

v)

2 e
r r

v)

O O

d

d

ò

d

Gas Gradient, PSI/FT

Fig. 4-7 - Injection Gas Gradients

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CD O

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O

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O

m

O O
(o

significant C4 to c components, the gas specific gravity at 6 injection pressure will be approximately 0.8. Gas sampling at the injection gas meter and chromatograph analysis will give a reliable gas gravity. Figure 4-5 shows gas pressure versus depth for a specific gravity of 0.7 while Fig. 4.6 gives pressure versus depth for a specific gravity of 0.8. For other conditions, a gas gradient chart is shown in Fig. 4-7. The graph can be used to estimate the gas gradient (psi/ ft) for use i n a gas pressure at depth calculation. Start with the surface injection pressure (1000 psig), go to the gas specific gravity (0.8), and read the gas gradient (0.04 1 psi/ft). At a depth of 5000 ft., the gas pressure would be 1000 + (0.041 x 5000) or approximately 1205 psig. The user can read the figures at 0.7 and 0.8 gas specific gravity or use the chart to estimate pressure gradient. This pressure at depth is important to design and gas passage calculations.

Fig. 4-8t.4) - Gas flow capacities (0-9750 MCF/D) for known upstream pressure, downstream pressure, and fice size. Courtesy Camco

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Flow Through the Gas Lift Valve Gas passage through a gas lift valve is the common method for introducing gas into the fluid stream. If gas flow through the valve is restricted, the density of the fluid column (in continuous flow)will not be sufficiently reduced or the slug (in intermittent flow) will not be efficiently displaced. Thus this flow through the gas lift valve is a critical item. However, for thelow rate wells typical of some Gulf Coast locations, gas passage has not usually been a problem. For the high flow rate international oil fields, valve gas passage characteristics are important to successful operation of the well. Gas passage through a particular valve is difficult to predict. Some data, based static probe tests dynamic on and flow tests (mentioned in the section on gas lift valve mechanics), are available. However, this section will cover differential pressure: that is, the difference between the gas pressure at the location and the fluid pressure at the same location, and the flow capacity of the valve as a square-edged orifice. This orifice assumption is always not valid because the stem and the seat do not always have an open area equal to a square-edged orifice.

Orì-

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Gas Lift orifice. A square-edge orifice is the device used in positive chokes for controlling the production from flowing oil wells and gas wells. Accuracy diminishes when applied to gas lift valves. However, the flow equation is usually the best method readily available for estimating gas passage through a valve orifice (port). Charts such as shown in Fig. 4-8 (A) (B) and (C) have been prepared using the Thornhill-Craver equation. They give the gas flow capacity for a known (upstream) gas pressure, (downstream) fluid pressure, and port size (orifice). These charts typically are based on a fixed temperature(usually60°F) and gasgravity(usually0.65).Gas volumes must be corrected for other conditions. Variations i n gas gravity and higher temperatures in the well influence chart accuracy. If the gas temperature approaches fluid flow temperature, volume flow rates through the valve are less than the estimate obtained from the chart. Because of this, downhole gas rates are usually

Differential pressure is the difference between the gas pressure at the valve and the fluid pressure at the valve. A high differential pressure drives the gas into the fluid column. Conversely, at a very low differential pressure, sufficient gas cannot pass and enter into the fluid. Often a minimum of 50 psi is used as a difference between the operating gas pressure and the production. However, inability to accurately estimate the gas pressure at depth and the fluid pressure at depth can result in a differential less than 50 psi. Under such a condition, the well does not unload, or the point of gas injection doesnot transfer, to the next valve. High gas flow rates through a valve demand higher injection gas pressure and higher differential pressure. At an operating point, a minimum pressure differential of 100 to 200 psi should beusedbetweenthegas and thefluid columns for design purposes. Gas flow capacity is usuallyestimatedwiththe Thornhill-Craver equations for flow through a square-edge

GAS

THROUGHPUT IN

MCFD

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corrected to the chart conditions before estimating the port size requirement from the chart. Fig. provides informa4-9 tion for correcting thegas volume to other conditions of gas gravity and temperature. The restriction to gas flow through a gas lift valve is caused by a port being only partially open. A reduction in the gas pressure outside the bellows causes the stem to start to close in response to the nitrogen pressure force inside the bellows. As the valve goes from a full-open position to a closed position, the effective orifice (port) area never corresponds to a completely full-open square-edge orifice that

is the basis for the Thornhill-Craver charts unless thevalve
is full open.

This restriction to gas flow may affect unloading operations and the well may not operate according to initial design. The small gas passage rate prevents aeration of the fluid column or prevents slug formation for intermittent lifting. The user of the charts should be aware that a gas lift valve probably does not have the exact gas passage characteristics indicated on the chart. Efforts areunderway within the industry to correct this problem and one valve manufacturer has published empirically determined dynamic valve performance data for its continuous flow valves.

GAS

THROUGHPUT IN MCFD

Fig. 4-8(C) - Gas flow capacities (0-20,000 MCF/D) for known upstream pressure, downstream pressure, Focht fice size. Courtesy F: í?

and ori-

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BA818: Correction Factor = 0.0644 Where: G = Ga8 Gravity (Air T = Temperature, O R .

--`````,`,,``,,,````,`,```,,,-`-`,,`,,`,`,,`---

= 1.0)

300

2 80

200

240

290

zoo
1ao

1 60

140

120

1O0

60

60

40
.@O

36

1.o0

1.O6

1.10

1.16

1.20

1.26

1.30

1.36

1. i o

1. i 6

1.50

11 .

CORRECTION FACTOR

Fig. 4-9 - Correction factor chart for gaspassage charts. From Camco Gas Lift Manual

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SURFACE GAS FACILITIES
System Design Considerations
Gas lift wells are not the only component, they are part of a gas lift system that includes the reservoir, flowline, injection line, separators, treating facilities, compressors and meters. Maximum production, effective use of gas, and lowest investment and operating expense resultwhen the entire system is planned properly. Current computer technology provides methods to analyze systems so that the“best” values for separatorpressure, injection pressure, flowline size and tubing casing size can be selected. Gas requirements now and for the future can be estimated. The money spent for computer technology is repaid by higher production rates, fewer operating problems, and lower investment. However, investment for gas lift facilities depends on gas sourceand quality. A good source for gas lift gas is a constant pressure, dry gas such as that obtained from a gas processing (NGL) plant. This gas source is good because the pressure is constant and the gas canbe compressed to a higher pressure, if necessary. Secondly, a dry gas without hydrocarbon liquid and water reduces operational problems such as corrosion, hydrate formation (frozen water and hydrocarbons), and liquid drop-out (condensation) accumulating in low spots in the line. If other sources must be used, such as gas well gas or separator gas, then any one of a number of processes such as compression, dehydration, hydrocarbon processing or sweetening might be required before transporting the gas to the wells. The gas distribution system can be one of two basic designs: (1) A direct connection from the compressor station to each well, and (2) A main trunk line with individual distribution headers to local wells. The advantage of a direct connection system is that any pipeline problem affectsonly one well. Itis very useful for small systems that have limited number of wells and short a pipelines. The second, ortrunk line, method is applicable to large land or offshore (remote wellhead platform) systems. It provides local distribution to each well and permits several compressor stations to be connected in parallel so that the loss of any one station does not shut down the entire system. With such a system gas is made up from the other stations (provided that sufficient compression capacity exists) when one partof the system is down for any reason. A modification to the main trunk line systemis the use of a distribution ring so that gas can flow to a local distribution header from either direction. the take-off point, the At distribution header sends the flow to each well through a directly connected pipeline. This trunk line or ring method typically minimizesinvestment requirement for a large field area because the main trunk line is less expensive than a
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large number of individual lines. However, major field studies should include a comparison of the economics of each method since the cost of pipe and installation varies with the location.

Gas Conditioning
Water Vapor andthe heavier gashydrocarbons will condense i n a distribution system and cause either hydrates (freezing) or liquid slugging. Sometimes the heavy hydrocarbon components must be removed by local field processing. A refrigeration system, ora compressionlexpansion cooling method, can be used to cool the gas stream and condense the liquid hydrocarbons. Only a very rich gas composition causesliquidhydrocarboncondensation.Typicalsituationswherethisoccurs are: (1) separation at very low pressures where the gas stream going to compression has a high fraction of heavy hydrocarbons, (2) where cold environmental temperatures cool the gas and condense the heavy elements. Hydrocarbon removal may not be necessary in all cases but water should always be removed for good system performance. A cooling facility remove hydrocarbons often removes to a significant amountof water vapor i n the gas. If a processingfacilityisunnecessary, then gasdehydration with trimethylene glycol absorption is most commonly used to remove the water vapor from the gas stream. Water in a gas lift system causes corrosion, liquid slugs, and hydrates. However, when sour gases are not present, the gas does not have to be “bone” dry. If no sour gases are present, the acceptable amount of water is usually set by the operator, using an estimate of lowest possible gas temperatures on cold winter nights. The lowest anticipated temperature can be used to predict hydrates with the Katz curves, Fig. 4-10. If “freezing” occurs at the lower temperatures, water removal (105 lb I million scf gas) can be estimated, Fig. 4-1 1. For example, at 1000 psia and 120”F, the water content is 105 lb / million scf gas. At a “freezing” (hydrate) conditionof 40°F and 1000 psia, the water content is 9 lb / million scf. Dehydration must remove 96 lb / million scf for the gas to flow at 40°F without “freezing.” If the “freezing” temperature occurs infrequently, methanol can be injected for a limited time until the gas temperature rises above the “freezing” point. Methanol (and other liquids) depresses the “freezing” temperature. Catalytic heaters may also be used at input chokes or other points where gas expands and cools below the “freezing” temperature. These methods can reduce the size of the requiredglycoldehydrationsystemillustrated in Fig. 4- 12.

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Gas with excessive carbon dioxide (COZ)or hydrogen sulfide (HzS) can cause operating problems such as corrosion, excessive compressor maintenance, fuel contamiand nation. These impurities are also potential safety hazards. One typeof sweetening facility, applied when gas cannot be used in the field, extractsboth C02 and HzS (sour acid gas) with an amine absorption process.In this system, the amine solutions are contacted by the gas flow stream the acid and gas constituents are extracted. The sweet gas returns to the system while the amine solutions are treated remove the C02 and H2S.

When proper inhibition systemsand metallurgy are used in the gas lift and well facilities, gas with H2S and or CO2 can be used provided a good glycol dehydration facility removesthewatervapor.However, careful monitoring should be used to assure that such systems are functioning properly at all times.

Reciprocating Compression
The reciprocating compressor isa very flexible machine in gas lift applications and has proven very popular over

EXAMPLE: l . Gas at 1000 psia, 70” F, 0.7 sp. gravity does not “freeze” (this point is just below the hydrate formation condition for 0.7 sp. gr. gas)

2. Gas at 1000 psia, 40” F, 0.7 sp. gravity will “freeze”

Fig. 4-10 - Hydrate-formation conditions for natural gas. Katz, et al., Handbook of Natural Gas Engineering

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1. Gas at 1000 psia, 120" F has a water Content Of 105 Ib/million scf 2. Gas at 1000 psia, 4'O°F has a water Content Of 9 Ib/million scf

-70 -60 -50 -40-30 -20-10 O 1 20 3040 0

60

80 1 0 1 0 1 0 160 0 2 4
Temperoture, deg F

200 230 260 300

400

500

600

700

W a t e r content of natural gar in equilibrium with liquid water.

Fig . 4-11 - Water content of natural gas in equilibrium with water. Katz, et al., Handbook of Natural Gas Engine

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Gas rate. Curves in Fig 4- can be used to estimate horsepower 13 requirements. The estimating technique requires an overall compression ratio (discharge absolute pressure divided by suction absolute pressure) and a breakdown of this ratio into stages. Typically, the compression ratioper stage should be between 2.0 and 3.8. Higher ratios tend to raise the discharge temperature in the compressor cylinder to a value that causes maintenance problems. The horsepower is read from the curves (given a compression ratio gas specific and gravity) as an uncorrected horsepower permillion cubic feet of gas compressed. Horsepower read from the curves is corrected using the temperature and deviation factors of the gas at actual flowing conditions. These curves, along with a more detailed description for estimating compressor horsepower, are contained in the GPSA Engineering Data Book (see reference number 32.)

the years in most Gulf Coast systems. Reciprocating compression is typically used where a low suction pressure must gas be compressed to a high discharge pressure and the volume flow rate is sufficiently low that a centrifugal machine would not apply. Reciprocating compressors are capable of handling varying suction discharge pressures and changes in gas specific gravity or gas flow rate. These compressors can be skid-mounted installed on and location quickly then moved when service is terminated. The high speed-skid mounted units typically have a separable compressor driven by a 1000 rpm engine of 1500 (or less) horsepower. The larger, low speed, integral units (power and compressor cylinders on the same frame) are installed i n stations with numerous support utility systems. These 300 rpm units are available in sizes up to 3000 horsepower. The drivers for the compressors are usually gas engine units but may be electric motors if the proper voltagepower source is available. The reciprocating compressors attain their rate flexibility (and field desirability) by unloading cylinder ends or by adding clearance chambers (bottles). Their primary limitation is their low throughput gas volume. For high flow rates at international locations, or offshore, a centrifugal machine may better fit the application. Horsepower will depend on the pressure change from suction to discharge, gas specific gravity, and throughput

Centrifugal Compression
Centrifugal compressors are more popular where higher throughput volumes are required. A centrifugal compressor is a high speed rotating machine driven by a turbine or an electric motor that also operates at high rotating speeds. The centrifugal compressor can take the gas from a low

Fig. 4-12 - Glycol Dehydration Unit- Courtesy of PETEX
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EXAMPLE:

l . Suction Pressure = 55 psia (40 psig)
2. Discharge Pressure = 1250 psia (1235 psig) 3. Overall CR = 1250/55 = 22.7
4. Brake HP/million CU. ft. 195 = (This is gas compression only. Need additional HP for coolers/pumps)

5. See GPSA for temperature and Z factor correction

6. Use 3 stage machine to keep discharge temperature lower and reducemaintenance problems.
Approximatepowerrequiredto compress gases

Fig. 4 - 1 3 -Approximate Horsepower Required

to Compress Gases. GPSA-Engineering Data Book

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0732290 0 5 3 2 8 8 7 7 TL
Gas Lift ever, tests with water are safer). Another example is liquid hydrocarbons or water. Where water is used for testing, a Methanolflushcanbeusedtoremoveanywaterthat remains in thesystem. The system design should also include cooling and dehydration processes that would eliminate liquid condensation in the system. Even with these precautions, liquid removal taps should be located at convenient low elevation spots in the station or in the pipeline distribution system. Frequent pigging may also be required to remove water standing in low spots. Gas Metering

an electric motor that also operates at high rotating speeds. The centrifugal compressor can take the gas from a low suction pressure through a discharge pressure adequate for gas lift injection purposes if the throughput volume is adequate for the machine and if multiple compressor wheels with interstage cooling are used. The centrifugal machines, because of their high rotating speed, can develop a significant amount of horsepower and yet be a physically small package as compared to reciprocating compressors. In addition, they do not have the massive frames of the reciprocating machines, nor do they have the vibrations detrimental to offshore platform facilities.

Orifice meter measuring of gas lift gas is one of the easiest One critical point in centrifugal compression: the comand most inexpensivemeasurementmethods.However, pressor wheels do not operate satisfactorily at conditions othermeanssuchasvortexsheddingmeters,turbine significantly different than initial design. For example, assume the gas specific gravity drastically changes because meters, or positive displacement meters can also be used. of gas flow stream alteration. The machine may operate at a This discussion will be limited to the use of orifice meters with either chart recordersor flow computers since they are very low efficiency or perhaps not at all. Thus,the user must be very conscious of changes that might alter either specific the most commonly used devices for measuring gas. The orifice can be used to measure gas because the flow rate of gravity, temperature, or pressure of the gas. gas is proportional to the differential pressure across the orifice plate. The higher the flow rate through a given Horsepower estimates are based on the overall compresorifice size, the greater the differential pressure across the sion ratio, pressure, temperature, specific gravity of the and orifice. Rate estimating examples in the GPSA book progas. The methods, for making these initial estimates are vide this calculation information. Fig. 4-14 shows GPSA contained in the GPSA Engineering Data Book section on nomenclature used in these calculations. centrifugal compressors. Piping and Distribution System Piping, separation, cooling, dehydration, and compression, all must be designed logically to minimize investment and yet provide good operating and maintenance qualities. One of the main requirements in gas handling facilities is to provide separationand scrubbing that prevents liquid carryover into a compressor. Typically, both inlet separation and suction scrubbers are necessary. Manifold suction headers should minimize pressure losses to 1 psi. The suction discharge pulsation bottles for reciprocating compressors must be designed to dampen pressure pulses as well as withstand vibration (to prevent cracks due vibrato tion). An adequate discharge delivery system, away from the compressors, is required in order to feed gas to downstream coolers and separators prior to glycol dehydration. The glycol system should contain heat exchanger cooling between the gas stream and the glycol as well as a method for easy access and maintenance of the glycol reboiler. Gas distribution piping should also contain facilities for liquid removal. The need for later liquid removal may be avoided by not putting liquid into a gas system. For example, during system testing (after construction) a nitrogen purge and nitrogen pressure test can be used rather than water (howThe typical method for recording the flow ratethrough an orifice is to use the chart recorder. Charts can be either square root chartsor standard charts but square root charts are most commonly used. Two readings from the square root chart are used instead of the actual gas pressure at the meter and the differential pressure across the orifice. The differential reading can be set and adjusted by an adjustable choke placed just downstream of the meter. Differential reading, pressure reading, temperature, specific gravity, orifice size, and other factors areused to calculate the flow rate (Fig. 4-15). The square root chart equation is: Qg (thousand scf/d) = Cp x C x (24 Hour Coefficient) h Equation 4.6 Where, Cp= Gas pressure reading for a square root chart C = Gas differential reading for a square root chart h 24 Hour Coefficient = A constant calculated for the meter tube, orifice plate, temperature and gas specific gravity. The flow rate is proportional to changes in the differential reading, making this an easy method for estimating gas throughout and adjusting the choke.

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Intermittent Flow Gas Lift

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a

A

= maximum transverse dimension of a straightening vane passage = cross sectional area of any passage within an assembled straightening vane ratio of the orifice diameter to the internal diameter of the meter run, dimensionless the product of multiplying all orifice correction factors volume indicated by th,e number of pulses or counts liquid pressure correction factor. Correction for the change in volume resulting from application of pressure. Proportional to the liquid compressibility factor, which depends upon both relative density and temperature. See API, Manual of Petroleum Measurement Standards, Chapter 12, Section 2 correction factor for effect of pressure on steel gravity correction factor for orifice well tester to change from a gas specific gravity of 0.6 liquid temperature correction factor. Proportional to the thermal coefficient which varies with density and temDerature correction factor for effect of temperature on steel orifice diameter, in. pipe diameter (published) Of Orifice meter run, in. orifice edge thickness, in. orifice plate thickness, in. liquid compressibility factor orifice thermal expansion factor. Corrects for the metallic expansion or contraction of the orifice plate. Generally ignored between O" and 120 "F basic orifice factor specific gravity factor applied to change from a specific gravity of 1.0 (air) to the specific gravity of the flowing gas gravity temperature factor for liquids gauge location factor manometer factor. Applied only to mercury meters units conversion factor for pitot tubes pressure base factor applied to change the base pressure from 14.73 psia

F,
Fsl

= steam factor, mercury meter = sealfactorforliquid.Appliedonly =

Ftb

P =
C'
=

Ftf =

CNT = CpI
=

F ,

=

G, GI = Gf = H = h, = h, h,
=
=

c,, c,
Ctl

=

= =

dh,pr =
k
= =

c,,
d

=

=

D
e E F F,

=
= = = =

K

L M MF

= = =

Fb

=

Fg =

P = Pf = P,
Q
Qh

Fgt
Fwl

= = = =
=

= =
= = = =

F, F,,
Fpb

Rh R,

Fpm

= pressure factor

Fv p

F,

F,

to meter volumes to 'Orrect to standard pressure = supercompressibility factor required tocorrect for deviation from the ideal gas laws = d 1/Z = Reynolds number factor. To correct the calculated basic orifice factor to the actual flowing Reynolds number = steam factor

S Tb
Tf Y

=

to mercury meters temperature base factor. To change the temperature base from 60 "F to another desired base flowing temperature factor to change from the assumed flowing temperature of 60 "F to the actual flowing temperature temperature correction factor applied to displacement meter volumes to correct to standard temperature specific gravity at 60 "F specific gravity at flowing temperature pressure, inches of mercury differential pressure measured across the orifice plate in inches of mercury at 60 "F differential reading on L-IO chart (see p. 3-42) differential pressure measured across the orifice plate in inches of water at 60 "F pressure extension. The square root of the differential pressure times the square root of the absolute static pressure ratio of specific heat at constant pressure to the specific heat at constant volume a numerical constant. Pulses generated per unit volurne through a turbine or positive displacement meter length of straightening vane element meter factor, L-10 charts meter factor, a number obtained by dividing the actual volume of liquid passed through the meter during proving by the volume registered by the meter pressure, psia static pressure at either the upstream or downstream pressure tap, psia pressure reading on L-10 chart gas flow rate, C U ftlday rate of flow, usually in CU ft/hr or gal/hr maximum differential range, in. of water maximum pressure range of pressure spring, psi square of supercompressibility absolute temperature of reference or base condition,

"R
= flowing temperature,
= expansion factor to compensate for the change in

density as the fluid passes through an orifice YCR = critical flow constant Z = compressibility factor

Fig. 4-14 - GPSA Nomenclature used in gas metering

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Gas Lift lated in cubic feet (or some multiple) much like a positive displacement counter. This totalizer method measures the cubic feet of gas input into the well for any lapsed time, be it six-hour test, a four-hour test, or a seven-day period. This feature is extremely useful for both short term as well as longterm analysis of the well because well testing accuracy is improved.

The flow computer, an electronic device, is sometimes used tocalculategasrate.Itcandisplaythevalueas a cumulative amount or provide an instantaneous rate reading. The device has dials that can be adjusted by the a electronicsspecialist to correspond to temperature, meter tube, orifice diameter, and specific gravity factors. Althoughthe flow computerdisplays the flowrateasa percent of full scale, more importantly, the volume is tabu--`````,`,,``,,,````,`,```,,,-`-`,,`,,`,`,,`---

EXAMPLE GASRATE (Factors from GPSAl
f'
Io

?
Lo

r

Q (thousand scf/d) = hu*Pu*24 Hour Coefficient
1. Gas Pressure at Meter (Pr) = 888 psig from Pg at Meter = (hu)2 Rp/l O0 - 14.7 2. FPV= 1.O98 from Z = 0.83 for Pt = 888 psig, Tt = 1O0 "F 3. Fb = 210.22 from orifice = 1.000, meter tube = 2.067
4. Ftf = 0.9636

from T, = 100 "F 5. Fg = 1.1547 from Gf = 0.75 (Gas SP. GR.) 6. M = 3.162 from Rh = 100 R p = 1000 7. 24 Hour Coeff = 0.024.Fpv-Fb-Ftf*Fg.M = 19.5
8. Q = 9.5.6.5.19.5
= 1200 (thous. sCf/d)

(See Figure 4-14 for GPSA Nomenclature usedthis in section)

Fig. 4-15 - Example problem square root (L-IO) chart.

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Gas Lift Valves

CHAPTER 5 GAS LIFT VALVES
INTRODUCTION
The heart of anygas lift system is the gas lift valve. Gas lift valves are basically downhole pressure regulators. The functional elements of a pressure regulator and a gas lift valve are similar. A spring in the regulator (Fig. 5-1A), asin the gas lift valve (Fig. 5-1B), forces the stem tip against the seat. The diaphragm of the pressure regulator andthe bellows of the gas lift valve provide an area of influence for upstream pressure greater than the port area. The force that results from this combination of upstream pressure and diaphragm or bellows area acts in a direction to overcome the force of the spring. When this force of pressure times area exceeds the force of the spring, the stem tip moves away from the seat, opening the valve. Both the pressureregulatorandthegas l i f t valveillustratedare controlling the upstream pressure. The regulated upstream pressure is a function of spring force and effective diaphragm or bellows area. Practically all gas lift valves use the effect of pressure acting on the area of a valve element (bellows, stem tip, etc) to cause the desired valve action. A knowledge of pressure, force, and area is required to understand the operation of most gas lift valves. API Spec. llVlS0 covers the manufacture of gas lift valves.

DIAPHRAGM /

UPSTREAM

DOWNSTREAM

Pressure regulator (A)

Gas lift valve (B)

Fig. 5-1 - Elements of a Pressure Regulator and a Gas Lift Valve

VALVE MECHANICS
Pressure is force per unit area. The commonoil field unit of pressure is pounds per square inch (psi). Thepound is the force and one square inch is the unit area. As the value of psi changes, the force changes (not the one square inch of area).
If a pressure and area are known (Fig. 5-2)., the total force (F) action on the entirearea is found by multiplying the pressure times the area (A).

Force (Pounds) = Pressure (psi) x Area (sq. in.) If A =
in.

AndP = 10 psi

F =PxA
Then F = 10 x 3 = 30 Pounds
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" +

Equation 5.1

A T IIT L E x V T - h P
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Gas Lift

n
A

Basic Components of Gas Lift Valves
Most valve designs use the same basic components. The arrangement of the components may vary. The basic valve (Fig. 5-3C) usually includes a bellows, a chamber (dome) formed by one end of the bellows and the wall and end of the valve, and a port that is opened or closed by a stem tip. The stem tip is larger than the port and is attached to the bellows by the stem. All of the illustrations in Fig. 5-3 have the same basic components. The piston in Fig. 5-3(A) has no seal, so the dome cannot be isolated. In Fig. 5-3(B), the piston has an O-ring seal. Fair isolation of the dome is obtained with the O-ring. Small leakage by the O-ring over long periods and friction of the O-ring cause this form of piston sealing to be impractical. A metal bellows forms the seal in Fig. 5-3(C). The lower end of the bellows is welded to a solid plug. The upper end of the bellows is welded to the valve. Convolutions (wrinkles) i n the bellows provide the flexibility required for movement. A bellows type seal is used in the majority of gas lift valves.

1

t

F

Fig. 5-2 - Force Diagram

DOME

PISTON

STEM TI P PORT

No piston seal

O-Ring piston seal

Bellows piston seal

(A)

(B)

(C)

Fig. 5-3 - Basic Gas Lift Valve Components
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Gas Lift Valves

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Closing Force
Many gas lift valves (Fig. 5-4) have gas pressure (Pb) trapped in the dome. This pressure acts on the area of the bellows and creates a force (Fb) that is applied to the stem. The stem tip is forced into contact with the upper edge (seat) of the port. The stem tip and seat portion of the port are finely matched (often lapped) to form a seal. When the dome pressure (Pb) and bellows area (Ab) are known, the force holding the stem tip against the seat is:
--`````,`,,``,,,````,`,```,,,-`-`,,`,,`,`,,`---

When the stem tip is seated on the port, PI does not act
on the entire bellows area (Ab). The area of the stem tip (A,)

in contact with the seat (Fig. 5-5A) forms part of the bellows area (Ab).A, is isolated from PI by the stem tip and seat. The area acted onby pressure PI is the bellows area minus the area of the stem tip isolated by the seat (Ab-A,). The opening force resulting from pressure PI applied through the side opening is:
Fol = PI (Ab - Ap) Equation 5.3

AbF, F, Pb A b

= Pb

Equation 5.2

= Closing force. = Pressure inside the dome space sealed by the

The area of the stem tip in contact with the seat (A,) is acted upon by pressure (Pz) applied through the port. The opening force contributed by this combination is: FAp= P2 0 2 Equation 5.4

bellows and valve housing.
= Area of the bellows.

