J. F.

Lea
Petroleum Engineering Department, Texas Tecti University, P.O. Box 43111 Lubbock, TX 79409-3111 e-mail: JLea@coe.ttj.edu

Plunger Lift Versus Velocity Strings
Plunger lift and velocity strings are two common methods of attacking liquid loading problems in gas wells. This paper shows how to compare the calculated performance of both methods at downhole producing conditions on one plot.

Introduction
As gas wells deplete, the velocity in the tubing becomes lower. Eventually, the gas velocity will become low enough such that the flowing gradient in the tubing begins to rise because liquids begin to accumulate in the tubing. There are many solutions to liquid loading problems in a gas well. They include use of foams, use of smaller tubing (velocity strings), use of intermittent gas lift, use of plungers (which is essentially intermittent gas lift with a traveling pig), and many pumping methods to lift liquids from a lowpressure gas well. Depending on well conditions, often the choices are between installing smaller tubing (velocity strings) or leaving in the larger tubing and employing plunger lift. This paper shows how to compare the performance of plunger lift versus velocity string applications in a manner not previously possible. Velocity Strings A velocity string is a small-diameter string used to increase the fluid velocity in the tubing in order to produce a low-pressure gas well that produces some liquids associated with the gas. The tubing could be coiled tubing or regular tubing. One approach is to use a formula for the critical velocity and size the tubing string to try to produce above the critical velocity. Turner et al. (1969) developed formulas for the critical velocity for gas production when producing water or condensate. Their formula for critical gas velocity is c(p,-0.00279P/Z)' (0.00279P/Z)"^ (1)

upward to the right) intersects the well inflow curve (slanting downward and to the right), at the point of predicted production. For stable flow, the tubing curve should intersect the inflow curve at a point to the right of the minimum point on the tubing curve. Tubing too small should not be used to avoid excess friction. With the information in Fig. 1, the largest tubing size indicates the highest rate, but it shows flow at a point that may be to the left of the minimum point on the tubing curve or very close to the minimum. At this point, unstable flow would be predicted and could result in lower than expected production. If velocity string performance is compared to plunger lift performance, it is desirable to have a plunger lift model that is plotted with the velocity string performance on the same coordinates as shown in Fig. 1. The method of plunger lift is first discussed and an example is given on how to calculate data for plotting plunger lift performance in a manner similar to that of tubing performance.

Typical Plunger System
Plunger lift is an artificial lift method, which normally uses only the existing energy from the well. Plunger lift can produce liquids from the well using gas pressure that has built up in the well when the surface production valve is closed. One type of a typical plunger lift installation is shown in Fig, 2. The components in the Fig, 2 installation include: • • • • • • A downhole bumper spring to catch the falling plunger. It can be installed by wire-line into the well, A plunger which travels from bumper spring to well head and back as it cycles, bringing liquids to surface more efficiently as it rises to the surface, A wellhead designed to catch the plunger and allow flow around and/or under the plunger to continue at the surface. A motorized valve, which can open and close the flow line, either by manual action or using computerized controls. A sensor on the wellhead to signal the arrival of the plunger. An electronic controller containing logic to control plunger trips, flow periods, and shut-in periods in order to maximize production.

where c = 5.3 for water or 4,03 for gas-condensate. In Eq. (1), p, is the liquid density in Ibm/ft' (67 Ibm/ft' used for water and 45 Ibm/ft^ for condensate). The variable, P, is the pressure at the location analyzed in the tubing, and Z is the compressibility factor at P and temperature 7". The critical velocity Vg is for water or condensate produced with gas, depending on the appropriate constant, c. If both water and condensate are present, Turner recommends using the constant for water. Turner et al. (1969) used 60 dynes/cm for water droplet interfacial tension and 20 dynes/cm for condensate. The temperature was taken to be 120''F. Typically, these formulas have been used at surface conditions, but they can be used anywhere in the well where the P and T and other parameters are known. Another technique for sizing the velocity string is to look at the shapes of calculated curves of the flowing bottom-hole pressure required to produce fluid from tubing at various flow rates. Various tubing sizes can be examined. An example may be seen in Fig. 1. In this figure, the calculated performance for various tubing sizes is plotted. The tubing performance curve (in general slanting
Contributed by the Petroleum Division and presented at the 20th Annual EnergySources Technology Conference and Exhibition, Houston, Texas, February 1-3,
1999, of THE AMERICAN SOCIETY OF MECHANICAL ENGINEERS. Manuscript received by

the Petroleum Division, October 23, 1998; revised manuscript received September 3, 1999. Associate Technical Editor: C. Sarica.

