You are on page 1of 32


Types Reasons Basics of Operations Application

Most Common Chokes

Fixed orifice Disassemble to change bean

Provides variable orifice size through external adjustment

Schematic of an adjustable choke


A choke is a restriction in a flow line that causes a pressure drop or reduces the rate of flow. It commonly uses a partially blocked orifice or flow path.

Variable Chokes - good for bringing wells on gradually and optimizing natural gas lift flow in some cases.

Prone to washouts from high velocity, particles, droplets.

Solutions - hardened chokes (carbide components), chokes in series, dual chokes on

Beans are fixed (non adjustable) orifices ID size is in 64ths of an inch.


Choke Uses
Control Flow achieve liquid lift Maximize use best use of gas (lift?) Protect equipment abrasion and erosion Cleanup best use of backflow energy Control circulation holds a back pressure Control pressures at surface (during flow) Control injection on injection line

Pressure Drop
Increased velocity (from gas expansion)

Flashing hydrocarbon light ends lost (value lost)

Vaporization (flashing) of light ends to gas

Vaporization of water

Cavitation erosion of surfaces in and around choke

Erosion solids, droplets and bubbles in high velocity flow Freezing expansion of gasses cools the area refrigeration principle

Cooling of gas Some heating of liquids

Pressure around the choke

Inlet or well pressure, P1

Pressure drop through the orifice

Pressure recovery , P2

The larger the difference between the inlet and outlet pressures, the higher the potential for damage to the internals of the choke. When DP ratio (= DP/P1) rises above 0.6, damage is likely. Look at choke type, materials of construction, and deployment methods (multiple chokes needed in series?)

Cavitation During Liquid Flow

Ultra low pressure region in and immediately below choke causes bubble to form from vaporizing liquid, Recovery of pressure causes bubble to collapse; i.e., cavitation Imploding bubbles and shock waves The rapid collapse of the bubbles causes high velocity movement of liquid and damage around the site. Pressure recovery line limit of damage

VENA Contracta Phenomenon

P r P1 e s s u r e

Delta P P2 Recovery

Distance Flow Traveled The consequences of the low pressure region in the choke can lead to severe problems with cavitation and related flashing (vaporization).

Flashing During Liquid Flow

Vaporization of light ends, but no significant damage in this region since pressure recovery not above vapor pressure, hence bubbles dont collapse.

Pressure recovery occurs downstream, damage location from high velocity?

Expansion of gas (and solutions containing gas) cools the surroundings. Excessive temp losses and presence of water vapor can form an ice plug and block flow.
P1 T1

Press Temperature dP Freezing Pt

T2 P2

Recovery Recovery
Distance Traveled

Temperature drop across a choke is about 1oF for each atmosphere of pressure drop.

Throttling Methods
Needle and seat Multiple orifice Fixed Bean Plug and Cage External Sleeve

Needle and Seat

Simplest and least expensive adjustable Best for pressure control High Capacity

Multiple Orifice
Quick open and close Good rate and pressure control An in-line instrument

Fixed Bean
Best when infrequent change needed Used mostly on trees

Plug and Cage

High capacity Good control

External Sleeve
Superior Erosion Resistance Minimizes Body Erosion

Choke Sizing
Control the flow maximize production Minimized vibration damage Minimize erosion damage

Choke Selection based on application and sizing.

Choke Selection (continued)

Fluid liquid, gas, or GOR of mix. Pressure both pressure drop and total pressure Temperature range of acceptable temperatures during service Solids in flow Droplets, bubbles Scale and organic deposit potential

Choke Sizing
Cv = coefficient value
Number of gallons of water per minute that will pass through a restriction with a pressure drop of 1 psi at 60oF. Used as the flow capacity index Does not correspond to a specific throttling method.

Choke Size Choke Calculation (inches) Example 4/64

Note: for accuracy the upstream press must be twice downstream press.

Bore Diam (inches) 0.0625 0.0938 0.1094 0.1250 0.1406 0.1563 0.1865 0.2500 0.3750 0.5000

Choke Coefficient MCF/D/PSIA 0.08 0.188 0.261 0.347 0.444 0.553 0.802 1.470 3.400 6.260

6/64 7/64 8/64 9/64 10/64 12/64 16/64 24/64 32/64

Example: a well is flowing through a 10/64 choke at 2175 psig WHP. What is the dry gas flow rate? 2175 psig = 2190 psia. Choke coeff. for 10/64 = 0.553 Gas rate = 2190 x 0.553 = 1211 mcf/d

Flow rate estimation by the pressure and choke size for dry gas.
Qest. = 24 * (P1+15) * Choke size2/1000 For a tubing pressure of 4000 psi and a 24/64 choke, the gas flow estimate is: Qest. = (24 * (4000+15) * (0.375)2 ) / 1000 Qest. = 13 to 14 mmscf/d

Erosion - damage caused by impingement of particles, droplets,

bubbles and even liquid on any solid surface at high velocity.

To reduce erosion, slow down the velocity. A choke is required for throttling, never use a gate valve. If wells must be brought on line without a choke, use the outer wing valve if rated for the job. Partly open valve an erosion area

Erosion in a positive of bean choke from micron sized fines and high velocity gas flow.

Typical flow patterns (and erosion) in a bean choke.

Erosion at the exit flange

JPT, March 1998

The velocity profile and pressure drop across a choke with a large pressure drop opportunity for erosion is very high.

JPT, March 1998

One solution to the problem is to take the pressure drop in series and hold a slight backpressure. For example, a 1000 to 0 psi pressure drop produces a 68 fold expansion in gas volume, while a 1500 to 500 psi pressure drop produces a 3 fold gas volume expansion.

JPT, March 1998

Quiz Choke Sizing

A dry gas well flows at 12 mmscf/d with a well head pressure of 2200 psi. Select a choke size and a down stream pressure that will allow flow but not create damage through the choke.