The total opening force is the sum of these two forces: F" = F n I

+ Foz

Equation 5.5 Equation 5.6

F = PI (Ab - Ap) o

+ P2Ap

Just before the valve port opens, the opening force and the closing force are equal. F, = F, PI (Ab - Ap) Equation 5.7 Equation 5.8

+ P2Ap = Pb&

Solving for PI (injection pressure required to balance opening and closing forces prior to opening an injection pressure operated valve under operating conditions. Fig. 5-5A): PI (Ab - Ap) = Pb Ab Divide each term byAb:

-Ap2 P

Equation 5.9

- Ratio of port area to bellows area.
(Obtained from manufacturer's specs.) Divide both sides by 1 - A,: Ab
-

Schematic

(B)
Fig. 5-4 - Closing Force Diagrams

-

/Ab) - P2 Pb (Ap
1 - (A, /Ab)

Equation 5.11

Is the pressure in contact with the valve bellows. Is the pressure in contact with that portion of the stem tip sealed by the seat (port).

Opening Forces
A valve (Fig. 5 - 5 ) starts to open when the stem tip moves out of contact with the valve seat. This occurs when the opening force is slightly greater than the closing force, therefore, just before opening (Fo= R). Two forces usually work together to overcome the closing force (Fc). Pressure (PI) applied through the side opening and pressure (PZ) applied through the valve port are the pressure sources to produce the two opening forces.

Is the area of the portion the stem tip sealed by the seat. Opening force resulting from PI acting on the bellows area less the port area (Ab - Ap). Opening force resulting form PZ acting on the stem tip area in contact with the seat (port). Total opening force.

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Probe Test

A probe test of gas lift valve will establish the load rate of the valve. In addition, it establishes the maximum stem tip travel (to mechanical stops) and discloses stacking of the convolutions, excessive friction, and bellows yielding. The valve probe test consists of attaching a depth type micrometer to a valve i n a fashion that will allow the measurement of the stem tip displacement from the valve seatwhilepressure is applied. Pressure is incrementally applied above and below the stem tip in contact with the full bellows area. A displacement measurement is taken at each pressure increment.
Production Pressure Effect

Pictorial (A)

Schematic (B)

Fig. 5-5 - Opening Force Diagrams

As discussed earlier, the valve (Fig. 5-5A) is opened by the forces of PI acting on the area of the bellows less the area of the port (Ab - Ap), and PZacting on the stem tip area that is sealed by the seat. Without P2 to assist opening, PI would have to be somewhat greater. The Production Pressure Effect (PPE) represents the amount that the opening pressure (PI) is reduced as a result of the assistance of PZ.

The pressure (PI) determined by this equation is the balance pressure. Actually the valve stem tip is still on seat and only slight leakage by the stem tip and seat maybe observed. An increase in PI or PZ will move the stem tip proportionately further from the seat and allow more gas passage. A decrease in PI or P2 will load the stem tip harder against the seat and cause a tighter stem tip to seat seal. This is the case as the valve closes.
Valve Load Rate

PPE (sometimes referred to as tubing effect) is obtained by multiplying production pressure (Pz) by the area over which it is applied (Ap) and dividing the force obtained by the area (Ab - AP) over which the valve opening pressure (PI) acts. The result obtained is the amount the valve opening pressure (PI) is reduced in psi.

One definition of load rate is the measure of the amount of opening pressure required for each inch of valve stem travel (psihnch). The reciprocal of the load rate, inches of stem travel per psi of opening pressure (inchedpsi), is another form of load rate presentation. The compressibility of the nitrogen charge in the dome and the spring rate of the bellows (load increase per unit travel), prevents rapid full opening of most valves. Slight increases in PI or P2 normally cause only slight additional valve opening. The amount the valve opens with increases of PI or P2 depends upon the volume of the dome and the stiffness of the bellows. These two conditions can vary between manufacturers, as well as between valves of different styles, made by the same manufacturer. A “stiff’ valve has slight changes in opening and closing stem travel with respect to an increase or decrease in PI or PZ. “soft” valve A will have greater opening or closing stem travel changes with respect to the same increase or decrease in PI or P2. The gas lift design requirements dictate the type valve (hard or soft) required. A probe test is used to obtain the load rate of a particular valve design.

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Pictorial

Schematic

Fig. 5-6 - Closing Pressure Diagrams

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Equation 5.12

If the PPEF reported as a decimal, is
PPE= Pz PPEF And, if reported as a percentage, PPEF P E = P2 P 1O0 Closing Pressure The closing pressure of the valve (Fig. 5-6) will be equal to the injection gas opening pressure (Pl) if the production pressure remains constant. The minimum closing pressure is equal to the dome pressure (Pb) only at a time when the production, injection and dome pressure are equal. Equation 5.15 Equation 5.16

Equation 5.13 Equation 5.14 The ratio
(1 - Ad&)

is called the Production

Pressure Effect Factor (PPEF). Some texts refer to this ratio as Tubing Effect Factor (TEF).

VALVE CHARACTERISTICS
Dynamic Flow Test A dynamic flow consists of flowing gas through a gas test lift valve and measuring the gas passage at different pressure conditions. Information obtained from the dynamic flow test and the probe test for a particular valve are used together to predict gas passage and valve action at conditions other than test conditions. Fig. 5-7 represents data that were plotted from a typical dynamic flow test of an unbalanced single-element bellowscharged gas lift valve. Injection gas volumetric throughput is plotted against flowing production pressures using a constant injection pressure of 535 psig and 550 psig. Valve specifications and performance test conditions are included in Fig. 5-7. The curve shows that gas flows at each of two no distinct production pressure values for each injection pressure. One, at a production pressure equal to the injection gas pressure of 535 and 550 psig. At this point the valve is open, but the lack of an injection pressure to production pressure differential prevents gas flow. The second point of no flow is at a production pressure 218 and 294 psig. This of is the production closing pressure of the valve.

2

3

4

5

6

Flowing P r o d u c t i o n Pressure - 100 p s i g

Valve Spread
Spread is the difference between opening and closing pressure of an injection pressure operated gas lift valve when its primary opening and closing action is controlled by changes in injection gas pressure. It is obtained by subtracting the closing pressure from the opening pressure. Valve spread controls the minimum amount of gas injected into the tubing during each cycle in an intermittent gas lift installation. Even if surface injection gas is stopped after the operating valve is opened, the pressure in the annulus must bleed down from the opening pressure to the closing

Gas Lift Valve Specifications: Effective Bellows Area = 0.77 sq. in. Ball O.D. on Stem = 0.625 inches Port I.D. = 0.41 inches Angle of Tapered Seat = 45" Performance Tests: Constant Injection Gas Pressure= 535 and 550 psig Test Rack Closing Pressure = 485 psig Slope of ThrottlingRange = 9.3 Mscf/Day/psi'ApPf

Fig. 5-7 - Gas lift valve dynamic flow test (Courtesy Teledyne Merla)

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Gas Lift

pressure of the valve. Depending upon the spread of the valve and the volume of the annulus, the amount of gas injected during bleed-down may be more than is required for efficient operation. In an intermittent lift well, the valve spread should be set so that the amount of gas injected is less than the minimum required to move the slug to the surface. At somesubsequenttime,theamount of gas injected into the tubing can be increased by injecting gas into the annulus at the surface while the valve is open.
Bellows Protection

.PRESSURE SOURCE, (P,)

The bellows in a gas lift valve extends and or compresses to provide movement of the stem tip to open or close the valve. It is common for the bellows to be exposed to external pressures significantly higher than normal operating pressure. To prevent damage to the bellows during period of over pressure, all gas lift valves incorporate some form of bellows protection. Some of the techniques incorporated are as follows:
1. Limit bellows travel. a. Mechanical stops. b. Hydraulic stop using a confined liquid.

Fig. 5-8 - Test ruck

2. Reinforce bellows with support rings.
3. Hydraulically reform bellows convolutions at higher than normal external pressure.
4. Isolate bellows to prevent exposure to excessive pressure differentials.
--`````,`,,``,,,````,`,```,,,-`-`,,`,,`,`,,`---

used as a reference for adjusting the valve in the test rack, most of this work is done at 60*E In practice, a bellows charged valve is submerged in water maintained at 60°F prior to adjusting the opening pressure to the required value. A spring loaded valve does not require cooling before setting the test rack opening pressure. The opening pressure (PI) of a particular valve in the well, under operating conditions, is defined by the gas lift design. The design also specifies the production pressure and the temperature at the valve when it opens. The opening pressure (PI) of the valve has been defined as follows:

When a gas lift valve opens, pressure in the vicinity of the control elements (bellows and port) can fluctuate due to the dynamics of flow. These fluctuating pressures can result in valve chatter. Chatter is a sustained high opening and closing cycle rate. Chatter can alter the bellows' physical characteristics, resulting in changes of the valve's opening and closing pressures. If not controlled, chatter will usually cause damage to the ball and seat, and can rapidly result in fatigue failure of the bellows. Hydraulic dampening (dash pot) is a common means of preventing chatter.
Test Rack Opening Pressure

PI =

P1 - PZ(&/Ab) b 1 - (Ad&)

Equation 5.17

Note: In this equation, the generalized expression (Pb") for the pressure inside the dome has been replaced with the bellows charge pressure (Pbt) at well temperature. This equation can be rearranged to determine the valve charge (dome) pressure (PbI) required to obtain the specified opening pressure (PI),

The design of a gas lift system establishes the desired opening and closing pressure of a valve. Valves must be adjusted in a shop test rack (Fig. 5-8) to an opening pressure that will give the desired opening pressure in the well. Gas inside the fixed volume dome of a pressure charged valve will increase in pressure when heated and will decrease in pressure when cooled. The pressure change that occurs as a result of heating or cooling the fixed column of gas can be calculated. (See Temperature Corrections, Chapter 4,and Table 4-1.) It is not practical to set a valve to the required opening pressure at the temperature the valve will be operating in the well. Although any reasonable temperature could be

P t = PI (1 - Ad&) b

+ P2 (Ad&)

Equation 5.18

The dome pressure (Pbt) in this case is at the temperature of the valve in the well. Before obtaining the test rack opening pressure, the dome pressure (Pb,) must be corrected to the test rack temperature of 60°F (Pb1 @ 60°F). (See Temperature Corrections, Chapter 4,and Table 4-1.) The opening pressure (PI) equation with P v @ 60°F and b the pressure P2 of O psig applied over the seat area at test rack conditions (Pvo)becomes:

P""

b - P v @ 60°F 1 - (AdAb)

Equation 5.19

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TYPES OF GAS LIFT VALVES Classification of Gas Lift Valves by Application In the well, a valve is exposed to two pressure sources that control its operation. One is located in the tubing and the other in the casing. The valve is physically positioned between the two pressure sources. Both of the pressures are trying to open the valve. When the injected lift gas is in contact with the bellows (largest area of influence), the valve is called an injection pressureoperated valve (Fig. 5-9 A&B). When the produced fluid is in contact with the bellows, the valve is referred to as a production pressure (fluid) operated valve (Fig. 5-10 A&B). The valve may be identical in either case. As seen in the illustrations, the receptacle (mandrel) can control how the two pressure sources are ported to the valve. All calculations (opening pressure, closing pressure, etc.) for a production pressure (fluid) operated valve are the same as thosefor an injection pressure operated valve. It is necessary to insure that the action of the two pressure sources on the valve elements is properly represented. The opening pressure for the injection pressure operated valve (Fig. 5-9 A&B) has been determined to be: Pl
=

Production up the annulus

Production up the tubing

(A)

(B)

Fig. 5-10 - Production pressure operated valves

Pbt - P2(Ap /Ab) 1 - (Ap/Ab)

Equation 5.17

Injection pressure (PI) acts on the largest area of influence (Ab - AP)and production pressure (P2) acts on the area of the port (Ap).

A production pressure operated valve (Fig. 5-10 A&B) has the production pressure (PI) acting on the largest area of influence (Ab - Ap).The injection pressure (PZ)acts on the area of the port (Ap).
The opening pressure for the production pressure ated valve is: Oper-

Pl

=

Pbt - P2 (Ap /Ab) 1 - (Ap /Ab)

Equation 5.17

The opening pressure (PI) equation is the same for both cases. The convention of applying P I to the largest area of influence (Ab - AP)and (PZ)to the smallest areaof influence (A,) must be followed. Valves Used for Continuous Flow A valve used for continuous flow shouldmeter or throttle the gas throughput. The injectedgas volume is controlled at the surface. Valves Used for Intermittent Lift
Production up
(A)

the tubing Production

up the
(B)

annulus

Fig. 5-9 - Injection pressure operated valves
--`````,`,,``,,,````,`,```,,,-`-`,,`,,`,`,,`---

Intermittent lift usually requires a large volume of gas for a short period of time. Unlike valves used in continuous flow, a valve used for intermittent lift should fully open during injection and snap closed.

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Basic Valve Designs
l. Unbalanced Pressure Charged Valve:

An unbalanced spring valve withno dome pressure (Fig. 5-12) has the following force balance, just as the valve starts to open: Psp A = PI (Ab - Ap) b

This valve (Fig. 5-11) uses a nitrogen charged dome as the only loading element to cause closure. All earlier discussion was directed this to valve.

+ Ap P2

Equation 5.20

The equation may be rearranged solve tofor PS, based upon the desired conditions at valve depth and for particular valve specifications. Psp = PI (1 - Ap /Ab) + P2 (A, /Ab) Equation 5.2 1

The calculations are the same for an injection pressure operated valve, so long as the pressures are properly identified with respect to the area elements they are acting on. After Psp is determined, the test rack opening pressure may be calculated: PP S P”, =
(1 - Ap /Ab)

Equation 5.22

P*

Pressure valve
Fig. 5-11 - Unbalanced pressure charged valve

This equation is the same for the production pressure operated and the injection pressure operated valve. Test rack pressure contacts the bellows in both cases and the area of the stem tip in contact with the seat is a atmospheric pressure in each case.

3. Pilot Valves:
A pilot valve (Fig. 5- 13) offers the advantageof a large port combined with close control overvalve spread. The control section is an unbalanced gas lift valve. Casing

2. Unbalanced Spring Valve:

The dome of this valve (Fig. 5-12) does not contain a charge. For this reason, temperature effects are negligible and are normally not considered when setting the valve’s opening pressure. Typical high spring rates (force increase per unit stem travel), cause the spring valve to function like a variable orifice. This characteristic provides an infinite series of areas for gas passage. A fixed orifice is not normally used. Springs are most commonly applied within a valve in a fashion that causesa closing force. If this spring force (Fc) in pounds is divided by the area of the bellows (Ab) in square inches, a value for pressure (psi) is obtained. This pressure is referred to as Spring Pressure Effect, and is denoted PS,. A pressure of this magnitude placed in the bellows would provide the same valve closing force as the spring. For the purpose of calculations, Pspis used as a fictitious replacement of dome (bellows) charge pressure. Since effect temperature is negligible, P, represents the dome charge in the tester as well as at the operating depth.
--`````,`,,``,,,````,`,```,,,-`-`,,`,,`,`,,`---

Spring valve
valve Fig. 5-12 - Unbalanced spring

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Unlike conventional valves and mandrels (Fig. -16), the and tubing pressure act the control section the same on in 5 valve is installed within the interior portion of the sidewaythatthey do on an unbalanced injection prespocket mandrel (Fig.5-15B). The valve is reached by wiresure operated valve. When the control valve opens, the main valve (large port) opens: and when the control line run through the inside of the tubing (Fig. 5-14A). A valve closes, the main valve closes. flowing through Gas valve receiver (Pocket) forms a part of the mandrel and is offset from the main bore of the tubing and mandrel the small portof the control section acts the piston of on the main valve to open it. When the control valve closes,(Fig. 5-15B and 5-15C). In most cases, no through tubing restriction results. Tools that are normally run through the a spring returns the main valveto a closed position. tubing can still be run. Fig. 5-14A illustrates a well equipped with sidepocket mandrels. Wireline methods are being used to run and pull valves. Fig. 5-14B illustrates a typical wireline tool string used to run or pull valves in retrievable mandrels. In addition to standard weight bar and wireline jars, a kickover tool of some type is used.

CONTROL VALVE

PISTON BLEED PORT

MAIN VALVE

Pilot valve
Fig. 5-13 - Pilot valve

4. Other Types of Valves:

New types of valves are constantly being developed to keep pace with the general evolution of gas lift technology. There are many types special application valves, of too numerous to include in this manual.
of The principles of operation most special valves are similar to those of the more widely used types valves of discussed in the foregoing. It should also be noted that almost all types of valves are available in both retrievable or non-retrievable form and with various types of check valves.

Wireline Retrievable Valve and Mandrel
These valve mandrels are commonly called Retrievable or Sidepocket Mandrels. Retrieval in the name comes from the wireline retrievability of the valve.

Fig. 5-14 - Wireline tool strings and retrievable mandrels

--`````,`,,``,,,````,`,```,,,-`-`,,`,,`,`,,`---

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The kickover tool has means of attaching apulling tool a for retrieving valves or a running tool with a valve connected to it (Fig. 5-17A) to allow installing a valve in the mandrel. Kickover tools also help locate the mandrel and align the valve or pullingtool with the mandrel pocket (Fig. 5-17B). After the mandrel has been located and the valve or tool aligned, the kickover tool will “kick” (or swing) the valve or tool into the offset portion of the mandrel in line with the mandrel pocket (Fig. 5-17A).At this time, jarring up or down with wireline techniques will pull or install the sidepocket (retrievable) valve. Sidepocket mandrels (Fig. 5-15) must have a receiver (pocket) for the gas lift valve. The pocket will normally have two distinct bores to accommodate the valve packing. The packing bores are smooth and closely controlled dimensionally. Between the two smooth packing bores is located one of the ports that will allow a path for communicating between the tubing and the annulus. The bottom (and sometimes the top) of the pocket provides a second port that communicates with the tubing (see Fig. 5-15C). The gaslift valve, with its packing, stem, and seat, controls any communication between the tubing bore and the annulus. In addition to containing seal bores and porting, a pocket must have a facility to accommodate and engage the valve latch. A shoulder or undercut in the pocket maybeused for this purpose (Fig. 5-15C and 5-17A). In addition to the pocket, many sidepocket mandrels have aids that are designed to facilitate locating the mandrel with wireline toolsand aligning the valve carried by the tools with the mandrel pocket. An orienting sleeve (Fig. 5-17C) within the mandrel is often used to cause forced alignment. A controlled shoulder within the mandrel can also engagethe wireline tools toaid in locating the mandrel. This stop will properly position the tools in a vertical position above the mandrel pocket. Fig. 5-17C shows a stop for this purpose located in the mandrel.

rR 1

VALVE MOUNTED OUTSIDE THE MANDREL (TUBING MUST BE PULLED TO HAVE ACCESS TO THE VALVE)

CONVENTIONAL GAS LIFT VALVE

REVERSE FLOW CHECK THREAD FOR INSTALLING VALVE CHECK AND TO MANDRE’

(C)

Fig. 5-16 - Details of conventional valve

, -

K I C K O F TOOL STOP SHOULDER POSITIONS KICKOVERTOOL AND VALVE VERTICALLY WITH RESPECT TO THE MANDREL SIDEPOCKET FINGER SLOT HELICALSURFACE IS ENGAGED BY THE LOCATING FINGER OF THE KICKOVER TOOL. THE UPWARD FORCE APPLIED TO THE FINGER AGAINST THIS SURFACE CAUSES THE KICKOVER TOOL TOROTATE INTO ALIGNMENT THE WITH FINGER SLOT.

VALVE LATCH SIDEPOCKET MANDREL

(A)
GAS LIFT VALVE VERTICALLY AND RADIALLY ALIGNED AND KICKED OVER. READY TO ENTER THE MANDREL SIDEPOCKET. LATCH LATCH RETAINING SHOULDER

PACKING (VALVE TO POCKET SEAL)

PORTS TO ANNULUS

t

=“ l

Fig. 5-15 - Details of wireline retrievable valve

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LATCH

PORTS

SIDEPOCKEl

VALVE PACKING (VALVE TO POCKET SEAL)
.

I

I

SIDEPOCKET (VALVE RECEIVER) PORT TO TUBING

Fig. 5-1 7 - Sidepocket mandrel, kickover tool and valve (Valve readyto be installed intomandrel sidepocket) Courtesy Camco, Inc.

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Valves (Fig. 5-18B) used in retrievable mandrels have the same basic components as the valves (Fig. 5-18A) used in conventional mandrels. Many of the parts are identical. In addition to the basic parts, a retrievable valve must have some means (latch) to lock it into position within the mandrel pocket. The valve must also have seals that act between the valve and mandrel pocket to prevent leakage between the tubing and casing annulus in either direction.

The four configurations of gas lift valves are shown in Fig. 5-20. Type 1 is a well-known conventional injection pressure operated valve, and Type 2 is a production pressureoperatedvalve. The other two are not as familiar. Actually, the only difference between Types 1 and 2 and Types 3 and 4 is that the check valve has been turned upside down in the latter two. Also, type 2 and type 4 have crossover seats. This restricts the seat size available in these valves.

PACKING (SEAL)

PACKING (SEAL)
--`````,`,,``,,,````,`,```,,,-`-`,,`,,`,`,,`---

REVERSE FLOW CHECK

Twobasicgasliftmandrelsincludetypelinwhichthesideofthepocketisin communication with theannulus and the bottom of the pocket is incommunication with the tubing, and type 2 in which the communication configuration is reversed.

Conventional gas lift valve (A)

Retrievable gas lift valve (B)

Fig. 5-19 - Basic gas lift mandrel types i, (After Focht, World O l January 1981)

Fig. 5-18 - Retrievable and conventional gas lift valves.
Courtesy Cameo, Inc.

Mandrel and Valve Porting combinat ion^^^
It is often inefficient or impractical to use one combination of mandrel and valve porting to satisfy all gas lift installation design requirements. There are two basic configuration of mandrels and four configurations of gas lift valves. Fig. 5-19 shows the two mandrel types. The type 1 or standard mandrel has the holes in the pocket drilled from the outside or casing side,and the bottom of the pocket is in communication with the tubing. Type 2 has the holes in the pocket drilled from the inside or tubing side, and the bottom of the pocket isin communication with the outside or casing (annulus) side.
R.".". llow
"01".

Of these basic types of valves, types 1 and 4 are pressure operated. Types 2 and3arefluidoperated.Notethatthecheckvalvesintypes3and4operatein the opposite direction from types 1 and 2.

Fig. 5-20 - Configurations of gas lifr valves (After Focht, World Oil, January 1981)

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There are eight possible configurations using the four occur. The crossover seat restricts the port size available to valve types and two mandrel types (see Fig. 5-21). In Fig. 3 / l ~ - i nfor the one-inch valve and tos/l6-inch for the 1'h-inch ~h 5-21, Configurations A and B are recognized asthe stanvalve. Configuration Gis probably better for this purpose. dard type of completion. For tubing flow they are usually preferred.Normally,productionpressure-operatedinstalMandrels with more than one pocket, more than two packlationsareundesirablefor highproductionratebecauseingsectionsin onepocket, andwithotherportingconbeen used.Newcombinationsareconthey tend to causeheading or sluggingtypeproduction.figurationshave When they are used, a problem with configuration B may tinually being considered.

Gas

Gas
m

d

l

A

..
B C
D

o -

T
..
E

3

P a

D

3

IIF

.H

By combining the four valve types with the two types of mandrels, eight configurations are available. They follows: &valve 1 , mandrel 1, tubing flow, as are pressure operated; B-valve 2,mandrel 1 , tubing flow, fluid operated; C-valve3, mandrel 1, annular flow, fluid operated; D-valve4, mandrel 1, annular flow, Pressure operated;E-valve 1 mandrel 2. annular flow. pressure operated; F-valve 2, mandrel 2, annular flow, fluid operated; G-valve 3, mandrel 2, tubing flow, fluid operated; and H-valve 4, mandrel 2, tubing flow, pressure operated.
I

Fig. 5-21 - Combinations of valve types and mandrel types (After Focht, World O l January 1981) i,
--`````,`,,``,,,````,`,```,,,-`-`,,`,,`,`,,`---

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Continuous Flow Gas Lift Design Methods

69

CHAPTER 6 CONTINUOUS FLOW GAS LIFT DESIGN METHODS
INTRODUCTION

Gas lift is a process of lifting fluids from a well by the continuous injection of relatively high pressure gas to reduce the flow gradient (continuous flow) or by the injection of gas underneath an accumulated liquid slug in a relatively short period of time to move the slug to the surface (intermittent lift). Both types are shown schematically in Fig. 6-1. Continuous flow gas lift design will be discussed in this chapter. Intermittent lift design will be discussed in a later chapter. Continuous flow gas lift is essentially a continuation of natural flow. Gas is injected at some point in the flow pattern causing an increase in gas-liquid ratio above that point. This increased gas-liquid ratio results in a reduced flowing gradient. This is shown graphically in Fig. 6-2. For maximum benefit the gas should be injected as deeply as possible. The best continuous flow gas lift is accomplished by injecting gas at the bottom of the tubing. Because of pressure limitations, however, valves are generally needed to establish the point of gas injection and this point may be through a valve or orifice somewhere above total depth. If injection is through valves, it is generally intended that only one valve be open during injection. Design of continuous flow gas lift installations using injection pressure operated valves is covered in API RP 11V652.

Continuous flow gas lift may be utilized in numerous types of installations as well as numerous combinations of tubing and casing sizes. In general, the flow may be classified as tubing or annular flow. Flow up the tubing string covers a range of sizes from ’/.,-inch to 4-inches, and larger. Slim-hole completions place great emphasis on continuous flow in small pipe. Various water-flood operations and water-drive reservoirs place emphasis on high producing rates requiring large tubing sizes. Annular flow is the injection of gas down the tubing string and the production of fluids through the tubingcasing annular space. Typical sizes range from 1-inch tubing inside 2’/%-inch O.D. casing to 3Vz-inch O.D. tubing inside 103/4-inchO.D., or larger, casing. Total fluid producing rates in excess of 50,000 B/D have been reported through the annulus of 3Ih-inch O.D. tubing inside large casing. The principles of tubing and annular flow gas lift ‘are the same. The prediction of annular flow gradients is probably a little

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--`````,`,,``,,,````,`,```,,,-`-`,,`,,`,`,,`---

L

L

L
f

INJECTED

_ I
INJECTED QAI

r

Fig. 6-1 - (A) Continuous gas lift performance. ( B ) Intermittent gas lift performance

TYPES OF INSTALLATIONS
less accurate than that through tubing. Also, the tubing should be large enough to handle the downward gas flow without excessive pressure drop. The examples used in this chapter will be tubing flow. A continuous flow installation through tubing without a packer or standing valve is classified as an open installation. This type of installation is seldom recommended, but well conditions may be such that running a packer is undesirable. This type of installation has certain disadvantages. Any time the well is placed back on production, the fluids must be unloaded from the annular space. This means that the gas lift valves will be subjected to cutting by liquid flow until the well has unloaded to its working fluid level. A varying injection gas line pressure will also cause the fluid level to rise and fall. This often results in “heading” or “slugging” of the produced fluids instead of a smooth continuous flow. Each time the fluid level is lowered, some fluid is pushed through any gas lift valve beneath the fluid

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level. Eventually, this valve may become fluid-cut. Another possibility is that some of the actual production may rise and come through the gas lift valves beneath the operating valve because of less friction in the large annular space. Experience has shown that gas lift valves located beneath the operating valve will generally be fluid-cut when an open installation is pulled. A semi-closed installation is one in which a packer is run but no standing valve is used. This type of installation is recommended for most continuous flow wells. Once the

fluid has been unloaded from the annular space, there is no re-entry of fluids into the annulus. Therefore,a stabilized level is maintained. Reverse check valves on the gas lift valves prevent fluids from entering the casing-tubing annular space and are recommended for all continuous flow installations. When a semi-closed installation is inoperative, the fluids do not rise in the annular space and, therefore, the well will stabilize much quicker when placed back on operation.

CONTINUOUS FLOW UNLOADING SEQUENCE
Continuous flow unloading of a tubing-flow installation dueto the pressureexerted by theliquidcolumn in the tubing. In Fig. 6-3(B) all valves are open. The top valve is is illustrated in Fig. 6-3. Until the top valve in Fig. 6-3(A) is uncovered, fluid from the casing is transferred into the uncovered, and injection gas is entering the tubing through tubing through open valves and U-tubed by injection gas this valve. Unloading continues from the top valve which remains open until the second valve is uncovered. pressure being exerted on the top of the liquid column in the casing. No pressure drawdown across the formation occurs during U-tubing operations because the tubing pressure at In Fig. 6-3(C) all valves are open. Injection gas is entering total depth exceeds the static bottomhole pressure. This isthetubingthroughthetopandsecondvalves.Withthe

PRESSURE , PSI

1

I

I

I

1OOO2000 -

I

!

3000 -

t W

U 4000-

f

\

5000-

6000 -

Fig. 6-2 - Fundamentals of gas lift design
--`````,`,,``,,,````,`,```,,,-`-`,,`,,`,`,,`---

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Continuous Flow Gas Lift Design Methods fluid level in the casing below the depth of the second valve, the tubing pressure is less than the casing pressure at valve depth, and injection gas enters the tubing through the second valve. The flowing tubing pressure at the depth of the top valve is decreased by injecting a high volume of gas through the top valve to uncover the second valve. This high injection gas-liquid ratiois required for only ashort time, and the valve must be capable of passing this gas volume. In Fig. 6-3(D) the top valve is closed and all other valves are open. Injection gas is entering the tubing through the second valve. The third and bottom valves are not uncovered. Before the top valve will close, the casing pressure must decrease slightly. The second valve must remain open until the third valve is uncovered.

In Fig. 6-3(E) the top valve is closed and all other valves are open. The second and third valves are uncovered, and injection gas is entering the tubing through both valves. The flow of injection gas through the second valve has lowered the flowing tubing pressure at the depth of the second valve. This allows the injection gas to enter the tubing through the third valve.

In Fig. 6-3(F) the top and second valves are closed, and the third and bottom valves are open. Injection gas is entering the tubing through the third valve. The bottom valve is below the fluid level in the casing. The producing capacity of the installation is reached with the available injection-gas pressure before the bottom valve is uncovered.

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--`````,`,,``,,,````,`,```,,,-`-`,,`,,`,`,,`---

(A) Fluid from casing bring transferred into tublng through all valves and u-tubed by injection gas pressure to surface.

(B) Fluld In tublng bemg aerated to surface by injection gas through top valve as fluid in annulus is transferred Into tubing through lower valves.

(C) Injection gas entering tublng
throughtopandsecondvalvelmmed-

lately after second valve uncovered.

(D) Fluid In tubing being aerated to surface by injection gasthrough second valve as fluid in annulus is transferred into tubing through third and bottom valves

(E) Injection gas enteringtubing through second and third valves immediatelyafterthird valve isuncovered.

(F) Produclngrateequalscapacltyof tubing from third valve for available injection pressure. Therefore, bottom valve cannot be uncovered.

Fig. 6-3 - Continuous unloading sequence

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DESIGN OF CONTINUOUS FLOW INSTALLATIONS
To design a continuous flow installation, as much of the following information as possible should be obtained: 1. Tubing and casing size
2.

Depth to the center of the perforated interval API gravity of the oil Formation gas-oil ratio Specific gravity of the injection and formation gas

The initial design will be for the first type of problem and will consider the case where complete knowledge of the well productivity is known. This will illustrate gas lift design principles. This will be followed by those cases where less than complete knowledge of the well parameters is known. Assume continuous flow gas lift design is needed for the conditions listed in Table 6-1. By far the most important information needed in gas lift design is the well's producing characteristics. If exact and complete knowledge of the well is known, an optimum design can be readily made. Unfortunately, this is seldom, if ever, the case. In the following design, it is assumed that well information is exact. Also, the design is made without any safety factor. The need of, and the means for including, a safety factor will be discussed later. Depth-pressure gradient data is essential to the design. It is assumed that gradient curves or a computer program for calculating gradient data is available to the designer.

3.
4.

6 . Desired daily producing rate (oil and water)
7. 8.

Specific gravity of the water Flowing wellhead tubing pressure

9. Injection gas pressure available at well
1o. Volume of injection gas available

11. Static bottomhole pressure
12.
13.

Productivity index or inflow performance relationship Bottomhole temperature

TABLE 6-1 CONTINUOUS FLOW GAS LIFT DESIGN CONDITIONS

Production Desired -q Maximum Well Depth - D, 10,000' 15. Type of reservoir with expected depletion performBHP Static - P,, 3,600 psig ance Productivity Index - J BLPD/psi 0.4 (Gross It is common practice to use the annular space between Fluid) Formation R, 300 CF/B the casing and tubing to conduct the injection gas down to Water Cut - F, 65% the point of injection. If gas lift valves are installed, they are Gravity Oil 35" API placed on the tubing string to let gas from the annulus join 1.O5 Water Gravity - SG, the well fluids that flow up the tubing. Other arrangements Gas Gravity - SGg 0.65 of equipment, such as annular flow and parallel tubing SizeCasing 5 ' / 2 in. OD strings, can be used with the only limitations being that Size Tubing in. OD there must be a passageway for gas to travel downward to Surface Wellhead the point of injection and there must be a conduit through Pressure - P h w 1O 0 psig which the gas and well fluids flow up and out of the well. Available Gas Pressure - Pg 1200 psig Types of Design Problems Gas Injection Rate - qi 500 MCF/D 0.465 psitft Static Fluid Gradient* - g, In gas lift design, there are three distinct types of design Bottom Hole problems. First is the case where valves are to be designed Temperature - Tr 190°F (spacing and pressure setting) and run with the tubing in an Fig. 6-9 Flowing Temperature - Twh existing well. A second case, encountered primarily in offshore operations, is where wireline mandrels are spaced in Type Reservoir Waterdrive the tubing string for later installation of gas lift valves. This *Static Fluid Gradient is the gradient of the fluid expected may include a considerable period of time in which the well in the tubing and annulus at the time unloading starts. flows prior to the need to install gas lift valves. Mandrel spacing is frequently done when only limited knowledge of Example Graphical Design the well's productivity is known. The third type of problem Gas lift design is best illustrated graphically. Figures is setting valves in existing mandrels. The mandrel spacing 6-4, 6-5, and 6-6 show a graphical solution for design based is fixed. In this case, the gas lift designer must determine if on the conditions of Table 6-1. A step-by-step explanation valves are needed in all the existing mandrels and then follows: determine the set pressures for the valves.

14. Flowing wellhead temperature

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Continuous Flow Gas Lift Design Methods 1. On a convenient scale make a depth versus pressure chart. Draw a line 'representing total depth of the well. Plot the static bottomhole pressure (3600 psi) versus total depth (10,000 feet). A static fluid gradient line (0.465 psi/ft.) is drawn from the static bottomhole pressure point at total depth. This cuts the depth scale at about 2250 feet and represents the fluid level at shut-in conditions with no surface pressure. This assumes that the formation will freely take fluid when the pressure is higher in the casing than in the formation. This is not always the case and the fluid level might stand higher in the well than indicated here. 2. An available gas injection pressure line is drawn. Starting at 1200 psig, the pressure increases with depth due to the static gas column. For the conditions described, the pressure will increase approximately 30 psi per thousand feet of depth. The gas pressure at total depth will be 1500 psig. This represents the maximum gas pressure available at any depth. In order to inject gas at the bottom of the well, the pressure in the tubing must be something less than 1500 psig. At 1500 psig bottomhole pressure, the well would produce 840 barrels per day. (Drawdown = 3600 - 1500 = 2100 psi. Production = 0.4 x 2100 = 840 BAI). Assuming 500 MCFA) is injected at 10,000 feet, the tubing gas-liquid ratio would require over 2,000 psig flowing pressure at the bottom of the tubing. Therefore, it would not be possible to inject gas at 10,000 feet. Gas would have to be injected at some higher point in the tubing string. 3. Assume a producing rate of 400 barrels per day total fluid. The formation has a water cut of 65 percent and a gas-oil ratio of 300 cubic feet per barrel. This represents approximately a 100 gas-liquid ratio. At 400 barrels per day total liquid production and a productivity index of 0.4, the well will require a drawdown of 1000 psi below the static bottomhole pressure of 3600 psig. A point can be located at total depth and 2600 psig. A gradient curve starting at that point can be drawn upward as represented in Fig. 6-4. This line, if drawn all the way to O pressure, would cut the depth curve somewhere between 3000 and 4000 feet.Above the point of gas injection a total gas-liquid ratio of approximately 1350 scf/stb will exist. This consists of the formation gas plus the 500 MCF per day being injected. Since a wellhead pressure of 100 psig has been specified, a gradient curve can be drawn starting at O depth and 100 psig for this higher gas-liquid ratio. This gradient line intersects the previously drawn gradient line at approximately 5200 feet. Therefore, if gas is injected at the rate of 500 MCF per day at 5200 feet, the formation gasliquid ratio gradient line will exist from total depth
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to the point of injection and the higher ratio gradient line above that point. The well would produce the specified 400 barrels per day. The pressure in the column at the point of injection would be about 700 psig. Therefore, some gas pressure greater than this amount would have to be available in order to inject. As shown in Fig. 6-4, a pressure of over 1300 psig would be available at that point and could easily inject into the tubing. Following the same procedure, a gradient curve may be drawn for 600 barrels per day. This has been done in Fig. 6-4 and shows an intersection between the two curves at approximately 8200 feet. The pressure point is about 1375 psig. The available gas pressure from the gas gradient line is slightly over 1400 psig and with such a pressure it would be possible to inject a limited amount of gas at this point because of the lack of pressure differential at 8200 feet. Assuming no pressure drop has been taken for safety factor, which will be discussed later, it would be possible to make a maximum of 600 barrels per day from this well by gas lifting. 4. If the above procedure is repeated for various rates, a series of points can be plotted on the depth pressure curve representing injection points for different production rates. This has been done in Fig. 6-5 for production increments of 100 barrels per day total fluid. The line resulting from connecting these points is called an equilibrium curve. This represents a continuing series of possible injection points for different production rates. It should be emphasized that this is not a gradient curve. A point on the equilibrium curve represents a stabilized condition of gas injection for a specific set of conditions. Consider the point on the curve for 400 barrels per day. The point is at 5200 feet and 700 psig. This point is valid only for the specified conditions of tubing size, wellhead back pressure, gas injection rate, well productivity and other reservoir conditions. The gas system pressure is not necessary for developing an equilibrium curve. It is only necessary that adequate pressure be available to inject at the desired point. An equilibrium curve can be very useful in studying gas lift. For example, when gas lift is selected as an artificial lift method in a field, a system pressure must be selected. Three different gas system pressures are shown at 800, 100, and 1600 psig in Fig. 6-5. For the given well, 800 psi gas could be injected at about 6000 feet and a production rate of 450 barrels per day would result. The 1200 psig system gives a production rate of about 600 barrels per day. If a system pressure of 1600 psig is selected, gas could be injected at the bottom of the tubing string and a production rate of approximately 700 barrels per day would result. It would be of no benefit for this well to have a system pressure greater than 1600 psig.

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5. Other parameters may also be studied with the equilibrium curve. For a field study it would be necessary to select a typical well productivity and also beneficial to have anticipated maximum and minimum productivity wells to examine. Other factors that could be evaluated would include tubing size. For example, if the well productivity of Table 6-1 is assumed and the 1200 psi gas system is used, changing the tubing to 27/s-inch O.D. will result in a production rate of about 700 barrels per day. Further increasing the tubing size to 3lh-inch O.D. will result in a production rate of about 750 barrels per day. Another parameter to consider is the amount of gas to be injected. A rate of 500 MCF per day was arbitrarily selected in this case. This could be the total available gas or it might be that more gas is available. In the example shown in Table 6-1, an increase in injection gas to 750 MCF per day would result in an increase of 35 barrels per day liquid production to a total of 635 barrels per day. A further increase in the amount of gas to 1000 MCF per day would increase production only an additional 5 barrels per day. Further increases in the amount of gas injected would result in no increase in production and actually would start to cause loss of production. This demonstratesaveryimportant point in gas lift design. Many operators simply
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assume that if some gas injected does some good then more gas would do more good. As gas is injected, it results in lightening the column but every cubic foot of gas causes an incremental increase in friction. As greater and greater amounts of gas are injected, a point is reached where the increase in friction equals or exceeds the reduction in pressure due to the reduced density in the column. Still another factor that could be investigated with the equilibrium curve is the effect of tubinghead pressure. In the example shown, a constant wellhead pressure of 100 psig has been assumed. This is realistic if a very short flowline existssuchasanoffshoreplatformwerethe production facilities may be located within 25 or 50 feet of the wellhead. This would not be a realistic assumption for a flowline several thousand feet long, particularly if the flowline is small in comparison to tubing size. A horizontal flow model can be introduced which would cause the tubing pressure to vary with flow rate. This would affect the equilibrium curve and the resulting production that could be obtained from the well. The greater the tubing pressure, the less production that will be obtained for a given set of conditions. The equilibrium curve concepts lends itself particularly well to modeling on the computer, where a large number of parameters can be investigated rapidly. Design considerations in-

PRESSURE, PSI

G7
Fig. 6-4 - Graphical solution for design based on conditions of Table 6-1

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Continuous Flow Gas Lift Design Methods clude determining what size tubulars to place in the well and the volumes and pressures needed from the gas injection system. These considerations are equally or more important than design of spacing and valve setting. An efficient and properly working system cannot be installed unless both are done. 6. The gradient curve above and below the point of gas injection for 600 barrels per day as shown in Fig. 6-4 has been redrawn in Fig. 6-6 to demonstrate valve spacing design. The valve spacing could have been continued in Fig. 6-4 but the multiplicity of lines would tend to create a degree of confusion. Two considerations control valve spacing. First, it must be possible to displace liquid from the annulus to the tubing down to the desired operating depth with the available gas pressure. Secondly, it must be possible to open any valve under producing conditions without opening the valve above it in the string. The location of the first valve is simply an exercise in U-tubing. If injection pressure is put on the casing annulus, the fluid level i n theannuluswillbe
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depressed due to the difference in casing and tubing pressure at the surface. The gas column pressure is shown graphically by the available gas pressure line. If a straight line is drawn from O depth and tubinghead pressure with a slope equal to the assumed liquid gradient of .465 psi per foot the maximum point of gas injection willbewherethese lines intersect. This is shown graphically to be at 2530 feet. If the well can be unloaded into a pit against atmospheric pressure, the first valve could be placed approximately 230 feet deeper. If the static fluid level in the well is deeper than the calculated location of the first valve, the first valve could be placed at the static fluid level. This would entail some risk if the formation will not freely take fluid when the tubing and casing annulus are loaded.

7. The same criteria of U-tubing from the first valve to the second valve also exists. However, surface casing and tubing pressure are no longer applicable. The
PRESSURE

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TP 100 PSI 0 1

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2000

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400C
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Fig. 6-5 - Graphical solution for design based on conditions of Table 6-I (Continued)

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casing pressure available is still the gas gradient line. The pressure in the tubing will depend on how much the pressure is drawn down in the tubing due to the injection of gas from the casing. From the equilibrium curve in Fig. 6-5, it would appear that if gas is injected at 2500 feet a production rate of a little less than 200 barrels per day will result. The pressure in the tubing will be reduced to about 280 psi. However, it is common practice to use the higher pressure resulting from a gradient line expected from the anticipated production rate of 600 barrels a day. This is about 420 psi. The equilibrium curve theoretically could be used in spacing the valves working downhole. However, when the well started to produce at the expected 600 barrel per day rate, a higher pressure would exist opposite the top valve than the pressure used in setting these valves. This could

8. The closing force (spring or dome pressure) to be set on each valve is determined using casing and tubing For example, suppose pressures from Table 6-2.

O

400

800

PRESSURE, PSI 1200

1600 2400

2000

200c

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& W

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600C

800C

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Fig. 6-6 - Graphical solution for design based on conditions of Table 6-1 (continued)

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cause valve interference. The higher pressure used for spacing represents some degree of safety factor. Subsequent valves are designed in the same manner as valves 1 and 2. Fig. 6-6 shows the location of these valves resulting in a design of 7 valves with the bottom valve located at 8250 feet. Valves are spaced closer together at depth increases because the minimum tubing pressure gets nearer the .available casing pressure. It is common practice to carry the spacing design down to the point where predicted tubing and casing pressure differential is 50 psi. As pointed out later, one or two more valves at some minimum spacing may be added.

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Continuous Flow Gas Lift Design Methods conventional valves were selected without a spring and with a valve stem area that is 10 percent of bellows area. Then valve 2 would have a calculated domepressureof 1273psig(1334~0.90+715~0.10= 1273). The valve pressure would be set in the shop so that it would have 1273 psi at the operating temperature at 4500 feet. All gas lift companies have charts for making the proper conversion. Thus the valve string would be (Assuming valve port area = 10 percent bellows area):

TABLE 6-2 TABULATION OF PRESSURE WITH DEPTH
Depth Casing Press. feet Psig Tubing Press. Psig Dome Press. Psig

2530 4500 5900 6900 7500 7900 8250

1275 1335 1375 1405 1425 1435 1445

420 715 950 1120 1240 1320 1390

1190 1273 1333 1377 1407 1424 1440

Safety Factors in Gas Lift Design
As stated previously, the example design has been made completely without safety factor except as described under item 7. Because of this, it is almost a certainty that it would not work if installed in a well. All gas lift companies put some safety factor in their recommended design but do it by different means. Also, they generally do not label it as safety factor. The following discussion contains various ways of adding safety factor. The first element of danger i n the design is the gas pressure used. The available pressure is listed at 1200 psi and this was used. If this is maximum, then some lower pressure should be used to allow for minor losses and control of injection rate. The pressure decrease will depend on field conditions but should never be less than 50 psi. Therefore, 1150 psig or less should have been used as working casing pressure if 1200 psig is absolute maximum available. There are two main considerations in gas lift valve design. It must be possible to displace liquid from the casing into the tubing down to the desired operating depth with the available gas pressure, and it must be possible to open any valve under producing conditions without opening the valve above it in the string. Spacing design in the example should be capable of achieving the first consideration. However, if all dome pressure were set exactly as designed, and if the well production was exactly as expected with the gradient anticipated, tubing and casing pressures would cause all valves to open simultaneously. This, of course, would be a very undesirable condition and some safety factor must be included i n order to prevent this from occurring.

One means of including safety factor in the design is illustrated in Fig. 6-7. This method introduces a safety factor by reducing the casing pressure required to open eachvalvesuccessively down thehole. In Fig. 6-7, the example design is redone using a drop in casing pressure of 20 psi at each valve. (The 20 psi drop is an arbitrary amount selected here.) Thus the first valve is located in exactly the same manner as previously since maximum casing pressure will be available to open this valve. However, the operating pressure required to open the second valve will be dropped 20 psi below that required for the first valve. This can be done by drawing an available gas pressure line parallel to the existing line at the reduced pressure. The spacing is carried out graphically in the same manner as before. However, the available differential pressure for U-tubing at each valve is reduced because of the drop in casing pressure deeper in the well. Thus the spacing of the valves below the top valve is reduced because of the drop in casing pressure deeper in the well. Therefore the spacing of the valves below the top valve is slightly closer together. As can be seen from the design, the point at which a minimum 50 psi differential between casing pressure available and tubing pressure occurs at a shallower depth in the well. In this case the bottom valve would be located at 7800 feet where a tubing pressure of approximately 1270 psig and casing pressure of 1320 psig would exist. Projecting a gradient line from this point back to the producing depth at a gas liquid ratio of 100 results in an estimated producing bottomhole pressure of 2180 psig and a production rate of 570 barrels per day. Thus the disadvantage of this method is that less production will be obtained from the well when there is not sufficient gas pressure to inject all the way to the bottom of the hole. In this case using the same amount of gas but injecting at 450 ft. shallower in the hole results in a production loss of 30 barrels per day. This illustrates the desirability of always injecting gas at the maximum depth possible. However, if the expected tubing gradient exists in the well, then each valve could be opened with approximately 20 psi less casing pressure than would be required to open the valve immediately above it. Thus, the purpose of being able to selectively open the valves from the bottom up would be achieved. A different means of including safety factors is illustrated in Fig. 6-8. This was originally introduced under the name Optiflow design. The Variable Gradient design is essentially the same thing. The point of gas injection is determined as previously discussed and shown in Fig. 6-4. Some pseudo flowing wellhead pressure higher than the expected wellhead pressure is selected. Generally the pseudo wellhead pressure selected will be the expected flowing wellhead pressure plus 20 percent of the difference between tubing and casing pressure. In the example, this would be 100 + 0.2 (1200 - 100) = 320 psi. A straight line is drawn from this surface pressure to the tubing pressure at the point of anticipated gas injection. This becomes a pseudo flowing production pressure line, and is referred to as “Variable

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Gas Lift placed on the production pressure; that is, when the well is producing from the anticipated depth of injection, this valve will be open but all valves above it will have less production pressure than that required to open the valve. This provides sufficient safety factor for valves which have a high degree of production pressure effect. However, in the type of valve commonly used where the production pressure effect is 10 percent or less, this does not introduce a sufficient safety factor to allow for a working design. With normal injection-pressure-operated valves it is necessary to use the method of dropping the injection gas pressure. The Variable Gradient design can be used with production pressure operated valves. Thus, two methods of introducing safety factor for opening the valves are available. However, the method used is dependent upon the type of valve sèlected. The amount of safety factor which should be used in any given design will depend on field conditions. If full allow-

PRESSURE, PSI
O 1600 O

12000

400 1200

800

2400

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2000

F W

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qpg:
6760’ 7800’
Fig. 6-7 - Example design using casing drop of 20 psi
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10,000

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Gradient” design. The first valve is located in exactly the same manner as previously discussed, using the expected wellhead pressure and anticipated injection gas pressure. However, below this point instead of designing on the basis of expected flowing production pressure with the anticipated gradient, the pseudo production pressure line is used. These production pressures are used both in spacing the valves below the first valve and in setting the dome pressures in the valve. The dome pressure will be set so that the valve will not open without the minimum pseudo production pressure. This becomes the minimum pressure needed for U-tubing down the next valve, and requires closer spacing of valves. In this case, 10 valves are required to space to the same depth that was obtained with 7 valves using no safety factor. However, full casing pressure is available at the depth of injection and the anticipated 600 barrels per day should be produced from the well. The limitation to this method of design is that the safety factor is

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Continuous Flow Gas Lift Design Methods able can be made or gas can be injected from bottom with a design employing substantial safety factor, then the design engineer has little excuse for lowering the safety factor and risking an unworkable design. On the other hand, if considerable added production is available, then having to pull an unworkable string occasionally may be well worthwhile depending on the cost of tripping the tubing. Saving one valve in a string design is commendable if minimum risk is involved but is not in the same league with a sizable increase in production or a larger decrease in gas usage.

Downhole Temperature for Design Purposes The downhole temperature to beusedin setting the valves depends upon the type valve used. If a valve is selected which depends upon a spring to provide the closing force, the temperature correction is not required. Where

nitrogen charged bellows are used, the temperature at the operating condition must be corrected. If a conventional mandrelisusedwith the gas lift valve mounted i n the casing-tubing annulus and not in the flow stream of the tubing, it is generally assumed that earth temperature will exist in the valve dome. This temperature is readily available in most fields and usually consists of a straight line gradient between bottomhole temperature and ground temperature a few feet below the surface. If a type valve is used which mounts inside the tubing and is exposed to the flowing well fluids, it is generally assumed that the temperature in the bellows is equal to the well fluid temperature. Fig. 6-9 is a chart by Kirkpatrick for determining the flowing temperature gradient. Once the flowing temperature at the surface is determined it is frequently assumed that a straight line temperature gradient will exist between surface

PRESSURE, PSI

I W W

LL

P

W

t

I '

1
.Fig. 6-8 - Variable gradient design

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A P I T I T L E x V T - 6 94
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0732290 0532933
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16 4

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TOTAL FLUID FLOW RATE

- 100 BBLWDAY

Fig. 6-9 - Flowing temperature gradient for different flow rates, geothermal gradients, and tubing sizes

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Continuous Flow Gas Lift Desien Methods and bottomhole temperature. This is slightly in error as the well fluids will leave bottom at earth temperature. As the well fluids move up the tubing, they will be warmer than the surrounding earth temperatures and will be cooled by the earth. This cooling rate will increase as the temperature differential between the well fluids and the earth increases. For a given flow rate this will usually increase to some fixed differential and then continue at that differential until the well fluids reach the surface or verynear the surface. A more realistic temperature profile is illustrated in Fig. 6-10. Various programs for elaborate heat calculations have been published, but these require a knowledge of heat transfer coefficients that is usually beyond what is available. Fig. 6-10 also shows the straight line assumption that is used in most design calculations. In actuality, the straight line temperature gradient will provide some additional safety factor since the temperature of all valves above the operating valve is probably somewhat higher than was assumed in setting it. This will cause the dome pressure to be higher than anticipated and will give additional force to keep the valve closed when operating at a lower point. These higher temperatures may not occur if operating at the lower flow rates.
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Actual Conditions Different From Design Conditions
The previous design discussion has assumed exact knowledge of the well productivity. In actual cases, this seldom happens. Fig. 6-11 shows the effect on an actual productivity greater or less than that which was used in making the gas lift design. If, for the assumed case, the productivity turned out to be only half what was assumed, that is, a PI of .2 instead of .4 BLPD/psi, the system will readily unload down to the bottom valve. Because of the lower productivity, the well will make substantially less production than expected. In this case, operating off the bottom valve, the well would produce about 360 barrels per day. This points up the benefit of valving somewhat lower than expected need. In this case, if the well is valved to bottom, it would make something over 400 barrels a day operating near bottom. If, on the other hand, the productivity turned out to be greater than expected, a different condition would exist. Assume that the productivity is double what was predicted, that is, a PI of .8 instead of .4 BLPD/psi. The equilibrium curve for this condition is plotted also on Fig. 6-11. If the well is designed for this higher productivity, a production rate of close to 800 barrels per day will result, with gas being

TEMPERATURE
O 0-

- *F
200

40
1

160 160 80

120

2000 -

FLOWING GRADIENT FROMFIG. 6-9 0.7"/100 FT.

ttW W

ASSUMEDTEMP.PROFILE IF STRAIGHTLINE IS USED
4000 4000

L I

E
I

ACTUAL IS CURVED (ESTIMATE NOT CALCULATED)

n
W

c

X

O

6000

-

-

GRADIENT EARTH 1.2"/100 FT.

1 10.000 '0.000

8o
Fig. 6-10 - Straight line and actual temperature profiles
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injected at about 6800 feet. Although there is a valve at 6900 feet, injected gas will not reach this depth with the existing spacing design. The well will not be able to unload below the valve at 5900 feet and this will result in a production rate of just over 700 barrels per day. The four bottom valves will be of no benefit unless the productivity later declines and the well works down to one of these valves. This points up the need to always over-predict rather than under-predict the well productivity if exact data are not available. The penalty for over-predicting the productivity is that more

valves will be placed in the hole than would have otherwise been used. That is, spacing would be closer together in the string. Under-predicting productivity, on the other hand, results in less production. Also, the efficiency of the system is reduced due toinjecting higher in the hole. Sometimes the mistake of underestimating productivity might be overcome by injecting gas in higher quantities than anticipated. However, the problem of working down from one valve to the next may still prevent this benefit.

DESIGNING GAS LIFTFOR OFFSHORE INSTALLATIONS
In marine operations, where the pulling of tubing can be very expensive, it is common practice to install gas lift mandrels in the tubing string at the time the well is completed even though a considerable period of flowing production is anticipated. Also, on the development of multiwell platforms it may be necessary to do the design spacing of the mandrels with only minimum productivity information. Various techniques have been developed over the

O

TP 100 P81 O
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PRESURE

- PSI
1600
2000

400

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1200

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k W W
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10,000Fig. 6-11 - Actual vs. assumed productivity profiles
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Continuous Flow Gas Lift Design Methods years i n an effort to satisfactorily solve this problem. Some range of well productivity must be assumed. It is necessary to place an upper limit on what might be expected from the well. Usually this upper limit is assumed and then a design is developed which could handle wells of less productivity as efficiently as possible. A generally accepted method of doing this is to design the first two or three valves using this highest assumed productivity or production rate. Then as valves are placed progressively deeper in the well a gradient from valve to valve is assumed based on lower productivity. An alternate sometimes used is to space on an assumed productivity until some minimum mandrel spacing is reached. Mandrels are then placed at this minimum (usually 200 to 500 feet) spacing for several additional valves or to packer depth. To set valves in existing man-

83

drels, the designer determines the maximum depth of the first valve. The valve is placed in the first mandrel that is at that depth or higher in the hole. Then the next valve must be spaced from the actual location of the first valve even though this might be substantially higher than the maximum depth that the first valve could have been placed. For example, in many older fields in the Gulf of Mexico, mandrels are in place that were designed with expected system pressure substantially lower than actually exists at this time. In some cases, it is possible to skip mandrels and place the valves at the next lowest mandrel. The process continues downhole in this manner: from the previous valve location determine the maximum depth that the next valve could be spaced and then pick the next higher mandrel above that depth.

ADVANTAGES OF CONTINUOUS FLOW OVERINTERMITENT FLOW GAS LIFT
The technology for predicting continuous flow gradients has developed greatly over the last 20 to 30 years. The ability to predict intermittent flow such as occurs in intermittent gas lift is less highly developed. Continuous gas lift has certain advantages over intermittent lift. These are:
1. Continuous gas lift fully utilizes the formation gas. The injected gas is added to the formation gas to arrive at the total optimum ratio needed above the point of injection. Intermittent gas lift wastes any formation gas energy because the gas is allowed to rise through accumulating liquid head during the build up period and moves on up the tubing. All gas used in the lifting process must be supplied.

of fluid being produced into the surface equipment at a very high rate. The variation in flow rate from the formation is not as great but some variation occurs and this can be detrimental if a sand problem exists. 3. If the well is making some sand along with the liquid production, the shut in period in which flow is not occurring will allow the sand to fall back around any equipment in the hole and can be a serious problem. Where sand is being produced, continuous gas lift is advantageous. 4. In continuous gas lift, the gas is injected at a relatively constant rate. This can be done in intermittent lift although control of the intermittent lift cycle works better in most cases if a time cycle controller is used at the surface and gas is injected into the well periodically. If the gas lift supply gas system is relatively small, it is very difficult to maintain a constant system pressure with these periodic surges of gas.

Dual gas lift (the producing of two zones from the same wellbore by gas lift without commingling the well fluids in the wellbore) will be discussed briefly. Dual completions became fairly widespread during the 1960s primarily because of very restrictive allowables. When artificial lift became necessary, dual gas lift was one of the more common methods selected. Although dual gas lift is one of the best methods of dual artificial lift, it is usually very inefficient. As mentioned earlier, the well productivity must be estimated when a gas lift design is made. If, as usually occurs, the productivity is not as estimated, the design will selfadjust by operating from a different valve or at a slightly

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2. Continuous gas lift produces at a relatively constant rate. Although gas lift is in the slug flow regime, the slugs are usually relatively small in size and production rate to the separator and other surface facilities is fairly constant. This is not the case with intermittent lift. The production rate varies widely with a slug

DUAL GAS LIFT INSTALLATIONS
different casing pressure. In most dual systems, both tubing strings take gas from the same common gas source, the annulus. In trying to adjust to the different productivities, the system will frequently allow extra gas to go in one tubing string while starving the other side. This results in one or both zones producing at less than optimum rate. The most common design procedure is to use valves of significantly different operating characteristics - injection pressure-operated in one string and production pressure operated in the other. However, efficient dual gas lift has proved to be a fairly rare occurrence. In the absence of restrictive allowables, most operators have concluded that single zone completions are preferable to duals when artificial lift is required.

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CHAPTER 7 ANALYSIS AND REGULATION OF CONTINUOUS FLOW GAS LIFT
INTRODUCTION
Continuous flow gas lift makes up the vast majority (90 percent) of all wells that are artificially lifted by gas lift. As previously mentioned, the continuous flow principles are virtually the same as those at work in a naturally flowing well; but with gas lift, the volume of gas circulated to the well is controlled. Hence, the total gas-liquid ratio is controlled. These principles are generally applicable to production rates ranging from 100 barrels per day to over 50,000 barrels per day. They are applied by circulating lift gas down the annulus for tubing flow production or down the tubing for casing flow production. From the schematics in Fig. 7-1, it is obvious that the terms casing pressure or tubing pressure are ambiguous and may mean gas pressure or produced fluid pressure. For clarity, this chapter will use production pressure to identify the pressure of the produced fluids. Injection gas pressure will be used to identify the lift gas pressure at the well. Operation, maintenance and trouble-shooting of gas lift installations are covered in API RP llV55’. should be placed in the mandrel and retrieved after the circulation is completed, otherwise the fluid could cut the polished bore in the mandrel where the valve will seal. If the injection gas line is new, it should be blown clean of scale, welding slag, etc., before being connected to the well. This precaution prevents plugging of surface controls, and the entrance of debris into the well casing. Separator capacity, stock tank liquid level, and all valves between the wellhead and the tank battery should be checked. It is important to check the pop-off safety release valve for the gas gathering system if this is the first gas lift installation in the system.

Recommended Gas Lift Installation Unloading Procedure
Care in unloading a gas lift well is extremely important since more gas lift valves are damaged at this time than at any other time during the lift of the well. Preventing excessive pressure differentials across gas lift valves reduces the chance for equipment failure due to sand cutting and liquid cutting. The following procedure avoids excessive pressure differential across the valves and is recommended for initial unloading. 1 . Install a two pen pressure recorder to record the well gas pressure and production pressure at the surface.

Recommended Practices Prior to Unloading
After a continuous flow design is completed and the equipment is installed in the well, several things should be done prior to unloadingthe well by gas lift. If a well is loaded with mud it should be circulated clean of mud down to the perforations prior to running gas lift valves. Abrasive materialsin the well fluids can damage the gas lift valve seats and/or may result in valve malfunction during unloading operation. valves areinjection gas presIf sure operated, reverse circulation should not be used since circulation will occur through the valves. If mud or dirty fluid must be circulated out, some type circulating valve of
TVWAL T FLOW aOIIWAT*: TVWAL

2. Bleed the production pressure down to flowline pressure.
3, Remove or open the flowline choke depending on the well’s expected reaction to gas lift. (An adjustable choke should be left on the wellhead connection to the flowline only if the well is expected to flow naturally after it is “kicked off’ with gas lift.)
4. Slowly control the lift gas into the well so that it takes

r

Fig. 7-1 - Casing and tubingflow installations

I
I
L

C-. A 1,

8-10 minutes for a50 psi increase in well gas pressure. Continue this rate of injection until the absolute well gas pressure is about 400 psi.
5 . Increase the lift gas rate into the well so that it takes about 8-10 minutes for 100 psi increase in the well gas pressure. Continue this rate until gas passes into the tubing through the top valve.

6. The gas lift design will have been based on a certain
daily volume of gas injected into the well. At this time adjust the rate to be only ‘/2 to of the designed gas injection rate.
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Analysis and Regulation of Continuous Flow Gas Lift

85

7. After 12-18 hours at the reduced injection rate, adjust the gas rate to the full designed rate for the well.
Analyzing the Operation of A Continuous Flow Well
In order to properly evaluate the efficiency of operation of the continuous flow well, it is necessary to analyze the installation. In many instances the operator is content to leave the well alone as long as he thinks it is making all the fluids the well is capable of producing. Quite often, if the installation were properly analyzed, an improvement could be made in the injection gas-oil ratio. It is also a common tendency for the field operator to increase injection gas rates in an attempt to produce more oil from the well. Excessive injected gas volume may actually increase the flowing pressure gradient, thereby decreasing production. There are several methods which may be used for obtainIn most ingproper a analysis of agasliftinstallation.

instances one or more of the following methods of obtaining data will used: be

Surface Data

1. Recording surface pressure in the tubing and casing
2. Measurement of lift gas circulated to the well

3. Measurement of surface temperature
4. Visual observation of the surface installation

5. Testing the well for oil, water and gas production

Subsurface Data
1. Pressuresurveys

2. Temperature surveys
3. Fluid level determination by acoustical methods
4. Computer calculated pressures in the well

METHODS OF OBTAINING SURFACE DATA FOR CONTINUOUS FLOW GAS LIFT WELLS
Recording Surface Pressure inTubing and Casing the
Two-pen pressure recorders are relatively inexpensive instruments usingtwo pressure elements of the proper pressure range to record the surface tubing casing pressures and of the well. This instrument will record on a chart any change in the wellhead pressure of the tubing or casing during the operational period of the chart. The maximum pressure rangeof the recorder should be '/4 to '/3 higher than the maximum operating pressure of the well. For example, if the maximum wellhead pressure is 700 psig, the recorder should have 1,000 psig maximum range elements. Thiswill permit sufficient sensitivity in the instrument to indicate any small pressure change on the chart. Some of the important factors to be noted from the recordings* of tubing and casing pressures are:
1 . Increased flowing production pressure would indicate an increase in separator back pressure, paraffin deposition, or sediment in the flowlines. It could also indicate that a choke has been installed in the flowline, an increasehas been made in the volume of injection gas, another well has been added to the flow system, or that the well has started to flow naturally.

3 . A continuous flow well on production pressure control would have the periods of gas injection and the periods of natural flow recorded. (Production pressure control is a means of injecting gas into the well at a predetermined drop in production pressure, utilizing the gas lift valves to purge the tubingof a liquid loading condition.) The periods of natural flow and gas injection would be clearly indicated by both the production and well gas pressure.
4. The changing from one operating

valve to another

may be detected. 5. The sanding up or water loading of a well will be indicated.

6. A hole in the tubing, or a bad gas lift valve will be indicated.
7. Excessive gas usage may be indicated.

8. Decreased production may be indicated.

Measurement of Gas Volumes
Measurement of injection gas volumes is necessary in order to determine the efficiencyof the gas lift operations. This is accomplished by the use of an orifice meter or orifice flow computer which should be located near the injection gas control to the well. The meter run should be elevated to prevent condensation from collecting. Some companies favor a permanent meter connected to the meter run. Other companies equip

2. Decreased production pressure could indicate a drop in supply gas pressureor volume, injection gas freezing, fluctuating system gas pressure, the well having been switched to a test separator, readjustment the of injection gas control, or a broken flowline.
*Charts 7A1 through 7A14, Appendix 7A, illustrate some of these conditions. The actual problems encountered are those in the chart given interpretations. Other interpretations might be given if the exact trouble is not known.

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Gas Lift most efficient rate. If a straight line relationship is assumed, it is a simple matter to plot a graph of the temperature gradient when the bottomhole temperature and flowing surface temperature are known. The depth location of each valve may then be located on the chart and the temperature at each valve may be estimated from the temperature curve. Most gas lift valve manufacturers have charts for temperature and gas weight corrections. These charts may be used to determine the surface operating pressure of each valve. Fig. 7-3 illustrates a continuous flow well that is not producing at its capacity because the producing fluid temperature has raised the pressure of the operating valve to near system pressure. The producing fluid temperature has raised the pressure of the valve (at 1,900 ft.) to the point that the differential pressure across the valve will not permit reducing the flowing fluid gradient to a pressure that would permit gas entrance through the valve at 2,350 ft. Equipment problems like this can sometimes be eliminated by using spring adjusted valves that are not affected by temperature.

the meter run with quick connectors to facilitate the use of a portable meter. The orifice meter consists of a static pressure element indicating the line pressure from the orifice plate, and a differential pressure element indicating the pressure drop across the orifice plate. This is schematically illustrated in Fig. 7-2. Periodic injection gas measurement is required in most states and will give a reliable evaluation of the efficiency of the gas lift operations. Inefficient gas injection may be corrected by changing the rate of gas injection and carefully measuring the total fluid production against the injected gas volume for each change, thus providing a means of determining the most efficient gas oil ratio.

Fig. 7-2 - Continuous flow semi-closed installation

The static pressure element on the meter is useful in determining any pressure fluctuation in the gas system that may be detrimental to the efficient operationof the gas lift. Orifice meters are installed at thetest separators tomeasure the total gas outof the well under test. The difference the in injection gas input and the total gas output will represent the formation gas. Direct reading gas flow computers are available for instantaneous measurement of gas.

Surface temperature readings the producedfluid at the of wellhead may sometimes aid in analyzing the trouble in a gas lift well. Where it has been difficult to determine the cause of inefficient operation, knowing the temperature at each valve might also disclose that the temperature effect on the valves is preventing the well from producing at its

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Visual Observation of the Surface Installation
Visual observation of a gas lift installation may sometimes uncover conditions that are detrimental to the overall efficiency of the installation. Maintaining high separator back pressure, long or improperly designed flowlines, restrictions in the wellhead, paraffin or sediment in the flowlines, and too many sharp-angled bends may be the cause of excessive back pressure as indicated by the production
TUBING CASING BDO TEMPERATURE
l05'F

I

6ooo
200 400
PSIG

Surface and Estimated Subsurface Temperature Readings

PRESSURE

600 800 1000 1200 1400 1 6 0 0 leo0 2& 2xK) 2000
DESIRED

-

41; 2040 m
FLOWING 6.H.PRESS.
2510

FLOWING
TOTAL FLUID TOTAL F L U I D

PRESENT PRODUCTION: 465 B/D D E S I R E D PRODUCTION i 1,200 B I D

STATIC BOTTOM-HOLE PRESSURE : 2,800 PSlG (PI1 2 1.5 PRODUCTIVITY INDEX TUBING S I Z E i 2-718-11 E U E : !72 F BOTTOM-HOLE TEMPERATURE 105 F PRESENT FLOWING SURFACE TEMPERATURE. SYSTEMGASPRESSUREATWELL: 610 PSlG

Fig. 7-3 - Continuous flow equipment problem tubing for flow well

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Analysis and Regulation of Continuous Flow Gas Lift wellhead pressure. The possibility of wet gas freezing at points of restriction, fluctuating system gas pressure, an insufficient differential between system gas pressure and wellhead operating pressure, and improper surface control for the type of gas lift valve in the well should be examined where inefficient operation is indicated.

Testing Well for Oil andGasProduction Accurate gauging for oiland water production is neces-

sary for the proper analysis of the operation of a gas lift well. In many field installations only oil production is measured and a shakeout is taken to determine the percentage of water. This can be very inaccurate in many wells because of the fluctuations in the amount of water in the flow stream. Knowing the specific gravity of the oil and water is also important if the installation requires redesign. This information is essential to determine efficient the point of gas injection for the well conditions

METHODS OF OBTAINING SUBSURFACE DATA FOR CONTINUOUS FLOW GAS LIFT ANALYSIS
Subsurface Pressure Surveys
Subsurface pressure surveys offer a good means of properlyanalyzing gas liftinstallations. A staticsurvey will determine the static bottomhole pressure (or formation pressure), the static fluid level,and the static gradientof the well fluids. A flowing pressure survey will locate the point of gas injection, leaks in the tubing, valve failures, or multipoint injection. It will also determine the flowing gradient below and above the pointof gas injection, and the flowing bottomhole pressure. By accurately testing the well at the time the flowing bottomhole pressure is being taken, the productivity index (PI) of the well maybe established.It is a common fallacy to wait until trouble develops before making apressure survey. The survey might locate the source of trouble,buttheinformationnecessarytoimprovethe installation will not be obtained. Therefore, a pressure is survey should be run while the well supposedly performing satisfactorily. The information obtained might indicate that respacing the valves would appreciably improve the production of the well. On wells with high PI’S, and producing from a very active water drive reservoir, it is recommended that valves be spaced close together near the estimated point of gas injection. A very common error in gas lift design is failure to space the valves close enough together. Fig. 7-4 shows a well making 1,000 bbl of oil and water per day (90 percent water). From all surface indications, the well was performing satisfactorily. It was, however, immediately evident from the flowing pressure survey that by respacing the valves there would be an increase i n fluid production. It was noted that the fluid level i n the casing lacked only a few feet of uncovering the next valve with the available line pressure. this example, the valves In were equipped with fixed orifices and no increase of gas volume could be made through the valves. Since the well had a PI of 10 BLPD/psi, or greater, the production rate was increased to 1,600 B/D by respacing the lower valve so that it would operate 60 ft.nearer the surface. By checking the static fluid level,it was possible to relocatevalves 1 and 2 from the surface so that two valves could be positioned below the point of injection. Since the bottomhole pressure was showing very little drop with time, the spacing was satisfactory for 1’12 to 2 years.
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O
1000

I

T C o s i n g Pressure Flowing

- \ c I1

Tubing = 2 ’; Fluid = 1000 B b l s / O o y Input G o s - Fluid R a t i o = 400/1

2000

k
W

3000
4000

k!
r
k

””

Casing Fluid Level

5000

n
6000 7000
8000

9000

I
O

I I I I l I I 400 800 1200 1600 2000 2400 2800 PRESSURE, PSlG

Fig. 7-4 - Valve spacing from flowing pressure survey
Fig. 7-5 shows a well in which three gas lift valves were admitting gas. This condition of multi-point injection is very inefficient, since efficiency i n continuous flow is the result of injecting the proper volume of gas at the deepest point for the available pressure. The flowing pressure gradient indicated that too much gas was being injected. A measurement of the injection gas-liquid ratio showed it to be 800: 1. This was high in comparison with neighboring wells operating under similar conditions. The pressuresurvey did not indicate a need for valve respacing,but rather a need for the repair of valves 2 and 3. Also valves 6 and 7 could be grouped closer to the point of injection. Fig. 7-6 shows a well in which it seems that too many gas lift valves were used for the installation. This well was

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Gas Lift designed for either continuous flow or intermittent flow gas lift. Under the present operating conditions, fourvalves would be enough to take care of the well. This was a well, however, in which the water percentage was expected to increase considerably. This would result in lowering the point of gas injection and utilizing the lower valves in the installation. Fig. 7-7 shows how a flowing pressure survey was used to locate a tubing leak. The tubing leak is plainly indicated by the break in the flowing gradient at 2,070 ft. The normal point of gas injection is through the valve operating at 2,935 ft. A check on the valve installation showed that there was no gas lift valve close to the 2,070 ft. depth.
PRESSURE IN 100 PSlG
O

TUBING = 2" FLUID = 700 BBLS. / DAY INPUT GAS-FLUID RATIO = 800- I

2000

I

\

I
VALVF DLP-Ta

2400 3000

""1

-2. .

2850

3300

4000 MULTI -POINT

5000 GAS INJECTION

2

4

6

m@

o

&o

lobo

tim

&;FLOWING

B.H,PRESS.

I

0500

I I I , I , I , I I , l , r , l , r , l , l , l l , l l , 1 , 1 1 1 , ~

PRESSURE PSlG

-

-

8

IO

1 2

1 4

I6

1 20 8

Iniection Gor

Prrssurr

Well Data: 2% in. OD tubing in 5% in. casing Gas-liquid ratio- 8OO:l Production 700 bblfluid per day Oil production = 120 B/ D
Fig. 7-5 - Flowing pressure survey for valve repair

W
I A

2500

z
I
t -

3000
3500

"

V.I*e

t

1935'

a
W

4000

O

r

4500

Casing Pressure Flowing
5500 5000

1000
2000 3000
Casing Fluid Level

1

=
T.D. = 5540'

Flowing BHP

1770 p i g

-- - - - _ _

I -

W

k!
I
I -

WELL DATA: 2-IN. TUBINGIN 5-112-1N. CASING INJECTIONGAS-LIOUIDRATIO = 550:l PRODUCINGWELLHEADTUBINGPRESSURE = 110 P S I G SURFACEINJECTIONCASINGPRESSURE = 640 PSlG PRODUCTION = 6 4 0 B 8 L FLUI0 PER DAY OIL PRODUCTION = 5 B / D

4000

Fig. 7-7 - Flowing pressure survey to locate tubing leak

; 5000
o
6000
7000

-

8000 90001 O

I I I I 1 I 400 800 1200 1600 2000 2400 2800 PRESSURE, P S l G

Fig. 7-6 - Flowing pressure survey for valve spacing
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A pressure survey of acasing flow gas liftwell can be used to determine the point of injection. Fig. 7-8 shows the pressure survey of a casing flow well. The tubing was 2-in. EUE and extended 4,000 ft. into the well, with the bottom open-ended. The gage was lowered into the well through the tubing. The first stop was at 4,000 ft., just below the bottom of the tubing. Nine stops were made at 500 ft. intervals, and near the bottom four stops were made at 250 ft. intervals. The well was producing 4,000 bbl of fluid per day at the time the pressure surveywas made, of which 97 percent was salt water. The gas liquid ratio very effiwas cient at 90 CU. ft. of gas per barrel of fluid. The well was

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Analysis and Regulation of Continuous Flow Gas Lift producing its depth allowable of 120 bbl of oil per day under these conditions. However, it was capable of producing a great deal more, and at one time produced over 7,000 bbl per day while it was being regulated. This was still not the maximum rate for the well andno attempt was made to reach it.

O

-CASING PRESSURE

‘ ~ T U B I N GPRESSURE
VALVE DEPTH

2ooc

4O 0 C

OF TUBING - 4000 FT.

fast as practicable. The well then must be returned to stabilized flow and the survey can be started up the hole. It is recommended that a stop be made every 500 to 1,000 ft. below the point of gas injection to establish the flowing gradient in that region of flow. Stops should then be made approximately 10 ft. below each valve in order to correctly locate the point of gas injection. This will also locate valve leaks. Since the higher fluid velocities occur near the surface, caution should be taken when a lightening of the wireline load will indicate that the fluid velocities are trying to pick up the gage. The well should be closed in at this time, and the gage safely retrieved. The important section (below and above the point of gas injection) will have been surveyed successfully. Computer Calculated Pressure Surveys Pressure surveys that are computer calculated from flow correlations can be the best means of analyzing the performance of continuous flow gas lift wells. The usual first objection to this concept is “those computer programs don’t match the well pressureswhereIcomefrom.”Butthe computer calculated results can be made to fit “the well pressures where you come from” with a cooperative effort between the field personnel and the technical groups that are involved (Le., company engineers or consultants). Once a fit is accomplished, the benefits are readily available at a very small cost per run. The results of a computer calculated pressure survey can be used for redesigning, trouble-shooting, improving well performance, and updating PI data. The prudent operator will make use of computer calculated pressure surveys as often as possible. They will decrease the number of wireline pressure surveys that are required with their attendant problems and expense. Temperature Surveys in Tubing Flow Wells Temperature plays an important part in the operating of a pressure-charged valve. For this reason it is necessary to have accurate bottomhole temperature and surface temperature data under both static and flowing conditions. These data are necessary for the design of a gas lift installation. They also may be useful later for locating the depth of the operating valve. Fig. 7-9 shows a survey of flowing pressure and temperature in a gas lift well. It is interesting to note the comparison of the test rack opening pressure of the valve to the opening pressures at operating temperature, and finally to the surface operating pressure. A definite change in both the producing fluid gradient and the temperature gradient can be noted at the point of gas injection at 4,000 ft. A flowing temperature survey can be valuable in locating tubing leaks as well as locating the operating gas lift valve.

600C

800(
966c

2000
PRESSURE PSlG

3945
FLOWING

6.H.P
CASING 90.1 F L U I DP E R PERCENT

WELL DATA: 2 - I N TUBING IN 5-112-IN INPUT GAS-FLUID RATIO i PRODUCTION i 4 0 0 0 BBL WITER PROOU(T1CN. 91

DAY’

Fig. 7-8 - Flowing pressure survey of casingflow gas lift well

Subsurface Temperature Surveys in Casing Flow Wells
A temperature survey can also be made inside the tubing of a casing flow installation to determine the point of gas injection. As the expanding gas will cool the outside of the tubing directly above the operating valve, the temperature gage will record the temperature change. The temperature survey should be run to the bottom of the well in order to establish a reliable temperature gradient.
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Precautions When Running Flowing Pressure and Temperature Surveys Some precautions should be exercised when running flowing pressure surveys in continuous flow wells. It is recommended that the well be prepared prior to the survey by placing the lubricator for the pressure gage in place, with the addition of a master valve above the flowingwing valve. It is important to produce the well until a stabilized flow condition has been established before making the gage run. It is also necessary to provide a weighted section to the pressure gage in order to prevent the flow stream from lifting the instrument, which might result in its damage or loss. In somehigh volume wells with small tubing, it may be necessary to shut the well in and run the gage to bottom as

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Flowing Pressure and Temperature Survey
The flowing pressure and temperature survey has long been one of the primary ways of determining the operating valve and formation pressure drawdown. The following procedure is suggested to assure that enough useful information will be obtained from the survey to allow you to make good decisions. 1. Run survey under stabilized flowing conditions. 2. Run a pressure and temperature instrument in combination, with the temperature instrument being at the bottom.

TUBING

= 2"

2

4 "y
O

262

I I

GAS-FLUID RATIO = 200- I VALVE OPEN ING AT VALVE TEST DEPTH WRFPCE DEPTH PRESS.PFESS. PRESS. í o 0 990 1150 I100 '0

3. Use enough sinker bars to assure that the instruments will move forcefully down the hole and not be pushed up the hole by the flowing fluid.
6ooo
500 1000 PRESSURE PSIC.
1500

2OOO

165O TEMPERATURE F .
1 0 0

4. Make the following stops recording the time and depth reading at each stop. a. At the surface. b. One or two stops between mandrel stations.

Fig. 7-9 - Temperature andflowing pressure survey gas of lift well

I

2

3

4

Fig. 7-10 - Typical acoustic survey of gas lift well

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Analysis and Regulation of Continuous Flow Gas Lift c. Four stops around each mandrel as follows: Stop 1 - 5 0 above Stop 2 - 25‘ above Stop 3 - 5‘ above Stop 4 - 25‘ below d. From bottom mandrel to perforations as required.
e. At perforations.

5 . Timed duration of stops.

3 min. stops if using a 3 hr. clock; 5 min. stops if using a 6 hr. clock
Interpretation of the survey data is best evaluated by plotting the results on a pressure depth diagram. On the same diagram indicate the depth of the valve stations. Fig. 7-9 shows the plotting of a typical pressure and temperature survey and easily identifies the operating valve or the depth of injection.

with no packer, the pressure in the annulus at the fluid level would be equal to the pressure in the tubing (this is often referred to as the “point of balance”), and the operating valve would be directly above. However, i n a well containing a packer. It may be that the well originally unloaded to a lower valve; and, as the formation fluid entered the well, the formation gas supplemented the injection gas, permitting the opening of an upper valve. With the packer, check valves, and tubing all holding perfectly, the acoustical device would show the well unloaded to the lower valve, indicating a false “point of balance.” Periodic sounding should be taken under satisfactory operating conditions so that they can be used in comparison with future soundings. Fig. 7-10 shows a typical acoustic survey of a gas lift well. The sound impulses decrease with depth but clearly show all the protruding surfaces on the tubing string, such as the collars and gas lift valves. As the gas lift valves are larger and offer more reflective sound surface than the collars, a greater impulse is recorded on the chart. The fluid level in the casing is clearly shown by the large zig-zag indicating the point of rebound. The rebound reflects a duplicate of the first recording but to a diminished degree. The operation of acoustical equipment, and interpretation of the charts produced, should be done by experienced personnel. It takes practice, and a certain amount of art and experience, before a person can correctly interpret the sound impulses.

Fluid Level Determination by Acoustical Methods
One of the most common and economical methods of locating the fluid level in the annulus of a tubing flow continuous flow gas lift well is through the use of acoustical well-sounding devices. The fluid level in a closed or semiclosed installation will represent the deepest point to which the well has been unloaded but may not represent the point of operation at the present time. In an open installation
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VARIOUS WELLHEAD INSTALLATIONS FOR GAS INJECTION CONTROL
This latter method will permit the hot flowline fluidsto pass over the gas line, thus acting as a heat transfer unit.

Fig. 7-1 1 illustrates a wellhead installation using only a choke as a gas control. This can be used i n most cases where the system pressure is reasonably stable. The choking may be accomplished by the use of an insert or adjustable type choke or metering valve. many cases choking may cause In freezing problems. This can be rectified using a dehydraby tor in the gas system, by using a gas heater ahead of the choke, or by building a heat exchanger around the choke.

CHOKE
Fig. 7-12 - Choke-regulator control,tubing flow well

CAUTION: THIS SYSTEM WILL WORK ONLY WHEN THE REGULATOR CAN BE SET HIGER THAN OPERATING INJECTION GAS PRESSURE (gas pressure in casing Fig. 7-11 - Choke control, tubing flow well downstream of choke control).

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Fig. 7-12 shows a wellhead installation that is recommended for most types of continuous flow gas lift valves where there is a fluctuating gas system pressure. The regulator is set to operate at a pressure higher than the injection gas pressure in the casing downstream of the choke control. The choke is installed in the gas line downstream from the regulator. The combination of the two permits a constant gas volume to be injected into the well. Fig. 7-13 illustrates a production pressure control installation. This is generally used on wells that have a tendency to flow. The pressure element on the gas control valve is set to inject gas when the production pressure drops below its normal flowing pressure. It is recommended that a choke be used with the gas control valve to prevent surging of the well gas pressure.

PRESS. ELEMENT

Fig. 7-13 - Production pressure control of the injection gas, tubing flow well

WELL INJECTION GAS PRESSURE FOR CONTINUOUS FLOW SYSTEMS
For many years it was a general rule that continuous flow gas lift needed a well injection gas pressure of 100 psi/lOOO ft. of lift. This led operators in many fields to select an injection gas system of less than 1000 psig. Today, these pressures are considered low for gas lift purposes. Also, the approach to design and selection of the injection gas pressure is more sophisticated. It is related specifically to the highest expected flowing bottomhole pressure in the field. This approach led to higher pressure systems of 1440 psig (ANSI Series 600) and higher. Some of the deeper oil fields are planned for reservoir pressure maintenance before the field is completely drilled. Tying the gas lift system design to reservoir performance allows efficient production at higher flowing bottomhole pressures as high as 2300 psi.

Gas lift valves are easily adaptable to 1400 psi well gas pressures and several vendors have valves for 2000 psi and higher gas systems.

GETTING THE MOST OIL WITH THE AVAILABLE GASLIFT
The efficientdistribution of circulatedgas to each well on gas lift is of primary concern to operating personnel. It is this component of the gas lift system with which the operator has direct and daily contact. So, it is the component of the system that the operator uses to make a system efficient. The principles given here apply to both continuous flow discussed in this chapter, and intermittent lift which will be discussed in the following chapters. The detailsof this componentwill be discussed as related to the method of control exercised by operating personnel. The methods generally used are manual and semi-automatic control. A few companies have implemented automatic controls. The automatic control method offers the greatest
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promiseforefficiency, but progress with this method is moving slowly. Therefore, the methods that are most commonly used today will be discussed first. In all cases, itwill be assumed that a two-pen pressure recorded for recording both casing and tubing pressures is on the well and that a meter run for measuring lift gas is at each well.

Controls Manual
These controls are least efficient because the they require manual changes in adjustment when any system parameter changes, and because their durationof efficiency is only as long as all systems parameters are constant. Manual controls are detailed in Fig. 7-14.

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Analysis and Regulation of Continuous Flow Gas Lift A gas injection choke is commonly used for continuous flow and sometimes for intermittent lift. Chokes in intermittent lift wells are usually used only when pilot or production operated valves are employed. The choke controls the rate of circulated gas to the well and does a good job C only as long as P, and P r remain fixed after the adjustment is made. Pcrstays constant becauseit is partially controlled by the gas lift valves. But if P, increases, inefficiency is introduced because the choke will pass more gas than needed. If P, decreases, the choke will reduce the volume of gas circulated and the volume of produced fluid will be reduced.

Optimizing Gas Lift Systems
The gas controls discussed previously have been improved to the point that they remain efficient until a defined loss in injection gas pressure (P,) is reached. Therefore, if operating personnel can reduce or eliminate the occurrence of a degrading P, then another improvement in system efficiency is accomplished.

For this purpose the following definition is acceptable: A gas lift system is optimized when the maximum possible barrels of oil are produced with the available circulated gas volume.

Semi-Automatic Controls
The manual surface controls may be improved by installing a pressure reducing regulator between the control and the high pressure gas source (Fig. 7-15). This provides a constant upstream pressure to each and eliminates the inefficiencies caused by increases in upstream pressure. This controlcomponent may be used for continuous flow and some intermittent lift wells (if the intermitting valves will operate properly with choke control and have correct operating speed) and is a significant improvement over the “choke only” installation when injection gas system pressure varies. The gas rate to the well is a functionof Pg2. An increase in Pgwill not be harmful. Basically, the semi-automatic controls preserve efficient gas control as long as the injection gas pressure (Pg) remains constant or increases. Efficiency is maintained with a limited (and defined) decline in P,, but there is still no protection against an excessive decline in P,.

1. Establish Priority System
Toaccomplishthis, the operatingpersonnelmust establish a priority system defining which wells get circulated gas when there is a shortage of circulated gas volume. The best basisfor a priority system is the circulated gas-oil ratio (or the injected gas-oil ratio, IGOR) for eachwell in the system. Each time a well is tested the following data are available: BOPD - barrels of oil/day (qo) BWPD - barrels of water/day TGAS - total gas from test separator, standard cubic feet per day (SCF/D) IGAS - lift gas circulated to the well, SCF/D (ig) FGAS - formation gas produced, SCF/D After the test, calculate IGOR (Rgoi=ig/qo). The well that has the lowest IGOR has top priority for circulated gas. Every effort should be made to circulate the required gas tothis well as long as any gas is available.

r

high pressure gas source Meter run

7
L

Choke
Pcf
1

‘I

.

c

Fig. 7-14 - Manually adjustable or positive choke

pressure reducing regulator

/

Choke

Fig. 7-15 - Pressure reducing regulator and choke
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Gas Lift By calculating an IGOR for each well from its latest test, the operator completes the priority list. The highest IGOR’s are now defined and theyshould be the first wells to lose circulated gas when the gas volume is reduced due to a loss in injection gas line pressure.

TABLE 7-2 MANUAL ACTION TO OPTIMIZE USE OF CIRCULATED LIFT GAS
Status of H.P. SBN Action

2. Implementing Priority System

Keeping the priority list up-to-date is a necessary part of the system. It is unlikely that a particular well moves from the lowest to the highest IGOR; but positions on the priority list will change as well conditions change. The status of the high pressure gas source can be recognized by the pressure. Table 7-1 illustrates logical conclusions.

Reduce or stop circulated gas to wells with highest IGOR’s until status returns to AN. Then restart gas to wells in ascending priority numbers until status returns to N. Stop circulated gas to wells with highest IGOR’s until status returns to N.

DBN

TABLE 7-1 STATUS OF HIGH PRESSURE GAS SOURCE
Pressure of H.P. Gas Source Normal
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Logical Status of High Symbol Pressure Gas N All is well - circulated gas volume equals available gas volume Action More gas volume available than is being circulated to the wells SBN More gas volume is being circulated than is available, but all wells are producing More gas volume is being circulated than is available and some wells are not producing

Low pressure shut-in valves should be installed on the selected wells with high IGOR’s (20 to 30 percent of the wells) in order to semi-automatically optimize the circulated lift gas. Half of the selected wells should be equipped with low pressure shut-in valves that automatically reopen when the system pressure recovers. The otherhalf should be equipped with low pressure shut-in valves requiring manual reset to reopen.

TABLE 7-3 SEMI-AUTOMATIC ACTION TO OPTIMIZE USE OF CIRCULATED LIFT GAS
Status N All wells taking gas as adjusted by operating personnel Gas is stopped to high IGOR wells w/auto reopen. No gas will go to them until status recovers above SBN. These wells will then automatically start taking gas again. Gas has already been stopped to well w/auto reopen pilots. Gas will now be stopped to wells w/manual reset pilots. If this action allows status to recover above SBN. the wells w/auto reopen pilots will again get circulated gas. Operating personnel must personally reset the other wells before circulating gas will be restarted to them.

Above Normal

AN

Slightly Below Normal Drastically Below Normal

SBN

DBN

DBN

The symbols of Table 7-1 will be used to indicate the status of the higher pressure gas source. From the priority list select 20 to 30 percent of the wells that have the highest IGOR’s. With the above parameters defined, a priority system can be implemented manually or automatically, as described in Table 7-2 and Table 7-3.

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Analysis and Regulation of Continuous Flow Gas Lift

95
in the most efficient manner auto-

Automatic Optimization of Injection Gas Use
Manual and semi-automatic optimization plans are keyed to trigger action only on a loss of pressure in the high pressure gas sources. Their inherent weakness is that they rely completely on the operating personnel to recognize changes in the well’s characteristics or malfunctions in the subsurface equipment. With today’s technology, microprocessors and computers may be used to monitor the well’s performance, evaluate the status of downhole equipment, measure the volume of high pressure gas available

and distribute lift gas matically.

A few companies have already used parts of this technology. An even fewer number have plans to implement completely automatic optimization systems. But automatic gas lift systems can be an economic field proven reality. Until then, operating personnel must do the best they can with manualandsemi-automaticsurfacegascontrols,and optimization plans, to get the most oil with the available lift gas.

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APPENDIX 7A EXAMPLES OF PRESSURE RECORDER CHARTS FROM CONTINUOUS FLOW WELLS

Operation: Continuousflow, casing choke control, tubingflow Type ofwell: High productivity, high bottomholepressure Trouble: None Recommendation: Leave well alone Type of gas lip valves: Injection pressure-operated Remarks: Good continuous flow operation. Well a high working fluidlevel. has Note the low back pressure effect. Well producing2,100 bbl offluid per day - 95 percent water - f r o m water drive reservoir, through 2% in. tubing. Chart 7-Al

Operation: Continuous flow, casing pressure control withregulator, tubing flow Type of well: High productivity, high bottomhole pressure Trouble: Inadequate production Recommendation: Reduce back pressure Type ofgas lijit valves: Pressure operated Remarks: Excessive back pressure may be due one or more of the following: to 1. Choke inflow line 2. Restriction inflow line (paraffin, snnd, etc.) 3. Flow line too small or too long 4. Separator pressure too high 5. Too many sharp bends inflow line 6. Highly emulsifiedfluid 7. Excessive input gas Chart 7-A2
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Operation: Intermittent injection vs. continuous injection, tubing flow Type ofwell: Borderline production rate Trouble: Inadequate production Recommendations: A n intermittent and continuous flow productioncomparison Type ofgas lqt valves: Pressure operated Remarks: Compare intermittent to continuous flow to determine most efficient production rate Chart 7-A3

Operation: Continuous flow,casing choke control, tubing flow Type of well: High productivity, high bottomhole pressure Trouble: None Recommendations: Leave well alone Type of gas l$t vulves: Injection pressure-operated Remarks: Thewell had been shut in overnight, and thegas had beenon shortly beforethe chart was changed. The turned casing pressure was at 46Opsig at the beginning 10:15 a.m. There was agradualpressure rise to 468psig due at tofluid temperature increase affecting valve. t 2:45p.m. the casingpressure increased to 48Opsig and a “kick” A can be noted the tubingpressure. was due to upper valve becoming operating valve.A t I0:OO a.m. on This an the the next morning the casing pressure had increased to 490 psig due to temperature effect. Chart 7-A4

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Operation: Continuous flow, casing choke control, tubing flow Type of well: Highproductivity, high bottomhole pressure Trouble: Choke ongas linefroze Recommendations: A gas heater might be installed ahead of the choke, a jacket might welded around the choke or be to permit the hot flowline fluids to pass over it, or the well might be placed on intermittent injection Type of gas l f t valves: Pressure operated Chart 7-AS

Operation: Continuousflow, tubingflow Type of well: Highproductivity, high bottomhole pressure Trouble: None, well isflowing Recommendations: h a v e well alone Type of gas lìjt valves: Pressure operated Remarks: Well is flowing; nogas is being injected Chart 7-A6
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Example of Pressures Recorder Charts from Continuous

Flow Wells

Operation: Continuous flow,casing choke control, tubing flow Type of well: High productivity, high bottomholepressure Trouble: Well was closed in to repairflowline Recommendation: None Type of gas lyt valves: Pressure operated Remarks: When the master valve was opened the tubing pressure was 250 psig. Flow immediately started but the pressure declined to 210 psig at the peak of U-tube. A s the gas cleared through the gas lift valve the tubing f pressure increased to a maximum o 345 psig, thenfell off andfinally stabilized at 285 psig.
Chart 7-A7

Operation: Continuous flow, tubing control, tubing flow Type of well: High productivity, high bottomholepressure Trouble: Well is flowing, but loads up with water periodically Recommendation: Operating satisfactorily Remarks: The tubing control element is set to inject gas into the well when the pressure decreases to 160 psig. It can be noted by therise in casing pressure opposite the drop in tubing pressure Chart 7-A8

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Operation: Continuousflow, casing choke control, tubing flow Type of well: High productivity, high bottomhole pressure Trouble: Well is being tested in test separator Recommendation: Remove high normal back pressure, or test against same high back pressure for accurate flow test Remarks: It would be impossible to have an accurate production test on the well under the above conditions Chart 7-A9

Operation: Continuous flow, casing choke control, tubing flow Type of well: Highproductivity, high bottomhole pressure Trouble: Well is closed in Recommendations: Check to see why it is closed in Type of gas lijìt valves: Pressure operated Remarks: On checking, it was noted that the well hadproduced its monthly allowable, and had been closed in. This can hurt some oil wells. It is better to cut the daily production and produce the well constantly. Chart 7-AIO

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Example of Pressures Recorder Charts from Continuous Flow Wells

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Operation: Continuous flow,casing choke control, tubing flow Type of well: High productivity, high bottomhole pressure Trouble: Not serious, well is “heading” Recommendation: Check to see if system gas pressure fluctuates Type ofgas lift valves: Pressure operated Remarks: Reasonably good operation. Well has a tendency “head,”which could caused by erratic valve operation to be or afluctuating system pressure. Chart 7-Al I

A choke was used on thegas to control thegas volume into the casing-tubing annulus. When thegas wasfirst turn line of on, an immediate surge offluid returned from the tubing the well was completely full salt water. When the liquid as volume displaced in the annulus stabilized thegas volume of the to rate injection gas, the tubing pressure remained at 50 psig until the top valve uncovered and gas entered the tubing.A surge in tubingpressure i noted as each valve is was s uncovered. The wellfinally stabilized on the 4thvalve.

Chart 7-Al2 - Unloading continuous flow well
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CHAPTER 8 INTERMITTENT FLOW GAS LIFT
INTRODUCTION
Continuous flow gas lift normally is more efficient than intermittent flow gas lift and, therefore, should be used whenever possible. There are, however, minimum liquid rates for each conduit size that be lifted efficientlywith can continuous flow. Minimum liquid rate usually occurs at “ about 100 to 150 BLPD in 2 3 / ~tubing, 200 to 300 BLPD in 27/~“ tubing and 300 to 400 in 3‘/2’’ tubing. When the minimum rate is reached, then intermittent lift should be considered. However, there may be a broad range of lower production rateswhere the two types of gas lift are about equal. In such a case, therewould be little justification for change unless there were other contributing factors. Usually intermittent lift is conducted in 2 3 / ~tubing; however, there are “ ” many successful installations using 2 7 / ~and 3’/2“ tubing. Intermittent lift is a displacement process.High pressure gas is injected into the liquid column on a cyclicor intermittent basis creating a gas bubble which expands pushing the liquid above it to the surface a slug. Whileit is normally in associated with low volume producers, intermittent lifthas successfully lifted wells at rates excess of 500 barrels of in liquid per day (blpd), although such a rate couldprobably havebeenliftedmoreefficiently with continuous flow. Wells with high productivity indices (PI) and low bottomhole pressure or wells with low PI’S requiring low flowing bottomhole pressures are most suited to this type of lift. Intermittent lift should achieve lower average flowing bottomhole pressures than can be obtained with continuous flow in wells producing at low flow rates and at low flowing bottomhole pressures. Intermittent gas lift with the more commonly used gas pressure operated valves requires periods of high instantaneous gas injection rates separated by periods of no gas injection. With time cycle control, the cyclic high instantaneous injection gas demand rate from the injection line is hard on the injection gas system. When a well demands gas, the pressure in the injection system is pulled down. This creates problems at the compression station since compressors are not well suited to a “flow-no-flow” set of conditions. Because of this problem, the volumetric capacity of the injection system should be large so it can act as an accumulator to help smooth out the flow surges. Gas measurement is also very difficult because of the cyclic flow. Usually intermittent lift wells require more attention than continuous flow wells to keep them producing at the maximum efficient rate.

OPERATING SEQUENCE
The operating sequence or cycle after unloading of an intermittent lift installation using gas pressure operated valves is shown in Fig. 8-l . In (A), formation liquids accumulate and rise in the tubing. All gas lift valves are closed.At a predetermined time (B), the intermitter or controller on the gas line at the surface opens and injects into the tubinggas casing annulus. This increases the pressure in the annugas lus until this pressure and the liquid pressure in the tubing are sufficient to open the operating valve. the restof the All valves remain closed because the gas pressure alone is not sufficient to open the valves. Gas is injected very rapidly into the liquid column creating a gas bubble. the bubble As expands, it pushes the liquid above it to the surface. In (C), the liquid slug has reached the surface at which time the operating valve should close. The intermitter or controller has already closed. In (D), the slug has moved down the flowline to the separator, the “tail gas” behind the slug has bled off, and formation liquids are again accumulating in the tubing. Several things are apparent from this explanation. (1) The gas should be injected rapidly. If not, it will just bubble up through the liquid without lifting any liquid to the surface. Consequently, large-ported valves that tend to “snap” open rather than throttle open are recommended for the operating valve. ( 2 ) The operating valve should be the bottom valve and should be located just above the packer. This way the lowest possible flowing bottomhole pressure can be achieved. (3) The back pressure atthe surface should be as low as possible to minimize fallback, maximize the initial starting slug, and reduce the amount of gas required to lift the liquid slug to the surface. Ideally, the flowline shouldbelarge in diameter and short in length. Small diameter, long flowlines are very detrimental to intermittent lift installationsbecause they cause high wellhead pressures. This problem can sometimes be reduced by decreasing the maximum injection gas cycle frequency in high PI wells.

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Lift

Intermittent

Volve Closed

Valve Closed

Volve Closed

Volve Closed

Valve Closed

V o l v e Closed

Opereling Volve Open

Opcroting Volve Open

The illustrations in Fig. 8-1 show a closed installation. A closed installation uses a packer and a standing valve below the bottom gas lift valve. An open installation has neither a packer nor a standing valve. A semi-closed installation has a packer but not a standing valve. The closed installation is recommended for intermittent lift. Since pressure acts downward as well as upward the standing valve prevents the high pressure gas from forcing liquids back into the formation on each cycle. Astanding valve is normally recom-

The primary factors affecting the maximum producing rate in intermittent lift are (1) tubing size, (2) depth of lift, (3) injection gas pressure, (4) wellhead back pressure, ( 5 ) gas passing ability of the gas lift valve, (6) gas breakthrough and fall back, (7) bottomhole pressure build-up characteristics, and (8) other unusual well conditions such as emulsions.

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[A) Immediotcly Before
Gar Injection

[C)

Injection Cos Entering Tubing Through Volve After Controller Closed

[D) After Gor Injection

Fig. 8-1 - Intermittent lift cycle of operation f o r conventional closed intermittent installation

TYPES OF INSTALLATIONS
mended; however, it can cause problems if the well produces sand. The sand can collect on top of the standing valve making it difficult if not impossible to pull. The other two types of installations (open and semiclosed) will allow the high pressure gas to act on the formation thereby decreasing the efficiency of the lift. An open installation without a packer is not recommended for intermittent lift.

FACTORS AFFECTING PRODUCING RATE
Maximum Rate The maximum rate at which an intermittent lift well can be produced is limited by the maximum number of times the well can be cycled in a 24-hour period. Experience has shown it takes about 3 minutes per 1000 feet of lift to inject the gas, open the operating valve, lift the slug to the surface, and bleed off the tail gas. This time will vary from

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Gas Lift recommended for the operating valve for intermittentflow gas lift.
2. Velocity of the Slug

installation to installationbut the time of 3 minutes per 1000 feet of lift is a good rule to use for estimating maximum production rate and minimum cycle time.

Fallback
In intermittent lift,the gas alone does sweep all of the not liquid out of the tubing from the operating valve the surto face. Some liquid always falls back. Some of this liquid wets the walls of the tubing and runs back down. Also, the gas has a tendencyto bubble up through the liquid allowing some of the liquid to drop back down. Fallback can be defined as the difference between the starting slug and the produced slug. This is shown in Fig. 8-2.

The slower the slug moves up the tubing, the longer the gas has to break through the liquid. A minimum slug velocity of 1000 feet perminute is recommended to minimize gas break-through.

3. Restrictions at the Wellhead

The third factor affecting fallback is restrictions at the wellhead. The usual flow path through the Christmas tree into the flowline is rather tortuous; first through a to the tee wing valve, then through another 90" ell or choke tee,then Gas break-through and fallback are affected by three through at least one more and probably two or more 90" things; the development of the gas bubble, the upward ells before reaching the flowline. All this slows down the velocity of the liquid slug, and restrictions at the wellhead. slug allowing more liquid to fall back. The flow pattern 1. Development of the Gas Bubble through the Christmas tree should be streamlined as much If the operating valve has a small port or tends to throttle as possible. For example, the flow could be out the top of the tree and then through a sweeping pipe bend to bring the open rather than snap open, gas will enter slowly and tend flowline back to the ground as shown in Fig. 8-3. to rise up through the liquidwithout providing much lifting action. Gas should enter the tubing quicklyto form the gas For estimating purposes, the fallback on a properly bubble and to accelerate the liquid slug up the tubing. adjusted intermittent lift well will be about 5 to 7 percent of Consequently, large-ported, snap-acting gas lift valves are the starting slug per 1000 feet of lift.

STARTING LIQUID SLUG AND FALLBACK
TO SEPARATOR TO SEPARATOR INJECTION GAS INJECTION GAS

L
STARTING SLUG

PRODUCED SLUG

t -

FALLBACK

'' ".1 I OPERATINGVALVE

\ I

*.

.,

OPERATING VALVE AJST AFTER CLOSING

FALLBACK = STARTMG SLUG

- PRODUCED SLUG

Fig. 8-2 - Illustrations of starting slug, produced slug, and fallback

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Intermittent Flow Gas Lift Use of Plungers in Intermittent Lift Systems

Fig. 8 - 3 - Streamlined wellhead for intermittent installation

Fallback can be reduced to an absolute minimum by using a plunger with the installation. The plunger acts as an interface or piston between the gas and the liquid, minimizing gas break-through. It also wipes the liquid from the tubing wall reducing the amount left to fall back. A tubing stop and bumper spring are installed just above the bottom or operating valve. After each slug surfaces, the plunger falls back to the bumper spring to start another trip. In such a system, the plunger would be inoperative if one of the upper valves turned out to be the operating valve. Therefore, the installation must be designed so that none of the upper valves will open while operating from the bottom valve. If an upper valve opens, it may blow the plunger back down preventing proper operation of the installation. Some conventional plunger equipment should not be used with wireline or side pocket mandrels. However, specially designed plungers for wells with sidepocket mandrels are available. For additional information on plungers, see the use of plungers in gas lift operations in Chapter 10.

DESIGN OF INTERMITTENT LIFT INSTALLATIONS
There are many methods of designing intermittent lift installations. Most of them fall into two basic categories; a fallback gradient method and a percent load method. Because of the normally low, irregular producing ratesin intermittent lift wells, the temperature gradient for design purposes is assumed to be geothermal. Also for intermittent lift design purposes, the surface temperature usually is assumed to be 74°F in the U.S. Gulf Coast which is approximately the temperature that would be measured about 50 feet below the ground level. However, surface temperatures vary by region, and the correct temperature for the region should be used. The intermittent lift spacing factor (unloading gradient) is determined from Fig. 8-4. This figure was developed from many flowing pressure surveys on many intermittent lift wells. The spacing factor accounts for the increase presin sure with depth of the gas in the tubing above the liquid level, fallback fluid transfer from the casing to the tubing and feed-in after drawdown is achieved.

Fallback Method
The fallback gradient method uses an average gradient of the tail gas, liquid fallback, and liquid feed-in to predict the minimum tubing pressure obtainable. This average gradient or intermittent spacing factor (SF) is dependent on the tubing size and anticipated production rate. Generally 0.04 psi per foot of depth is the minimum that should be used for unloading. This method normally uses the same surface closingpressure for all valves except the Operating valve which usually has a lower surface closing pressure. The surface closing pressure of the unloading valves normally should be 100 psi less than the system gas pressure. In 1963 White et al36 determined that the tubing pressure at the operating valve should be 59 percent of the gas pressure at the operating valve, at the instance the valve opens, for themost efficient operation. The commonly used value is 60 percent. Thus knowing the gas pressure at the valve, the tubing pressure can be calculated when the valve opens. After the gas pressure and the production (tubing) pressure at the valve are known, the P,, (valve closing pressure) of the valve can be calculated. This will show that the P,, is 50 to 90 psi less than the gas pressure at the valve depending on the valve characteristics. Therefore,selecting the surface closing pressure 100 psi less than the surface injection pressure will be on the safe side and account for fluctuations in gas pressure.
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Example Design Using Fallback Method:
The following well data illustrates the fallback design: method

Depth = 5000 feet System gas pressure = 700 psig (0.65 gravity) Surface tubing pressure = 65 psig Static bottomhole pressure = 775 psig Bottomhole temperature = 150°F Producing rate = 100 BLPD Kill fluid gradient = 0.465 psi/ft. Tubing size = Z3/8-in. O.D. Casing size = 5'h-in. O.D.

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/ Gas lift valve = l'/*-in. O.D. N2 charged, 'M in. seat, A,/& = 0.201, 1 - A,/& = 0.799

pressure (65 psig) at the surface to the bottom of the well (265 psig at 5000 ft.).

Explanation of Graphical Solution Fallback Using Method:
A graphicalsolution is theeasiest way to solve the problem. The following is a step-by-step procedure.
1. Preparesheet a

5. Plot the surface gas injection pressure. Use pressure 50 psi less than system pressure (650 psig).
of the well 6. Extend this pressure to the bottom accounting for the gas column weight (720 psig at 5000 ft.).

of graph paper with depth, pressure and temperature scales as shown in Fig. 8-5.

7. Plot 700 at the surface; 150°F at 5000 ft. and draw a straight line between the two points.
8. Subtract 100 psi from the surface injection pressure and plot this as the surface closing pressure of the unloading valves (550 psig).
'

2. Plot the wellhead pressure (65 psig) at zero depth

(surface).
3. Determine the appropriate spacing factor (unloading gradient) for the particular well from Fig. 8-4. This is a function of the anticipated production rate, tubing size, etc. (In this example it is 0.04 psi/ft).
4. Extend this gradient of 0.04 psi/ft from the wellhead

of the well 9. Extend the pressure to the bottom accounting for the gas column weight (610 psig at 5000 ft.). This line and the one plotted in step 6 are almost parallel, but not quite.

Fig. 8-4 - Intermittent lift spacing factor
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Intermittent Flow Gas Lift 10. Determine the static gradient of the kill fluid. For this example it is 0.465 psi/ft. 11. Extend a 0.465 psi/ft gradient linefrom the wellhead pressure (65 psig) to intersect the gas pressure at depth line plotted in step 6 . 12. This intersection is the depth of the top valve (1 300 ft.). 13.Drawahorizontal line to theleft to the spacing factor line plotted in step 4. 14. From the intersection of the horizontal line and the spacing factor line, draw a 0.465 psi/ft gradient line to intersect the P,, line to locate the depth of the second valve (2300 ft.). 15.Continuethisprocedureto total depth.Fig.8-5 shows the depths for the remaining valves. 16. Determine the temperature at each valve depth. 107

17. The final item is to calculate the set pressures of the valves. Read the pressures at the intersections of the horizontal lines and the P,, line. These are the PVC's of each valve. The set pressure of a nitrogen charged valve is calculated by the following equation: Equation 8.1 If the valve is spring loaded, the equation is: P,, = Where:

PC V I - Ap/Ab

Equation 8.2

P,, P,, CT 1 - A,/&

= Valve opening pressure in tester = Valve closing pressure

= Temperature correction factor = Manufacturers specification for the valve.

PRESSURE

-

O

4

2

100 PSI0 6

80 8

70

120

110 90

TEMPERATURE 'F 100 130 150

-

140

C, = 0.841

Depth 1300 2300 3200 4100 4800

PVC Temp. "668 578 688 600 600

c,
0.038 0.008 0.884 0.860 0.841

pvo 665 655 650

07 107 121 136 148

646 640

Uee 616 PSlG

Fig. 8-5 - Example of graphical solution using fallback method
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Lift 2.Plotwellheadpressure (surface).

18. Decrease the set pressure of bottom valve 25 to 30 the psi. This is calledflagging the bottom valve and is done so that it can be detected on a 2-pen pressure chart. Also consider using a large ported pilot valve on bottom.
19. List the results as shown in Fig. 8-5.

( 6 5 psig) at zero depth

3. Plot the surface gas injection pressure (650 psig).
4. Extend this pressure to the bottom of the well accounting for the gas column weight (720 psig at 5000 ft.).
5 . At the surface plot 60 percent of th,e injection gas pressure (0.6 x 650 = 390 psig at surface).

Percent Load Method

The other general method is commonly called the percent load method. As mentioned earlier, the White et al paper 6. At the bottom of the well, plot 60 percent of the gas determined that the production pressure at the operating pressure at the bottom (0.6 x 20 = 432 psig at 5000 valve should be approximately 60 percent of the gas presft.). sure at the valve at the instant the valve opens for efficient 7. Extend a 0.465 psi/ft gradient line from the wellhead lift. This then becomes the basisof this method. pressure (65 psig) at the surface tothe gas pressureat Explanation of graphical solution using percent load depth line to locate the top valve (1300 ft.). method follows: 8. Draw a horizontal lineto the left to intersect theper(Use the same well data given for fallback design.) cent load line. 1. Prepare the graph paper as shown in Fig. 8-6.

PRESSURE
O
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- 100 PSlG

TEMPERATURE - O F

1

401 PSlG

I -

W

k!2
O O

408 PSlG

:
I

41 1 PSlG

2

t3 W
n

416 PSI0

421 PSlG 4 428 PSlG

S

432 PSI0 Pbt P9 Temp.

Depth 1300 1000 2600 3100 3700 4360 4060

""

P P

Ç pvo - 0.936 0.92 1 0.903 0.886 0.87 1 0.856 0.839 720 716 710 706 706 700 676

401 406 411 416 421 426 432

6(10 677 686 673 702 716 710

614 622 630 637 646 867 661

91 100 110 120 120 139 149

Use 670 PSKi

Fig. 8-6 - Graphical solution using the percent load method

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9. From this intersection draw a 0.465 psi/ft gradient line to intersect the gas pressure at depth line to locate the depth of the second valve (1900 ft.). to the bottom of the well. 10. Continue the procedure Fig. 8-6 shows the depths of the remaining valves. 11. At each valve depth read the gas Pressures (pg) on the gas Pressure at depth line and the Production PresSures (PP) on thePercentloadlineateachvalve depth. 12. Determine the temperature ateach valve depth. 13. The set pressure for nitrogen charged valves is calculated by the equations: ~~~~~i~~ 8.3 Pbt = P (1 - A /Ab) + Pp(Ap/Ab) g p P"" = ( P d (cf) /Ab)(Ap 1For a spring loaded valve the Psp = P (1 -Ap g /Ab) P", = Equation8.4 equations are: Equation 8.5 Equation 8.6
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Notice that the spacing between valves increases with depth and seven valves are required whereas the fallback method required five valves.

Variations of Percent Method Load
Many variations of the percent load method have been devised to reduce the number of valves required. Probably the most commonly used procedure is called the 40 - 60 percent method. This modification uses 40 percent of the gas pressure at the surface and 60 percent of the gas pressure at the bottom of the well. In this method, spacing between valves decreases with depth and fewer valves are required. another Still procedure is a combination of the fallback and percent methods. load Valves are spaced from the surface usingthe fallback method until drawdown is achieved. Then the 60 percent load method is used from there to the bottom of the well.

Production Pressure Operated Lift Gas

Valves

+ Pp /Ab) (Ap

P, S
1/Ab) - (Ap

The foregoing examples of intermittent lift design are intended for use with injection pressure operated gas lift valves. Production pressure operated gas lift valves have also been used in many intermittent gas installations. lift Normally, when production pressure operated gas lift valves are used i n intermittent lift installations, there is no control device on the injection gas line other than a choke and full line pressure is used. The valves are set to open when the production pressure is within 150 psi to 300psi of the gas pressure at the same depth. Spacing of the valves is determined by the point of balance between the differential pressure between the gas pressure and the production pressure on one hand and pressure caused by the static gradient on the load fluid on the other. For example, assuming a load fluid with a staticgradient of 0.465 psi/ft and a 250psi differential between production pressure and gas pressure, the spacing between the valves will be 250 psi divided by 0.465 psi/ft or 540feet. This close spacing resultsin using more valves in an installation than would be required with injection pressure operated valves.

Where: Pbt P P pd p 1 -Ap/Ab AP /Ab P",
= Pressure in bellows at tempera-

ture at valve depth, psig
= Gas pressure, psig
= Production pressure at valve depth

= Valve manufacturers specification = Valve manufacturers specification = Valve opening pressure in tester at

60"F, psig

C T
PP S

= Temperature correction factor

= Spring pressure effect, psig

14. Decrease the set pressure of the bottom valve 25 to 30 psig to be able to detect it on a two-pen pressure chart.

CHAMBERS
Chambers are a special type of intermittent lift installation. Usually this system is used in wells that have good PI'S but very low bottomhole pressures. Consequently, the reservoir pressure of such wells will not support a long column of liquid. Fig. 8-7 shows an insert or"bottle" chamber. Fig. 8-8 shows the more common two-packer chamber. Liquids enter through the standing valve and fill the tubing and annulus. The bleed valve is open to vent the gas in the annulus above the liquid tothe tubing to prevent gas locking the annular portion of the chamber. At a predetermined time, the time cycle controlat the surface opens injecting gas into the tubing-casing annulus. The chamber valve then opens and injects gas into the annulus below the top packer. The gas pressure above the liquid increases and closes thebleed valve. As the gas pressure continues to increase, the liquid in the annulus is pushed down through the perforated sub just above the bottom packer and up the tubing. The standing valve prevents the liquids from being forced back into the formation. The gas then follows the liquid into thetubing forcing the liquid to the surface. At this time

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Gas Lift The height (H) of the liquid column in the tubing is the hydrostatic pressure (Hfl) divided by the static gradient of the well fluids (gs).
H = Hyd/gs

the chamber valve closes, the tail gas bleeds off, the bleed valve opens and liquid again enters through the standing valve. The bleed valve can be either a differential gas valve lift or set at50 to 100 psi a ‘kin. hole in a collar. Some chamber valves have the bleed feature built into them eliminating the need for a separate bleed valve. Above the chamber, the installation is a standard intermittent lift installation. The bottom unloading valve must be only one joint of tubing above the chamber valve otherwise the installation may not work. Two items must be calculated for a chamber; the chamber length and the set pressure of the chamber valve.

Equation 8.9

The chamber length (CL) is determined by: CL =

Rct

+ 1.0
Vt

H

Equation 8.10

Rct Where: Rct

+

-

v,,

Equation 8.11

Design of A Gas Lift Chamber Installation The length of the chamber is based on equating the wellhead pressure ( P w h ) plus the hydrostatic head (Hyd) of the liquid in the tubing above the chamber just as the chamber empties to 60 percent of the gas pressure (Pg) at the chamber valve.
P w h i- H y d = 0.60 (PB)
Hyd

- Ratio of Annular Volume to Tubing Volume Volume of Annulus Volume of Tubing

Equation 8.7 Equation 8.8

= 0.60 (PP)-

Pwh

If the chamber is too long, it will be difficult if not impossible to U-tube the liquid out the chamber into the of tubing. It is always better to have a chamber that is too short than to have one that is too long.

UNLOADING GAS
BOTTOM UNLOADING GAS L I F T VALVES

BOTTOMUNLOADING GAS LIFT VALVE HANGER NIPPLE FOR DIP TUBE OPERATINGCHAMBER GAS LIFT VALVE

OPERATING CHAMBER GAS LIFT VALVE
Standing valve modified f a r

STANDINGVALVE
(0)

Fig. 8-7 - Insert chamber installation

Fig. 8-8 - Two-Packer chamber installation

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Intermittent Flow Gas Lift Usually the chamber valve is a pilot operated valve. The only production pressure available to assist the injection gas pressure in opening the chamber valve is the wellhead pressure. There is no liquid head above the chamber valve. The equations for calculating the set pressure of nitrogen charged valve are: For a spring loaded valve:

PS,+ P, ( 1 - &/Ab) + P, (Ap/&)
Where:

Equation 8.5

P", =

PS,

Equation 8.6

1 - (AdAt,)

Where: P, = P w h (approx.)

If the chamber valve, vent valve and standing valve are wireline retrievable, then it will not be necessary to pull the well to change them. The standing valve should have a hold-down to prevent it from being blown out of its seating nipple by the high differential across it immediately after the slug surfaces.

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CHAPTER 9 PROCEDURES FOR ADJUSTING, REGULATING AND ANALYZING INTERMITTENT FLOW GAS LIFT INSTALLATIONS
INTRODUCTION
The differencebetween efficient and inefficient operation of an intermittent flow gas lift installation depends largely uponthemeans employed to control the injection gas volume to the well. This chapter describes different equipment applications and techniques for injection gas control. In addition, procedures are offered to assure unloading an intermittent installation without damage to the gas lift equipment. The controlof the injection gas for intermittent instalan lation can be divided into two main categories, viz., time cycle and choke control. The time cycle control with high pressure cutoff, choke control, a pressure reducing regulator, and other piecesof equipment areonly variations of the two categories, but these refinements are necessary for some installations to assure the most efficient operation. Recording of the casing and tubing pressures is recommended during unloading and for a daily reCO gas the -#rdof lift operation. It also assists the operator in determining the proper adjustment of the injection gas volume to the well. Pressure recorded and orifice meter charts from numerous intermittent installations are illustrated in this chapter.
~

Slug velocity is agood indication of the overall operation and proper adjustment of the injection gas volume. For most installations this velocity should be 800 to 1200 ft./min. to assure maximum liquid recovery per cycle. Increasing the injection gas volume does not always increase the daily production ratefrom an intermittent installation. Correct regulation of the injection gas volume per cycle, cycle frequency, and other conditions suchas paraffin, wellhead chokes, etc., can appreciably affect the daily producing rate and gas requirements.

CONTROL OF THE INJECTION GAS
The TimeCycle Controller
Time cycle control of the injection gas is applicable for most intermittent installationsand is recommended particularly for extremely high capacity and very low capacity wells. It is flexible since the cycle frequency can be easily changed to meet various desired producing rates (Fig. 9-1).

The time cycle operated controller is the most widely used means of injection gas control for intermittent lift installations. Completely automatic time cycle controls containing microprocessors, liquid crystal displays, and ADJUSTMENT FOR long life batteries are now available for controlling the injection gas cycle. These electronic timers are replacing many clock driven pilots. They improve accuracy for adjusting the duration and frequency of the injection gas cycle, and there is less chance of a controllernot closing due to clock stoppage. However, the old mechanical time cycle pilot which automatically actuates a motor valve (Fig. 9-1) on the injection gas lineat desired set intervals is probably still the most widely used type of surface control. Thetime cycle pilot usually consists of a timing wheel that is clock driven. Thenumber of gas injection cycles day is varied per by adding or eliminating timing pins, pushing back timing clips, etc., on a timing wheel, depending upon its construcREVERSE ACTING tion. The cycle frequency may also be changed by using PRESSURE OPENING MOTOR VALVE different clocks such as 2-hour, 4-hour, etc., rotation. The Fig. 9-1 - Time cycle controller for intermittent gas lift duration of gas injection is changed by certain adjustments installation in the time cycle control.

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Procedure for Adjusting, Regulating and Analyzing Intermittent Flow Lift Installations In small rotative gas lift systems, time cycle control is undesirable becauseof the high instantaneous injection gas volume required from the high pressure system. In such a system, if several controllers open simultaneously, or near the same time, the high pressure system loses pressure and one or more wells may not receive a sufficient volume of injection gas for that cycle. Between these periods of gas injection, no gas is needed to lift the well. Central timers with several timing wheels operated by a common drive shaft have been used in some fields to stagger the period of gas injection. The central timer has a timing wheel for each intermittent installation the indiand vidual motor valve on the injection gas line is opened and closed by a solenoid valve which is actuated by its corresponding timing wheel. Electronic timers can eliminate the need for a central timer. The accuracy of the quartz movement in an electronic timer allows precise staggering of the injection cycles for several wells. When installations will operate with choke controlof injection gas,high-rate injection gas removal from the system is eliminated. Such a system may require pilot operated gas lift valves in the wells.
--`````,`,,``,,,````,`,```,,,-`-`,,`,,`,`,,`---

113

are used, the valves must have the desired spread and operating characteristics needed for choke controlbased on the casing and tubing size. Pilot operated gas valves are lift the best type of gas pressure operated valves for choke control. In some cases large ported single element valves have been successfully used. The injection cycle frequency is varied by changing the choke size. Increasing the choke size increases the cycle frequency. Choke control is ideally suited forsmall rotative systems because the injection gas demand rate is constant. Smaller injection gas lines can be used and the surface equipment is less expensive than that required for time cycle control. Accurate measurement of the injection gasis no problem because of the constant demand of the wells. Choke control requires a minimum of attention by field personnel since there is no timing device to wind or check. The numerous limitations of choke control account for the predominance of time cycle control. Assuming that the gas lift valves and annular capacity will permit this type of operation, problems such as freezing, liquids in the injection gas line,and well deliverability will hamper or prevent choke control. If the injection gas is wet, a dehydrationunit should be considered. Other suggestions for alleviating freezing are; installation of a heater or locating the chokes near the compressor, and partially or completely bypassing the after-cooler. The problem of freezing is apparent, but the effect of liquid in the injection gas can be just as serious. A lengthy period of time is required for any appreciable volume of liquid to pass through a small choke with the pressure differentials encountered in most gas lift systems. Therefore, the gas supplied to the well is shut off during thistime. Straight choke control of the injection gas is not recommended for very low productivity or extremely high capacity intermittent installations. For very low producing rates, the choke size becomes too small for practical application; and for very high producing rates, choke control limitsthe maximum slug size and cycle frequency.

Location of Time Cycle Controller
For more intermittent installations, the controller should be located at the well rather than at the tank battery to assure the most efficient operations. When the controller is at the tank battery, both casing and injection line to the well must be filled in order to increase the casing pressure.This slows the rate of increase in casing pressureand may result in a lower overall lift efficiency. The injection gas line cannot be included as part of the high pressure storage unless the controller is at the well.

Choke Controlof the InjectionGas
For choke control of an intermittent installation, the required injection gasis delivered intothe casing through a small choke or metering valve in the injection gas line. These installations may have injection gas or production pressure operated valves. If gas pressure operated valves

UNLOADING AN INTERMITTENT INSTALLATION
The intermitting cycle is described in Chapter 8. This lation, it is likely that the damage to these valves occurred during unloading. section supplements the operationsdiscussed in that chapter by outlining procedures and considerations which are Recommended Practices Prior to Unloading important to the operators in order that damage to equipThe recommended practices prior to unloading intermitment may be eliminated and efficient unloading operations tent lift wells are the same as given in Chapter 7 for conassured. If gas lift valve seats leak in an intermittent instaltinuous flow wells.

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Initial U-Tubing
Until the top valve is uncovered, injection gas pressure exerted on top of the liquid column in the casing causes fluid from the casing to U-tube into the tubing through open gas lift valves. No bottomhole pressure drawdown occurs during U-tubing operations because tubing presthe sure at total depth exceeds the static bottomhole pressure due to the pressure exerted by the liquid column in the tubing. If the installation has a standing valve, the valve will be closed. Since no reservoir fluid feed-in is possible during the U-tubing, this operation should not be hurried. The casing pressure should be increased gradually to maintain a low jluid velocity through the open gas lijì valves. If full line pressure is exertedon top of the fluid column in the casing, a pressure differential that is approximately equal to this line pressure will occur across each valve in the installation. Damage to the valve seats can result from the high fluid velocity through the valves. After the top valve is uncovered, this condition cannot recur because the top valve will always open before a high pressure differential can exist across the valves below the fluid level. The first injection gas head immediately after the top valve is uncovered can overload the surface facilities in some instances, particularlyif the port sizeof the top valve is large. Itmay be advisable to restrict injection gas into the the flowline during the first head. Some installations are designed with upper gas lift valves having a smaller port than the lower valves to reduce the gas heads from the upper valves. These important facts about protecting the lift valves gas and the surface facilities are reasons enough to conclude that this step should be done manually and should be personally observed by the operator.

After witnessing the initial U-tubing the operator may adjust the timer to continue the unloading operation. l . Cycle frequency should be basedon the expected or desired production from the well. Each lift cycle should deliver from oneto two barrels of fluid per inch of tubing diameter. For example, in 2-inch tubing 12 cycles per day should produce from 24 to48 barrels of fluid perday. Use this relationship to determine the cycle frequency for a particular well. However,duringtheunloadingoperations it is best not to exceed two or three cycles per hour for the first 12 to 24 hours. 2. Injection time should be adjusted to stop when the liquid slug clears the wellhead and the gas bubble first reaches the wellhead. This, of course, will be more than enough gas while the well is operating from the upper valves, but will be about right as the well unloads to the bottom valve. These guidelines are for unloading only. In other words, they are starting points. The well should be checked for improved adjustments the following day.

Unloading with Choke Control the Injection Gas of
Not all intermittent installations can be unloaded or operated with choke control of the injection gas. The type of gas lift valve and the ratio of casing annulus capacity to tubing capacity must be suited for this type of operation. The chokesize selected should be considerably smallerthan the port size of the gas lift valve to permit the injection pressure in the casing to decrease the valve closing presto sure after a valve has opened. No excessive pressure differential across the valves will occur during initial U-tubing when the casing pressure is increased slowly. Use the same guidelines asfor a time cycle controller. Set the choke so that the casing pressure increase be about will 50 psi in about 8-10 minutes and continue at this rate until the casing pressure is about 400 psia. Then increase the choke size so that the casing pressure increases 100 psi in 8-10 minutes. Maintain this choke setting until the top valve is uncovered to gas. After the top valve is uncovered, adjust the gas rate the to well so that it is a function of the design or expected production rate from the well. For example, for 100 barrels per day from 6,000 ft. one could expect to use 150,000 standard cubic feet per day. Therefore, set the injected lift gas rate to be * h of the 150,000 or 100,000 standard cubic feet per day. This may not work the well down to the bottom valve but it will unload safely and without damage to the gas lift valves. After 12-18 hours of reduced gas volume is circulated to the well, adjust the gas to the full amount expected to be used for lifting the well’s production.

Unloading Operations Using a time Cycle Operated Controller
The time cycle operated controller on the injection gas line should not be adjusted to remain open during initial U-tubing. It should be adjusted for frequent but short duration of gas injection to permit a gradual increase in casing pressure. For example, 20 second injection every 4 a or 5 minutes can be used until the top valve is subjected to gas and the first gas bubble enters the production tubing. More accurately stated the time cycle controller should be set to inject gas at a rate which will cause a50 psi increase in casing pressure in an 8-10 minute time interval. Once the absolute casing pressure has reached a value 400 psi the of injection rate can be increased cause a 100 increase in to psi casing pressure in the same 8-10 minutetime interval. This second rate should be continued until the top valve is exposed to gas allowing the gas in the casing to flow into the tubing and upward into the flowline.

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Regulating and Analyzing Intermittent Lift Flow Installations

ADJUSTMENT OF TIME CYCLE OPERATED CONTROLLER
After an installation is unloaded, the time cycle operated controller should be adjusted for minimum injection gas requirement for the desired production. Then the injection gas cycle frequency and duration of gas injection should be checked periodically for most wells to assure continued efficient operation. If the producing rate from a well changes, surface control of the injection gas must also be changed to maintain a minimum injected gas liquid ratio (R,)¡). If this ratio is excessive as a result of valve spread, a change in cycle frequency should be considered prior to redesigning an installation. Decreasing the injection gas cycle frequency increases the time fluid can accumulate above the operative valve in mostintermittentinstallations. The increased slug length at the instant the valve opens results in increased tubing pressure at valve depth, thus lowering the opening pressure of the operating valve. The injection gas volume per cycle is reduced because of decreased valve spread and more liquid is recovered per cycle. These two things work together to yield a lower injected gas liquid ratip (Rgli). cycles per day immediately before the previous setting in Step 2. This establishes the proper injection gas cycle frequency.

Step 4
Reduce the duration of gas injection per cycle untilthe production rate decreases, then increase the duration of gas injection by 5 to 10 seconds for fluctuations in injection gas line pressure.
A time cycle operated controlleron the injection gas line can be adjustedasoutlined,providedthelinepressure remains relatively constant. If the line pressure varies significantly, the controller is adjusted to inject amplegas volume with minimum line pressure. When the line pressure is above theminimum pressure, excessive injection is used gas each cycle.

The following tabulation (Table 9-1) gives data obtained from an intermittent installation and illustrates the effectof cycle frequency and duration of gas injection on operating efficiency.

Procedure for Determining Cycle Frequency
The following procedure is recommended for determining the proper cycle frequency duration of gas injection and immediately after the installation is unloaded and anytime during the life of the well.

Step 1
Adjust the controller for a duration of gas injection which will assure more injection gas volume than is normally required per cycle (approximately 500 C U ft./bbl per 1,000 ft. of lift). Adjusting the controller to stay open until the slug reaches the surface will result in more gas being injected into the casing than is actually needed.

Step 2
Reduce the number of injection gas cycles per dayuntil the well will no longer produce the desired rate of liquid production.

Step 3
Reset the controller for the number of injection gas

The initial surface choke size selection for controlling the injection gas is calculated to pass thelift gas needed for the designed production rate.

The final selection of the surface choke or opening through a metering valve is determined by trial and error until the desired operation is attained. Since an injection

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TABLE 9-1 DATA FROM AN INTERMITTENT INSTALLATION
Duration of Injection Gas Cycle Time Between Frequency, Gas Injections, Minutes CycleslDay Duration Total of Gas Daily Injection, Production Seconds B/D Approximate Average Injection Rg1i, Cu FUBbl

72 48 36 24

20 30 40 60

56 56 63 85

175 186 174 170

3,000 2,200 1,800 1,300

A cyclefrequency of 48 cycles per day (30 min. per cycle) resulted in the maximum producing rate. A cycle frequency of 24 cycles per day (60 min. per cycle) represented the least amount of Rgli. There was considerable difference in the injection R,),. Note the big difference i n Rgl, for 72 cpd and 36 cpd; yet there was a loss of only 1 BPD with the 36 cpd setting. Finally, the 48 cpd used only 409 mcf/d for 186 BPD while the 72 cpd used 525 mcf/d for only 175 BPD, proving again that more gas circulated to a well does not always produce more fluid.

SELECTION OF CHOKE SIZE FOR CHOKE CONTROL OF INJECTION GAS
gas pressure operated gas lift valve suited for choke control is opened by both injection gas pressure and production pressure, increasing the injection gas pressure will decrease the production pressure required to open the valve. After an operating valve closes and the slug surfaces,the injection gas and production pressure begin to increase. The rate at which the gas pressure increases is dependent upon the choke size in the injection gas line, whereas the increasein

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production pressure at valve depth deliverability and tubing size.

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is a function of well

time in which to deliver fluid into the tubing which, in turn, increases the production pressure atvalve depth and reduces the gas pressure required to open the valve. Choke controlof the injection gasis all that is needed for most production pressure operated valve installations. The gas pressure is allowed to vary with the choke size rather than attempting to maintain a fixed gas pressure for production control,
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If the injection line choke size too large, the valve will is open at a higher gas pressure than that required for adequate injection gas storage in the casing. The production pressure will not reach a value that will result in the lower gas pressure needed for minimum injection gas requirement. By decreasing the choke size, the well has a longer

VARIATION IN TIME CYCLE AND CHOKE CONTROL INJECTION GAS OF
Application of Time Opening and Set Pressure Closing Controller
When the injection gas line pressure varies significantly, a pilot, which opens the controller on time and closes it after a predetermined increase casing pressure,is recomin mended. The injection gas cycle frequency controlled by is the timing mechanism. The volume of injection gasused per cycle is governed by the casing pressure control. The pipe is adjusted for a long duration gas injection and the conof troller remains open until the maximum desired casing pressure is reached regardless of time required for this increase.

casing pressure causes the gas lift to open only after a valve predetermined tubing pressure has been reached in the tubing. The two-pen pressure chart in Fig. 9-2 illustrates typically good intermitting operation from four commonly used surface gas control systems.

1..

9."

Application o Time Cycle Operated Controller f With A Choke in the Injection Gas Line
When the injection gas line pressure greatly exceeds the operating casing pressure for an intermittent installation, a choke may be installed in the injection gas line to increase the durationof gas injection. This combination also extends the advantagesof choke controlto wells with very low production rates.

Application of A Combination Pressure Reducing Regulator and Choke Control
This type of control is ideally suited for low capacity wells which would require an extremely small choke to obtain the minimum injection gas requirement. A small choke increases the possibility of freezing and will plug easily. With a pressure reducing regulator, a much larger choke than that needed for straight choke control can be used and the starting slug length can be controlled by the set regulator pressure in most installations. The pressure reducing regulator controls the maximum casing pressure between injection gas cycles. The controlled maximum

SURFACE GAS CONTROL SYSTEMS A. Time Cycle Controller B. Choke Control C. Choke and Pressure Regulator D. Choke and Time Cycle Controller

Fig. 9-2 - Two-pen pressure chart

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IMPORTANCE OF WELLHEAD TUBING BACK PRESSURE TO REGULATION OF INJECTION GAS
The maximum wellhead tubing pressure associated with the surfacing of a liquid slug is an indication of the slug length and/or restriction in the flowline such as a wellhead choke, paraffin deposition, etc. It is desirable to have wellhead and flowline conditions that result in the maximum tubing pressure being a true indication of the slug size. The two surface conditions associatedwith wellhead tubing pressure that are detrimental to intermittent lift operation are: (1) An excessive increase in tubing pressure before the entire liquid slug can enter the flowline, and (2) a prolonged period of time required for the wellhead tubing pressure to decrease to separator pressure after a slug has surfaced. Maximum wellhead tubing pressure should occur following the surfacing of a slug. If the tubing pressure reaches a maximum before most of the slug enters the flowline, the slugvelocity will be reduced and excessive gas break-through will occur. If the time required for the tubing pressure to decrease after a slug has surfaced is excessive, the maximum injection gas cycle frequency and producing capacity of a high capacity well are limited. important minimum separator pressure becomes. High separator pressure reduces the starting slug length and production per cycle.

Surface Choke in Flowline
If an intermittent installation must be choked to reduce the rate of gas entry into a low pressure system, the choke should be located as far from the well as possible, preferably near the tank battery. This allows the slug to leave the vertical conduit and accumulate in the horizontal conduit. A small wellhead tubing choke will significantly reduce the liquid slug recovery per cycle increase the injectiongas and requirement.

Flowline Size and Condition
The time required for the wellhead tubing pressure to decrease to separator pressure after a slug surfaces is a primary factor in the maximum producing rate from some installations. The size and condition of the flowline affects this time. A flowline should be as large or larger than the tubing. A common flowline for several wells is not recommended in most instances. If more than one well intermits simultaneously, excessive back pressure will result. The flowline must be kept clean of paraffin and other deposits to prevent excessive back pressure. In some wells the production has been more than doubled by removing paraffin from the flowline.

Wellhead Configuration
The wellhead should be streamlined to prevent excessive injection gas break-through from a decreasing slug velocity. All unnecessary ells, tees, bends, etc., near the wellhead should be eliminated. A streamlined wellhead is illustrated in Fig. 8-3, Chapter 8.

Separator Pressure
Separator pressure should be maintained as low as possible. The lower the flowing bottomhole pressure, themore

SUGGESTED REMEDIAL PROCEDURES ASSOCIATED WITH REGULATION OF INJECTION GAS
There are several remedial procedures recommended before resorting to pulling the tubing. Information indicating the trouble may often be obtained from recordings of the surface tubingand casing pressure. If the trouble cannot be corrected by surface control, it isrecommended that an installation be serviced as soon as possible to prevent a waste of injection gas and loss in production. tubing with line pressure in the casing. Rocking is recommended for two reasons: (1) To force fluid from thetubing and casing into the formation to uncover the top valve in a well without a standing valve, or (2) To increase the tubing pressure at valve depth to lower the valve opening pressure. In production pressure operated installations, rocking the well will open an upper valve and permit resumption of the unloading operation.

Installation Will Not Unload
When unloading operations cease before reaching the operating depth, rocking an installation is recommended. Rocking a gas lift installation is accomplishedby applying injection gas pressure to the top of the fluid column in the

Valve Will Not Close
A continuous high rate of decrease in casing pressure below the surface closing pressure of the operating valve may indicate that this valve is stuck open. When this occurs

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the tubing should be shut in and the casing pressure increased to a point well above the opening pressurethe of valve. The tubing is opened as fast as possible, preferably to atmosphere to prevent overloading surface facilities, and the wellhead tubing pressure is permitted to decrease to separator or atmospheric pressure. The procedure is repeated several times or until the casing pressure decreases to the valve closing pressure. This action creates a high pressure differential across the valve seat and will generally remove any trash holding the valve open.

Salt can plug the bleed port in a pilot valve resulting in the main valve remaining open after the pilot section closes. If a system is operated with corrosive gaswithout protection for an extended period of time, products of corrosion Many times salt deposits can be removed by batching or will accumulate in the gas distribution linesand subsurface pumping fresh water into the casing. equipment. Addition of a corrosion mitigation program Emulsions will result in a clean up of the “dirty” system and a continued protection of the system. An emulsion is difficult tolift and requires more injection gas than would be requiredif it did not exist. Many times an emulsion can be eliminated or the severity reduced by adding chemical to the injection gas. Ways of lifting an emulsion include the use of a plunger, large-ported valves, pilot operated valves, and/or time cycle operated controller with a maximum pressure control.

Corrosion Corrosion inhibition can be effectively applied to gas lift systems. The chemical may be introduced just downstream of the compressors to protect the gas distribution lines to each well and to protect the subsurface casing tubing. It and is most effective when applied to new systems. If either corrosion inhibition or emulsion breaking chemicals are injected directly intothe gas, care should be taken to ensure that the chemical carrier is not of the type that will be dissolved in the gas, otherwise the heavy elements of the chemicals may plug the gas lift valves and injection chokes.

The first phase,the clean up, can cause temporary operational problems. As the products of corrosion are removed from the system, they will tend to plug the gas lift valves and make the valves perform erratically. As mentioned, these problems are temporaryand must be weathered to cleanup the system.

TROUBLE-SHOOTING
The basic principle in trouble-shooting is to know what to expect when a system is functioning correctly,then isolate deviations from this example determine possible causes and for the particular malfunctions observed. In many cases, and gas lift is no exception, observation of a system in action requiresthe assistance of recording instruments. The following basic information should be obtained when the installation is operating properlyso that it may be compared with later information when trouble occurs.
1. The volume of fluid being produced from the well

Items 1 through 6 can be determined with a 24-hour production test from the well. The volume of fluid produced is measured at the tank battery or a metering station. A low pressure gas meter is needed at the separation point to measure the volume of gas liberated from the produced fluids. A high pressure meter run at the well is required to measure the volume of lift gas used. A two-pen pressure recorder will illustrate the cycle frequency and pressure changes at the well. A flowing pressure survey is the only positive way of determining the operating level and the formation pressure drawdown. The preferred procedure for makingan operating pressure survey is to run the pressure gage (bomb) during the feed-in period, to a depth just below the bottom valve. The gage should be left below the bottom valve through three complete gas lift cycles. It is important that the normal cycle frequency and injection period be used during this survey to obtain representative data. If the operator is reasonably certain that the well is not lifting from the bottom valve, he may move the gage up the hole one or two valves. The well may be operated through several cycles with the gage in this position; however, the wireline specialist should be cautioned to watch for the loss of weight on the wireline. This indicates that the gage is being blown up the tubing, and the operator should be prepared to shut the tubing wing valve at the first sign of this trouble.

per day (water, oil, gas) 2. The number of cycledday and the barreldcycle

3. The injection period/cycle
4. The amount of gas injected intothe well per day, the scfkycle and the R,s
5 . The lift gas system line pressure

6 . Variations of casing pressure and tubing pressure during the cycle
7. The point of gas injection into the tubing (depth of the operating valve)

8. The static bottomhole pressure and flowing bottomhole pressure

9. The pressure gradient of the produced fluids

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After completing the operating portion of the pressure survey, the operator may lower the gage to the bottom of the tubing and shut thewell in for a pressure build up curve. Interpretation of the bottomhole pressure record should determine the value of items 7 through 9. The informationobtainedfrom a pressure survey is best evaluated by plotting the results on a graph. The pressure depthdiagram will illustratethelocationof the operating valve, the producing gradients that exist above and below bottomhole the operating valve, and the flowing The operating cycles and build up curve should be plotted on a pressure time diagram.In these forms, the data are much easier to analyze.
Of a in the gas lift 'ystem The first sign generally occurs when the production Operator that the fluid production is below normal. Each well in the system must be checked to determine which well is not producing properly. At this point, the two-pen pressure recorded at the well becomes a most important instrument. In addi- A tion to locating the well that is having trouble, the two-pen recorder is the first instrument that the operator uses to determine what is wrong. If investigation indicates that a gas lift valve is failing to close tightly, the following procedure is recommended: Raise the pressure in the casing and tubing to the opening pressure of the gas lift valve so that it is wide open, then reducethe tubing pressure rapidly. This

procedure, in addition to opening the valve wide, develops a high pressure differential across the valve when the tubing is bled down rapidly. These conditions favor the passage of trash. If this technique fails after two tries, bleed all the pressure off the tubing and casing. This step allowsthe to go On seat, so that it tends to break Or crush trash that may be between the valve and seat. Then, with the tubing OPen, increase the casing Pressure the gas lift valve opens. Shutoff the injection gasand wait until the casing pressure stabilizes before increasing the casing pressureagain.Repeatthisproceduretwice. If thisprocedure is not successful, it may be advisable to inject fluid down the casing to clean a leaking valve. A detergent in fresh water is particularly successfulin areas where iron sulfide deposits arecommon and fresh water will wash salt deposits from valves, This fluid should be produced through the valves in a normal manner so that it tends to wash the valves and carry out trash that was i n the valves, check to determine the cause of a malfunction is to apply pressure on the tubing with no pressure on the casing. A leak from the tubing would indicate a leaking tubing coupling or hole in the tubing since the gas lift valves have back checks. Table 9-2 lists some common malfunctions of gas lift systems and suggestspossiblecauses and possiblecures.

TABLE 9-2 POSSIBLE CAUSES AND CURES OF SOME COMMON MALFUNCTIONS OF GAS LIFT SYSTEMS CURE CAUSE MALFUNCTION Rock the well, flush the valve COMMUNICATION A. Valve stuck open BETWEEN CASING B.Packer leaking Xeset packer Pull, inspect and rerun C. Tubing leak AND TUBING D. Circulating sleeve open Close it Adjust injection gas for maximum A. Operating valve changed to OPERATING higher valve in installation PRESSURES production Pull well INCREASE B. Valve plugged Exchange for valves which are not affected C. Temperature rise in well by temperature, or lower the test rack affecting valves opening pressure of bellows charged valves. D. Small heads Reduce fluid frequency cycle FLUID SLUG Fluid A. load very heavy Increase cycle frequency VELOCITY LESS B. Low injection pressure line Increase pressure or space closer valves THAN 1,000 C. Valve partially plugged Flush with fresh water or solvent FEET MINUTE PER D. Tubing partially plugged Run paraffin knife or clean with solvent E. Too small valve port Exchange for large valves ported HIGH BACK A. Pluggedpartially fouled Look valves, flow line forclosed PRESSURE AT paraffin, checks, sand accumulations WELL B. HEAD High separator Reset pressure back pressure valve or add gas accumulator tanks Loop flow line or replace it with C. Flow line too small larger line Adjust injection control equipment D. Well using too much gas Clean out well A. Plugged formation SUDDEN DROP IN Check tubing below operating valve B. Plugged tubing PRODUCTION C. Lower valves plugged Wash or pull (Valve Open and Readjust injection gas controls D. Too much or too little gas Close Near Pull and clean E. Standing valve stuck open Normal)
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APPENDIX 9=A TWO-PEN RECORDER CHARTS SHOWING EXAMPLES OF INTERMITTENT GAS LIFT MALFUNCTIONS
Appendix 9-A contains eleven two-pen recorder charts In each of the charts, the outer trace represents a recording that illustratemost ofthecommon problemsthat may ofthecasingpressureandtheinnertracerepresentsa recording of the tubing pressure. As other malfunctions are occur in an intermittent gas lift operation. These may be used by the operator in spottingproblemsbeforetheyencountered,representativechartscanbeaddedforfuture become toosevere.Thecharts were hand drawn so thatreference. examples of malfunctions could be exaggerated for clarity.

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ERRATIC GAS SYSTEM PRESSURE. THE PRESSURE HAS DECLINEDAFTER TIMER WAS ADJUSTED SO THAT NOW 2 INJECTIONSARE REQUIRE0 PER CYCLE.

A : CYCLE FREQUENCY TOO LONG, TUBING KICKS ARELOW AND THICK.
B : INCREASED CYCLEFREQUENCY YIELDSTALL THIN TUBING KICKS ANOMORE PRODUCTION. FREQUENCY TOO FAST. C : CYCLE REDUCETO NORMAL. TUBING PRESSURE WES NOTHAVE TIME TO

GAS SYSTEM PRESSURE TIMER IS THEN OPENED FOR LONGER INJECTION. WHEN INCREASES, TOO MUCH GAS I USED. S
TO HELP STABILIZEGAS SYSTEM PRESSURE, USE CHOKE ANO TIMER INJECTIONFREQUENCVTOO F M . GAS LIFT VALVE I NOTLOADED SO W E S S NOT OPEN UNTIL SECOND INJECTION. TOO MUCH W I M D E N T I NTUBING S KICK. REDUCE INJECTION FREQUENCYFORBETTEROPERATION.

Fig. 9-Al

Fig. 9-A2

A : INJECTION RATETOOHIGH.MAYCAUSEMORE THAN ONE W LIFT VALVETO OPEN. THIS CONDITION IS MDENCEO ON THE CASING PRESSURE BY A CHANGE I N THE PRESSURE DEWNE RATE AFTER A GAS LIFT VALVECLOSES. THE MULTIPLE "POINTS" ON THE TUBING PRESSURE ALSO MDENCE THIS MmwnON.

A : WELL LOADING UP. MDENCE OF EXCESSRlE FLUID LOAD W E N GAS LIFT VALVE WENS EARLY. AS THIS CONTINUES.PROBLEM IS SHOWN BY SHORTER AND WlDER TUBING KICKS UNTIL THE LOWERVALVEBECOMESSUBMERGEDAND OPERATION CONTINUES ON AN UPPER VALVE. A DECLINE IN PRODUCEDFLUID

I EXPERIENCED. S
B: WELL UNLOADING. THIS ILLUSTRATES HOW THE FLUID LOAD DECREASES FROM A MAXIMUM WHEN A W LIFT VALVE OPERATES THE FIRST TIME TO A MINIMUM WHEN THE VALVES OPERATE THE LAST TIME JUST BEFORE TRANS FERRING TO THE N m LWYER VALVE

A. AN I B : TOO MUCH G S TUBING KICKS ARE TOO HIGH AND TOO THICK. C S G PRES SURE DECLINE I RATHER SLOW. S

Fig. 9-A3
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Fig. 9-A4

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A : CHOKEDWELL. RESTRICTION OF CHOKE CAUSES SLUG VELOCITY TO BE SLOW AND PRESSURE REDUCTION PERIODTO BE LONG. ALSO. TUBING PRESSURE I S TOO HIGH.
B : FLOW LINE RESTRICTION. ABOUT THE SAME EFFECT AS CHOKE. TUBING PRES SURE CHANGES ARE GRADUAL BECAUSE RESTRICTIONI DISTANT FROM WELL S HEAD.

A : LEAK HIGH IN TUBING. LEAK ISSMALL SINCE TUBING KICKS ARE NORMAL. FIRSTSIGNOFLEAK I EVIDENCED WHEN CASING PRESSURE CONTINUES TO S S DECREASE AFTER GAS LIFT VALVE CLOSES.WHEN GAS TO C A S I N G I SHUT OFF CASING DECLINES TO A VALUE NEAR THE TUBING PRESSURE.
B : LEAK LOW IN TUBING. OPERATING PRESSURE A B W T THE SAME AS ABOVE. MFFERENCE SHOWS WHEN GAS TO CASING IS SHUT MF. THEN CASING PRESSURE DECLINES TOA VALLE WELL ABOYE THE TUBING PRESSURE. (FLUID SEAL OVER THE VALVE). U R G E LEAK I N TUBINGSTRING. AT FIRST. I T SHOWS AS A SMALL LEAK. THEN LEAK I SUCH THAT THE CASING PRESSURE SOMETIMES FAILS TO OPEN THE S GAS LIFT VALVE. WHEN THE LEAK EXCEEDSTHECYCLEGAS REQUIREMENT,THE CASING PRESSURE DECLINES WELLBELOW THE NORMAL RANGE AND A SAW TOOTH PATTERN I TRACED. THE TUBINGPRESSUREREACHESASTEADY,ELES VATED PRESSURE.

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A : LEAK IN SURFACE INTERMITTER. GOODOPERATION

I MAINTAINED. S

B : SMALL LEAK IN TUBING STRING. B E M E N EACH CYCLE.THE CASING PRESSURE GAS LIFT VALVECLOSES. TUBING KICKS ARE DECLINESSLOWLYAFTERTHE VERY GOOD.

Fig. 9-AS

Fig. 9-A6

Fig. 9-A7

Fig. 9-A8

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0 7 3 2 2 9 0 0532956 2 2 4 W
of Intermittent Cas Lift Malfunctions 123

GAS LINE PRESSUREBECOMESTOO LOW. CASING PRESSURE FAILS TO GET HIGH ENOUGH. TUBING KICKS CHANGE FROM GOOD SLUGS, TO SMALL SLUGS. TO A MlSlY SPRAY.

A : PLUGGED VALVE. VERY SLOW DECLINE OF CASING PRESSURE I AN INDICATOR S OFTHISPROBLEM.THE TUBING PRESSUREKICKSAREROUNDED AND MISTY BECAUSE OF EXCESSIVE FALL BACK. AS CONDITION GETSWORSE. THE USING PRESSURE STAYS ABOVE VALVE CLOSING PRESSURE AND TUBING PRESSURES STABILIZE. THEN, ONLY GAS IS OBTAJNED FROM FLUID.

B : PLUGGED TUBING. VERY SIMILAR TO SITUATION A, BUT TUBING PRESSURE REFLECTS INJECTION CYCLES. VERY L l l l l E FLUID IS PRODUCED.

Fig. 9-A9

Fig. 9-AIO

A : NOTENOUGH W. FALL BACK IS EXCESSIVE W) FLUID RECOVERY IS SMALL. TUBING PRESSUREHASROUNDED,SLUGGISHKICKS.CASINGPRESSURE OPERATING SPREADIS TOO SMALL, O," B: NOTENOUGH FLUID. CASINGPRESSURE OPERATING SPRWD IS NR TUBING PRESSURE IS ROUNDEDAND SLUGGISH. BUT

Fig. 9-A I I
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CHAPTER 1O THE USE OF PLUNGERS IN GAS LIFT SYSTEMS
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INTRODUCTION
To lift the plunger and the liquid load above the plunger, the gas pressure must be greater than these loads. small T.he quantity of gas that bypasses the plunger during a cycle flows up through the annular space and acts as a sweep to minimize liquid fallback.
The use of plunger equipment, by minimizing liquid fallback and eliminating possible gas penetration through the center of the liquid slug, provides for the most efficient form of intermittent gas lift production available.

The function of plunger lift equipment is to provide for more efficient utilization of lifting gas energy i n any well that is or can be produced in a cyclic manner similar to intermittent gas lift. Plunger lift incorporates a piston that normally travels the entire length of the tubing string, providing a solid and sealing interface between the lifting gas and the produced liquid. This interface changes the flow pattern during a lifting cycle from the familiar bullet shape of gas penetration of the liquid slug to a pattern whereby gas flow is possible only between the plunger’s outside diameter and the tubing walls.

APPLICATIONS
Numerous applications for exist plunger installations in both gas lift and natural flow wells. The most common uses are:
I . To maintain production by cycling in liquid ratio well.

through liquid the column lose and lift efficiency. A plunger lift system can help eliminate this problem.

5 . To clean the tubing in both gas lift and natural flow
wells producing paraffin, scale, and other deposits. Normal production does not have to be cyclic, but the well must be shut i n periodically to allow the plunger to operate.

a high gas-

2. To unload accumulated liquid in a gas well.
3. To reduce fallback in a well being produced by intermittent gas lift.

6. For deep intermittent gas lift with low injection gas pressure.

4. To improve efficiency in gas lift wells with severe emulsion problems. In such wells, the friction of the emulsion prevents establishment of the required lifting velocity. The slow velocity allows gas to channel

7. To allow intermittent gas lift with surface restrictions.
This chapter is primarily concerned with the use of plungers in intermittent gas lift applications.

TYPES OF PLUNGER LIFT
Three possible types of downhole installations are: Normally the well’s bottomhole pressure is so low that the liquid fill-in from the formation is not sufficient to prevent gas break-through of the liquid column during an intermittent lift cycle. Plunger application allows much greater utilization of the energy being provided and less fallback, thus a corresponding decrease in bottomhole pressure and an increase in liquid production.

1. Intermittent Gas Lift With a Packer
This type of application is one where insufficient gas in available from the formation and all gas is provided by a supplemental source involving an outside source of energy.

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Type Well: Insufficient gas from formation. Well being gas lifted on packer. All flow through tubing. Equipment Required: @ Full bore master valve @ Flow valve @ Lubricator @ Time cycle control valve @ Secondflowoutlet @ Flow valve Standard Operation: 1. Plunger at bottom of well. 2. Gas flow through time cycle intermitter opens the gas lift valve down hole, thereby creating the differential necessary to lift the liquid plunger to and the surface. 3. Gas and liquid delivered through upper outlet. 4. Gas lift valve closes. 5. Plunger arrives in lubricator, partially closing off upper outlet. 6. Tail gas is rapidly dissipated through lower outlet. 7. Plunger falls to bottom and cycle recommences.

\

TO

SALES

I

Fig. 10-1 - Typical well installation for gas lift

2. Conventional Plunger Lift Without a Packer or With Communication Between Casing and Tubing Just Above the Packer.
Installations of this type are by far the most widely used. They are normally applied where the well supplies all of the energy. However, many systems using supplementary gas are now being installed.

another application of plungers. This type of installation requires that all gas must come directly from the formation during the lifting cycle: and necessitates that the formation Rglf be greatly i n excess of that required for conventional plunger lift since the gas required per cycle must be produced during the cycle. No storage period or external source of gas is possible.

3. Plunger Lift with a Packer (No Communication Between Casing and Tubing)

Since this text is concerned with gas lift application of plungers, further discussion of plunger application without additional gas will be omitted. Atypical surface installation This is not a gas lift installation, but does represent for gas lift using a plunger is shown in Fig. 10-1.

SELECTING THE PROPER EQUIPMENT
Having determined that a well can be produced with a plunger and having determined what flow pattern will be used, the proper equipment must be chosen. Figs. 10-2, 10-3, and 10-4 show possible variations in downhole installations where gas lift is used in conjunction with the plunger. Using these figures as a base starting at thebottom of and the well, the equipment is explained under the following headings.
I

Retrievable Tubing (or Collar) Stop When the well’s tubing is not equipped with a seating nipple, a wireline set stop can be used for positioning the standing valve or bumper spring. Fig. 10-5 shows a typical tubing stop. Standing Valve A standing valve prevents liquid in the tubing from falling back and contributes to an increase in efficiency of a plunger installation. Although the standing valve is shown

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l . High shock and wear resistance.

2. Resistance to sticking in the tubing.

Equipment Required Equlpment Required
1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Sub-surface plunger Bumper Spring Retrievable Standing Valve Retrievable Tubing Stop* Gas Lift Valve

'If seating nipple is installed in well, tubing stop may be eliminated

Sub-surface plunger Bottom Bumper Spring Standing Valve Packer Unloading Conventional Gas Lift Valves Operating Gas Lift Valve Lubricator and Bumper Spring 8. Plunger Catcher 9. Time Cycle Controller
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.
Fig. 10-3 - Downhole equipment variations, gas lift and plunger lift

Fig. 10-2 - Downhole equipment variations, gas lift and plunger lift

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in Fig. 10-2, it is often omitted from such installations. However, the standing valve should always be run in installations such as those shownin Figs. 10-3 and 10-4. In these types of installations, the standing valve prevents the high pressure lift gas from forcing the liquid below the standing valve back into the formation. It should be noted that if the plunger can fall to bottom dry, an individual stop should be used to set the standing valve independently of the bumper spring. Experiencehas shown that aplunger falling dryonabumperspring,standingvalve,andstopset together will set up a vibration that rapidly causes a failure of the standing valve ball and seat.

Bumper Spring
The bumper spring, shown in Fig. 10-6, is an essential part of a plunger installation. It prevents excessive shock on the plunger when falling to the bottom, particularly if the well does not have liquid above the tubing stop.

Plungers
There are five operating characteristics to be considered when choosing the type of plunger to be used in a well. These are listed below:

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3. High degree of repeatability of valve operation.
4. Ability to provide a good seal against the tubing

during upward travel.
5 . The ability to fall rapidly through gas and liquid.

Figs. 10-7, 10-8, 10-9, and 10-10 show threedifferent plunger types.

Fig. 10-5 - Typical tubing stop

Equipment Required
1. Sub-surface plunger 2. Bumper Spring

3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

Retrievable Tubing Stop Retrievable Duplex Standing Valve Gas Lift Valves Producing Gas Lift Valve Packer Seating Nipple Seating Nipple Retrievable Gas Lift Valve in Center Mount Mandrel

Fig. 10-4 - Downhole equipment variations, gas lift and plunger lift

Fig. 10-6 - Typical bumper spring

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128 Gas Lift

of Essentially, there are six variations plungers available and the choice depends on the operating requirements of a well. There are two types of seals (expanding blade and turbulent) and three typesof valving systems (valve without integral rod, valve with integral rod, and no valve at all).
Table 10-1 lists the six plunger types and classifies them either 1, 2, or 3 (first, second or third choice) according to their relative effectiveness in fulfilling the five operating characteristics listed previously.

Fig. 10-8 - Wobble washer type plunger with integral valve rod

Fig. 10-7 - Typical plunger with integral valve rod

Fig. 10-9 - Brush type plunger without integral valve rod
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Fig. 10-10 - Expanding blade plunger with retractable seal (Photos courtesy Ferguson-BeauregardInc.) (A) Shows seals in expanded position ( B } Shows seals in retracted position
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Well Tubing
The well's tubing must be gauged before running any subsurface equipment. Bent or crushed tubes will prevent satisfactory installation and paraffin, scale, etc., can prevent initial operations. Table 10-2 gives the gages recommended for various tubing sizes.

TABLE 10-2 GAGES FOR VARIOUS TUBING SIZES
Tubing size, in.
- /

Minimum gages A

\

O.D.

nominal

O.D., length, in.

ft 2 2 2 2 2
~~

1.660 1.900 2.063 2.375 2.875

1'I4 1'12 2'/M 231~
2718

1.250 1.500 1.630 1.900 2.312

TABLE 10-1 PLUNGER CLASSIFICATIONS Operating Characteristics Type of Plunger
I

NOTE: There are possible variations in gage requirements between equipment manufacturers. Check to determine the correct gage size.

~

(1) Expanding blade

seal without integral valve rod

2

2

(2) Expanding blade seal with integral valve rod
(3) Expanding blade seal without valve
(4) Turbulent seal,

1

-

wobble-washer, etc. without integral valve rod (valve actuating rod is part of lubricator)
( 5 ) Turbulent seal, wobble-washer, etc. with integral valve rod

2

1

( 6 ) Turbulent seal, wobble-washer, etc. without valve

-

1
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CAP .......................................... (1) BUMPER SPRING.i . . ......................... i2j STRIKER PAD ................................ (3) FLOW B O D Y . . ................................ (4) CATCHER ASSEMBLY ........................ (5) DUAL FLOW OUTLET ................... (4A) (4B)
Fig. 10-11 - Typical lubricator parts
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The Use of Plungers in Gas Lift Systems 131

Master Valve The master valve of a well must have afull bore equal to, but not greater than,the tubing size. An undersize valve will not allow plunger passage,and an oversize valve can possibly prevent the plunger from reaching the lubricator because of excessive gasbypassing around the plunger. The plunger must reach the lubricator to allow removal for service and, where installed, to activate a plunger arrival system. Second Flow Outlet Where the chosen flow pattern of a well requires, a second flow outlet is provided. A separate of the flow outunit let of an existing tree can be used. using the existing flow If outlet, a method should be provided to restrict the flow. This restriction may be necessary to allow the plunger to lift past the second flow outlet, so that it can activate a plunger arrival system or be retrieved for service.

Lubricator
A lubricator is an integral part of any plunger installation. Fig. 10-11 shows the various parts of a typical dual flow outlet lubricator.

The cap (1) contains a spring to resist the force of the rising plunger. The striker pad (3) is the initial contact of the plunger with the lubricator. With an integral rod plunger, the valve is opened. Where a plunger without an integral valve rod is used, the striker pad contains a rod for activation of the plunger valve.

PROPER INSTALLATION PROCEDURES
The next part of a successful plunger installation installation of the equipment. is the

Listed below are the sequential operations involved in running a plunger installation, assuming the well is set on a packer and will not be pulled.

lift 4. Set retrievable stop just above the bottom gas valve. (Note: proper jarring action to set the stop may not be possible through the bumper spring, so the stop should be run independently)
5 Run retrievable bumper spring and latch to the pre-

1. Check master valve for proper size
2. Gage

viously set stop 6. Run plunger to bottom on a wireline to ensure free travel

3. Set retrievable stopand standing valve just above the bottom of the tubing. (Note: stop this and standing valve are optional)

7. Remove wireline lubricator, install tor, and commence operation.

plunger lubrica-

SUMMARY

A plunger will increase theefficiency of most intermittent gas lift installations by preventing gas from breaking through the liquid slug. In some instances of very low bottomhole pressure, plungers will allow greater pressure drawdown and thereby increase production from the intermittent lift well by allowing the liftingof smaller slugs on each cycle. In addition, a plunger should be considered for an intermittent gas lift installation when:

3. a paraffin deposition problem exists.

There are also well conditions that prohibit the use of a plunger. Some of these conditions are listed here.
1. Restrictions in surface wellhead and Christmas tree valves. 2. Excessive well deviation.
3. Restricted areas in the tubing.

1. The injection gas pressure is low relative to the required depth of lift;
2. the flowing wellhead pressure is excessive after aslug surfaces; and

4. Excessive areas in the tubing.

5 . High rate intermittent gas lift operations.

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In the lubricator shown, the cap ( l ) , bumper spring (2), and striker pad (3) are removed as a unit for access to the plunger for examination and repair. The catcher assembly (5) holds the plunger in the lubricator for easy removal.

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GLOSSARY
-AAger - A water filledpressurechamber used to apply external pressureto gas lift valves to flex the bellows during the pressure setting operation. AnnularFlow - Formationfluidsareproduced upa through the tubing-casing annulus and recovered at the surface. Annulus - Thespace between tubing and casing. source API - American PetroleumInstitute. API Gravity- Specific gravity of crude oil as measured by system recommended by API. Artificial Lift -The application of energy from an outside to lift reservoir fluids fromproducing a well.
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-BBack Pressure -The pressure existing within the producing string at the surface in a gas lift well. Also used to designate the fluid pressure at the level of gas injection, the pressure against which the operating valve injects gas. Bellows - The responsive element of a gas lift valve. It performsthesamefunctionasthediaphragmoperated valve. It provides an area for pressure to act onand to move the valve stem. BLPD - Barrels of total liquid per day. BOPD - Barrels of Oil Per dayBWPD - Barrels of water per day. Bottomhole Pressure (BHP) - Pressureatsomegiven depth i n the well, usually opposite the producing

n.

-CCasing Flow - (Same as annular flow.)

Casing Pressure -The pressure, measured at the surface, within the well casing. Chamber Lift - A special type of intermittent gas lift which uses the tubing-casing annulus or a “bottle” on the. end of the tubing string for the accumulation of formation liquids between cycles. Choke -A type of orifice installed in a line in whichfluid is flowing. The purpose is to restrict the flow and control the rate of production. Christmas Tree - A term applied to the control valves, pressure gages,and chokes assembled at the top of a well to control the flow of oil and gas.

Continuous Flow Gas Lift - Gas lift operation in which gas is injected continuously into the liquid column. Reservoir fluids and‘the injected gas are produced from the wellhead at the surface without interruption.

Cooler - A refrigerated water bath used to cool pressure 60°F when setting them. charged gas valves to lift

Cross-over Seat -A special seat for gas lift valvewhich a directs the pressure applied at the nose the gas lift valve of to the bellows and the-pressure applied to the-holes in the side of the valve to the under side of the seat. It isused most often in fluid operated valves.

- D

Dead Well - A well that will not flow by itself. Dill Coreor Schrader Core Valve -Valve in the top of the gaslift valve used in chargingthebellows with nitrogen.

Dome - The volume chamberinsidethebellows lift valve.

of agas

Drawdown -The difference in pressure (psi) between the static (shut-in) bottomhole pressure and the flowing bottomhole pressure at a constant rate fluid production. of

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-EEmulsion - A mixture of oil and water that requires treatment before the oil and water will separate.

-FFlowline - The surfacepipe through which the oil travels from the well to storage. Flowing Bottomhole Pressure (FBHP) - The Pressure existing at the depth of the production formation in a well at a constant rate of fluid production. Formation (F Gas) Gas -Gas which is produced from the oil reservoir with the produced liquids. Fluid or Production Operated Valve -A gas lift valve that utilizes the pressure in the production conduit as its primary operating medium.

-GGas Lift -A method of artificial lift in which the energy of compressed gas is used directly to lift fluids to the surface. Gas Lift Valve -A pressure regulator mounted on or in the tubing string so that, by manipulation of the injection gas pressure and the producing pressure, valve will either be the open or closed to provide a controllable communication between the tubing and casing for gas passage. Gas-Liquid Ratio(GLR = RE,) The number of standard cubic feet of gas produced with a stock tank barrel of liquid changeand water). (oil Gas-oil Ratio (GOR = Rgo)- The number of standard cubic feet of gas produced with a stock tank barrel of oil.

Geothermal Gradient -The naturally occurring increase of temperature with depth in undisturbed ground. Normally given in OFF/100Ft.

Gradient - Change in pressure or temperature per unit in depth.
--`````,`,,``,,,````,`,```,,,-`-`,,`,,`,`,,`---

-H“Head” - The volume of reservoir fluids produced at the surface following a short period of gas injection, as in intermittent operation.

IPR (Inflow Performance Relationship) - The relation- fluids and injected gas being produced from the wellhead at ship of flowing bottomhole pressure to gross liquid producthe surface for an interval following each injection period. ing rate for a particular well. Intermitter (Time Cycle Controller) - A surface control which may be adjusted and set to operate a motor valve at Intermittent Flow - Gas lift operation i n which gas is predetermined intervals of time and also control the durainjected periodically into the liquid column, with reservoir tion of the operating or injection period.

-KKick-off Pressure -The gas injection pressure available for unloading fluids from a gas lift down to the operatwell ing valve depth. Kick-Over Tool - The wireline tool which guides the
fluids and wireline gas lift valve into the mandrel pocket when installing the valve or guides the pulling tools onto the valve when recovering the valve.

Kick a Well Off - Unload and place a well on gas lift.

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-LLatch - The locking device for a wireline gas lift to valve lock the valve in the mandrel. Load Fluid(KillFluid) - Liquidusedtofillthe well before pulling the tubing.

" Macaroni String - Tubing inside Mandrel - (See wireline
tubing.

Mscf (MCF) - One thousand standard feet cubic of gas. This term is commonly used to express the volume of gas

or tubing retrievable.) produced, transmitted, or consumed in a given period of time (scf - standard cubic foot of gas).

Master Valve - Alargevalve used to shut in a well.

Mscf/B(MCFIB) - Thousands of cubic feet per barrel.

-0Operating Pressure-The gas injection pressure available to maintain the desired rateof fluid production in a gas lift well under settled continuous or intermittent operation.

-PProductivity Index (PI=J) -The ratioof fluid production rate, in barrels per day, to thedifference between static and flowing bottomhole pressures (drawdown), in pounds per square inch. Pit - An emergency tank or shallow pond to hold salt water, etc., prior to disposal.
force for thevalve. Thegas is usuallynitrogen.The responsive element is usually a bellows.

Pressure Operated Valve - A gas lift valve that utilizes injection gas pressure as itsprimary operating medium.

Pressure Survey-An operation tomeasure and record the pressures at various depths in the well bore with the well Pocket - The gas lift valve receiver inside a wireline either producing or shut-in. The pressures may be meas(retrievable) mandrel. ured and recorded by either a self-contained unit run on a solid wireline or a unit run on an electric wireline with an Pressure Charged Valve -A gas valve which usesa gas lift instantaneous recording at the surface. charge inside the responsive element to provide the closing

-SSpecific Gravity - The ratio of the weight of a substance Static Fluid Level -The depth below the surface to which to the weight of an equal volume of a standard substance. reservoir fluids will rise when the producing conduit is open Water is the standard for liquids and air is the standard for to atmospheric pressure. gases. STB - Stock tank barrel. The volume of oil, water or total Spring LoadedValve -A gas lift valve which uses a spring liquid as measured in the stock tank. to provide the closing force forthe valve. scf/STB - Standard cubic feet per stock tank barrel. Static Bottomhole Pressure - The pressure at formation depth in a well after the well is shut-in and the pressures Stock Tank - A tank for holding the produced liquids at have been stabilized. atmospheric pressure prior to pumping them elsewhere.

-TTail Plug -The plug in the endof a gas lift valve which is the final seal on the dome. Temperature Survey - An operation to measure and record the temperature at various depths in the well bore with the well either producing or shut-in. The temperatures
may be measured and recorded at either a self-contained unit run on a solid wireline or a unit run on an electric wireline with an instantaneous recording at the surface.

Test Rack (Tester) -An arrangement of gas lift receivers, gages, valving etc., so that nitrogen gas pressure may be
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applied to the bellows of a gaslift valve and simultaneously measured to determine the pressure required to open the gas lift valve.

tional or standard mandrel. A tubing pup joint with a lug for mounting a conventional or tubing retrievable gas lift valve. The mandrel is an integral part of the tubing string.

Troubleshooting - The process of determining and correcting a problem with a gas lift well. Tubing Flow - Formation fluids are produced up through and recovered from the tubing at the surface. Tubing Retrievable Mandrel -Commonly
called conven-

Tubing Retrievable Gas Lift Valve - Commonly called a conventional gas lift valve. A gas lift valve mounted on a tubing retrievable mandrel. It is necessary to pull the tubing to recover the valves. This was the first method of mounting gas lift valves; consequently the name of conventional gas lift valve.

-WWellhead - The stack of valves and fittings at the surface on top of a well. Wireline (Retrievable) Mandrel -A tubular member with an internal receiver for a wireline (retrievable) gas lift valve.
The mandrel becomes an integral part of the tubing string.

Wireline (Retrievable) Valve - A gas lift valve mounted inside the tubing that can be installed and recovered by solid wireline operations without disturbing the tubing.

SYMBOLS
Total effective area of Bellows, sq. in. Area of Valve Seat or Port-Ball seat contact area, sq. in. Ratio of Gas Lift Valve Port to Bellows area: From Mfg. Data. ck C d Choke or Port diameterof the Gas Lift Valve, ' / d h inches. Discharge coefficientfor gas flow through an orifice. Correction factor for gas passage through a choke. C T Temperature correction factor for gas. Depth of top valve, ft. Depth on nth valve, ft. Distance between valves, ft. Depth of gas injection, ft. Measured depth of deviated wells, ft. Minimum spacing of gas lift valves or mandrels, ft. Dv n D, F, Depth of operative valve or gas injection, ft. Reference depthof well: Normally measured midpoint of perfs., on top of perfs., ft. Closing force ongas lift valve, pounds force. nitrogen Total opening force on valve, pounds force. Opening force dueto pressure on the bellows, pounds force. Opening force due to pressure valve stem, on pounds force. Oil cut fraction of total produced liquid. Water Cut fraction of total produced liquid. Gradient, psi/ft. Flowing gradient above point tion, psi/ft. of gas injec--`````,`,,``,,,````,`,```,,,-`-`,,`,,`,`,,`---

Flowing gradient below point of gas injection, psi/ft. Gas gradient of injection gas, psi/ft. Gradient of oil, psi/ft. Static gradient of load fluid, psi/ft. Gradient of produced water, psi/ft. Flowing production temperature gradient, Deg. F/100 ft. Static Temperature gradient, Deg. F/100 Ft. Productivity Index (J=PI), BLPD/PSI. Total number of gas lift valves. Pressure Drop in Inj. Gas pressure to deter interference, psi.

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Pressure applied under the bellows a gas of lift valve, psig. Pressure applied under the stem of a gas lift valve, psig. Bubble point pressureof the produced oil, psig. Pressure of bellows at temperature of nth valve, psig. Bellows pressure at 60 deg. F., psig. Injection gas pressure downstreamof surface choke, psig Effective opening pressure due to production pressure, psig. Max available pressureof injection gas at surface, psig. Injection gas pressure downstream of restriction at surface, psig Max pressure of injection gas at D,, psig. Operating gas injection pressure at valve number 1, psig. Operating gas injection pressure at nth valve, psig. Surface operating gas injection pressure to open valve 1, psig. Surface operating gas injection pressure to open nth valve, psig. Max kickoff gas injection pressure at surface, psig. Max flowing pressure at valve 1 while lifting deeper, psig. Max flowing pressure at nth valve while lifting deeper, psig. Min flowing pressure at valve 1 while unloading, psig. Min flowing pressure at nth valve while unloading, psig. Flowing production pressure at valve 1, psig. Flowing production pressure at nth valve, psig. Production pressure effect, psig. Production pressure effect factor - Mfg. data - (Previously TEF)

Pressure at standard conditions, psig. Pressure of oil & gas separator, psig. Pressure safety factor to ensure valve is uncovered, psig. Spring pressure effect on valve, psig. Max unloading pressure at nth valve when uncovered, psig. Valve closing pressure of valve 1 at depth, psig. Valve closing pressure of nth valve at depth, psig. Surface closing pressure of valve 1, psig. Surface closing pressure nth valve, psig. of Test rack set opening pressure for valve 1, psig. Test rack set opening pressure for nth valve, psig. Flowing bottomhole pressure at D,, psig. Flowing pressure at the wellhead, psig. Static bottomhole formation or reservoir pressure, psig. Max production rate below the bubble point, BLPD. Gas production ratefromformation, d. Injection gas rate, Mscf/d. Total gas rate measured (formation tion), Mscf/d. Total liquid rate, BLPD Maximum liquid rate of well, BLPD. Total oil production rate, BOPD. Production rate at the bubble point, BLPD. Total water production rate, BWPD Ratio of gas to liquid, scf/bbl. Ratio of formation gas to liquid, scf/bbl. Ratio of injected gas to liquid, scf/bbl. Ratio of gas to oil, scf/bbl. Ratio of gas injected to oil, scf/bbl. Specific gravity of produced gas. Specific gravity of injected gas. Specific gravity of oil. Mscf

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SG ,
T, TB T,

Specific gravity

of produced water.

T,, T"(") Th w Z

Temperature at standard conditions, deg. F. Temperature at valve I depth, deg. F. Temperature at nth valve, deg. F. Flowing temperature at wellhead, deg. F. Gas compression factor at average pressure and temperature.

Average gas injection temperature, deg. ETt Formation temperature, deg. F. Surface temperature of injection gas, deg. F. Static earth surface temperature, deg. F.

--`````,`,,``,,,````,`,```,,,-`-`,,`,,`,`,,`---

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REFERENCES
1. Gilbert, W.E.: Flowing and Gas-Lift Well Perform-

ance, Drilling and Production Practice, 126 (1954), American Petroleum Institute, Production Department. 2. Vogel, J.V.: Inflow Performance Relationships for Solution Gas Drive Wells, SPE 1476, a paper presented at the 41st Annual Fall Meeting of the Society of Petroleum Engineers of AIME, Dallas, Texas, October 2-5, 1966, and later published in Transactions, SPE of AIME, Vol. 243 (1968).
3. Poettmann, F. H. and Carpenter, P.G.: The Multiphase Flow of Gas, Oil and Water Through Vertical Flow Strings, Drilling and Production Practice, 257 (1952), American Petroleum Institute, Production Department.

12. Flanigan, O.: Effect of Uphill Flow on Pressure Drop in Design of Two-Phase Gathering Systems, Oil and Gas Journal, Vol. 56. 132 (March 10, 1958).

13. Eaton, BenA. et al: The Prediction of Flow Patterns, Liquid Holdup and Pressure Losses Occurring During Continuous Two-Phase Flow in Horizontal Pipelines, Journal of Petroleum Technology, 3 15-328 (June 1967), Society of Petroleum Engineers of AIME. 14. Dukler, A.E., et al: Frictional Pressure Drop in TwoPhase Flow: B. An Approach Through Similarity Analysis, Vol. 10,44-51(January1964),AIChE Journal. 15. Beggs, H.D. and Brill, J.P.: An Experimental Study of Two-Phase Flow in Inclined Pipes, 607 (May 1973), Journal of Petroleum Technology, Society of Petroleum Engineers of AIME. 16. Espanol, J.H. Holmes, C.S. and Brown, K.E.: A Comparison of Existing Multiphase Flow Methods for the Calculation of Pressure Drop in Vertical Wells. Paper No. SPE 2553, 44th Annual Fall Meeting of SPE, Denver, Colorado (September 28 - October 1, 1969).

4. Baxendell, P.D. and Thomas, R.: The Calculation of Pressure Gradients in High-Rate Flowing Wells, Journal of PetroleumTechnology,1023-1028(1961), Society of Petroleum Engineers of AIME.
5. Duns, H. Jr. and Ros, N.C.J.: Vertical Flow of Gas and Liquid Mixtures from Boreholes, Proceedings, Sixth World Petroleum Congress, Frankfurt, Germany, Section II, Paper 22-PG (June 19-26, 1963).

6. Johnson, A. J.: Vertical Two-Phase Flow Pressure Traverses, Letter from Shell Development Company Outlining Terms, Conditions and Description of Computer Program Mk 1X-R for Sale to Industry (December 5, 1963).
7. Hagedorn, A.R. and Brown, K.E.: The Effect of LiquidViscosity on Two-Phase Flow,Journal of PetroleumTechnology,203-210(February1964), Society of Petroleum Engineers of AIME.

1 . Vohra, I.R., Robinson, J.R. and Brill, J.P.: Evalua7 tion of Three New Methods for Predicting Pressure Losses in Vertical Oil Well Tubing, 829-832 (August 1974), Journal of Petroleum Technology, Society of Petroleum Engineers of AIME.
18. Lawson, D.J. and Brill, J.P.: A Statistical Evaluation of Methods Used to Predict Pressure Losses for Multi-phase Flow in Vertical Oil Well Tubing, 903914 (August 1974), Journal of Petroleum Technology, Society of Petroleum Engineers of AIME. 19. Gregory, G.A., Fogarasi, M. and Aziz, K.: Analysis of Vertical Two-Phase Flow Calculations: Crude Oil-Gas Flow in Well Tubing, 86-92 (January - March 1980), Journal of Canadian Petroleum Technology. 20. Ros, N.C.J.: Simultaneous Flow of Gas and Liquid as Encountered in Oil Wells, Joint AIChE-SPE Symposium, Tulsa, Oklahoma (September 25-28, 1960). 21. Ros, N.C.J.: Simultaneous Flow of Gas and Liquid as Encountered inWell Tubing, 1037 (October 1961), Journal of Petroleum Technology, Society of Petroleum Engineers of AIME. 22. Brown, E.J.P.: Practical Aspects of Predicting Errors in Two-Phase Pressure-Loss Calculations, 5 15522 (April 1975), Journal of Petroleum Technology, Society of Petroleum Engineers of AIME.

8. Orkiszewski, J.: Predicting Two-Phase Pressure Drops in Vertical Pipe, Journal of Petroleum Technology, 829 (June 1967), Society of Petroleum Engineers of AIME. 9. Moreland, E.E.: Report - Study of Tubing Pressure in Vertical and Deviated Wells Part 6: Moreland Mobil - Shell - Method, Mobil R&D Lab Memorandum 1976. 10. Baker, Ovid: Design of Pipelines for the Simultaneous Flow of Oil and Gas, Oil and Gas Journal, Vol. 53, 185-195 (1954). 11. Lockhart, R.W. and Martinelli, R.C.: Proposed Correlation of Data for Isothermal Two-Phase Two Component Flow in Pipe Lines, Chemical Engineering Progr., Vol 45, 39 (1949).

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References

23. Cornish, R.E.: The Vertical Multiphase Flow of Oil and Gas at High Rates, 825-831 (July 1976), Journal of Petroleum Technology, Society of Petroleum Engineers of AIME.

40. Teledyne Merla, Section 5 , Specifications and Valve Performance Data, 1982. 41. Teledyne Geotech, Supervisory System for Gas Lift Control, 1982.

24. Brown, K.E., et al: The Technology of Artificial Lift Methods, Vol. 3A, Pressure Gradient Curves, 261 (1980) PennWell Books, Tulsa, Oklahoma. 25. Brown, K.E., et al: Gas Lift Theory and Practice, Appendix C 163 (1967), Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey. 26. Doolittle, Jesse S.: Thermodynamics for Engineers, 2nd Edition (1964), International Text Book Company. 27. Frick, ThomasC., Ed.: Petroleum Production Handbook, Vol.11 (1962), McGraw-Hill Book Company Inc.
28. Winkler, H.W.: Flowing Well and Gas Lift Systems, Viking Shop (1973).

42. Wall, P.T.: 12th Annual Southwest Petroleum Short Course, TTU, 1965,Effect of Back Pressure on Intermittent Gas Lift. 43. Redden, J.D., Sherman, T.A.G., Blann, J.R.: Optimizing Gas Lift Systems, SPE Paper No. 5 150, 1974. 44. Clegg, J.D.: High Rate Artificial Lift, Journal of Petroleum Technology (March 1988) 277-82. 45. Neely, A.B., Gipson, F.W., Capps, B., Clegg, J.D., presented at 198 1 and Wilson,P.: Paper, SPE 10377, SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, San Antonio, TX, October 5-7,1981. 46. Blann, J.R., and Williams, J.D.: Determining the Most Profitable Gas Injection Pressure for Gas Lift Installation, Journal of Petroleum Technology (August 1984). 47. DeMoss, E.E., and Tiemann, W.D.: Gas Lift Increases High Volume Production From Claymore Field, Journal of Petroleum Technology (April 1982) 696-702. 48. Blann, J. R., Jacobson L. and Faber, C.: Production Optimization in the Provincia Field, Colombia, SPE PE (Feb. 1989) 9-14. 49. Neely, A.B., Montgomery, J.W. and Vogel, J.V.: A Field Test and Analytical Study of Intermittent Gas Lift, SPEJ (Oct. 1974) 502-12.
50. API Spec 11V1, Specification for Gas Lift Valves, Orifices, Reverse How Valves and Dummy Valves. 5 l . API Recommended Practice 11V5 (RP 1 1 V5), Recommended Practice for Operation, Maintenance and Trouble-shooting of Gas Lift Installations. 52. API Recommended Practice 11V6 (RP 11V6), Recommended Practice for Design of Continuous Flow Gas Lift Installations using injection Pressure Operated Valves. 53. API Recommended Practice l l V 7 (RP llV7), Recommended Practice for Repair, Testing and Setting Gas Lift Valves.

29. Winkler, H.W., and Smith S.S.: Camco Gas Lift Manual, Camco, Inc. (1962).
30. Katz, D. L., et al: Handbook of Natural Gas Engineering (1959), McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc. 3 1. Plant Processing of Natural Gas, PetroleumExtension Service (PETEX), (1974). 32. Engineering Data Book, Gas Processors Suppliers Association (GPSA), (1972).

33. Martinez, J., and Milburn, F.H.: Handbook for Gas Measurement in the Field, Exxon Production Research (1 978).
34. Phase Relations of Gas Condensate Fluids,Bureau of Mines Monograph # 10. Vol. 2,763-764.

35. Focht, F. T.: World Oil, 105-107 (January 1981). 36. White, G.W., O’Connell, B.T., Davis, R.C., Berry, R. F., and Stacha,L.A.: An analytical Concept of the Static and Dynamic Parameters of Intermittent Gas Lift, Journal of Petroleum Technology (March 1963), Society of Petroleum Engineers of AIME.
37. Guiberson Oil Tools, Artificial Lift-Gas Lift Engineering.

38. FOS, D.L. & Gaul, R. B.: Plunger Lift Performance Criteria with Operating Experience - Ventura Ave. Field, Paper No. 801-41H, API D&P Practices 1965, p. 124-140. 39. Blann, J. R., Brown, J. S., Dufresne, L. P.: Improving Gas Lift Performance in a Large North African Oil Field, SPE Paper No. 8408, 1979.

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