Cycle Description To better introduce how a plunger functions, the events of a plunger lift cycle are illustrated in Fig. 3, showing the surface recorded casing and tubing pressures during a complete plunger cycle. The plunger cycle begins when the plunger and a quantity of liquid are at bottom hole. At this time the casing pressure is allowed to build up to a value necessary to lift the plunger and liquid to the surface of the well. The tubing valve opens, tubing pressure begins to drop, and the plunger and liquid start up the tubing. The arrival of the plunger and slug is shown as a pressure spike on the tubing pressure plot. The plunger can then be held at the surface for a predetermined period of time to continue gas production if the well produces little liquids compared to gas production. When a specified low flow rate or low tubing pressure criteria are reached, the flow line valve is closed and the plunger Transactions of the ASME

234 / Vol. 121, DECEMBER 1999

Copyright © 1999 by ASME

Downloaded 28 May 2009 to 193.146.171.29. Redistribution subject to ASME license or copyright; see http://www.asme.org/terms/Terms_Use.cfm

The data for the 25-in. several of these modeling concepts were introduced. v^ D = depth. psig Pr = reservoir shut-in bottom-hole pressure. 53. but the majority of the energy comes from the expansion of the gas in the casing. Mscf/D R = gas constant. in.146. casing. 9 In 6.29. the casing pressure is once again allowed to build to an acceptable value to support the next plunger and liquid slug trip to the surface. ft' V . plungers in various casing sizes.velocity. °F t = time. scf/bl H = group of terms. which (discussed in the forthcoming) are still being used today. = inlet of tubing / = liquid Ih . ft Mscf/D = 10' standard cu ft of gas per day MMscf/D = 10' standard cubic of gas per day m = mass.171.992 n. The data are correlated and application charts shown in Figs. To operate successfully. typically 1000 ft/min. plungers. Eq. (1956) BUMPER SPRING 4 TUBING STOP ^ Fig. (1) for critical gas velocity. They also assumed that the plunger falls at a velocity of 2000 ft/min through gas and 172 ft/min though liquid when the well is shut in.615 ft^ C = coefficient of gas backpressure equation scf/D/ (psi^") c = constant in Eq. plungers are mostly for 7-in. At this point.weight of liquid per bbl // = liquid friction in tubing per barrel min = minimum (in casing pressure) max = maximum in (casing pressure) p = plunger r = period during which plunger is rising R = reservoir or from reservoir i = liquid slug sc = standard conditions surf = surface conditions t = tubing ta = tubing and casing annulus tm = total of cycle times wf = flowing conditions f Journal of Energy Resources Technology DECEMBER 1999.442 In. / ELECTRONIC CONTROLIER \ ^ 1500 1000 500 t^ \ . One of the main results was to develop a model for the maximum required casing buildup pressure.3000 2500 6 2000 0. dimensionless Subscripts a avg bd bu c fl g annulus average blow-down part of cycle buildup part of cycle casing just before shut-in period indicates flowing gas gci — initial casing gas i = initial in. these wells must have higher bottom-hole pressures and larger gas-oil-ratios than installations that have no packer in the well. see http://www. which describe plunger lift operations. For a plunger cycle. 1 Calculated nodal performance with different tubing sizes falls back to bottom. Ibm n = exponent for gas backpressure equation P = pressure. / = Moody friction factor y = specific gravity. 2 Typical plunger lift installation presented correlated data from the Ventura field in California for 2-in. 1 : 2. bbl T = temperature. ft/s Z = gas compressibility factor.00 }ln MASTER VALVE 'W ^ \ 0 1 2 3 4 Gas Production. Tubing ID=1. The data given by Beeson are for 2-in. Redistribution subject to ASME license or copyright. Ibm/ft' s = liquid slug size. Foss and Gaul (1965) developed a physical model of plunger performance. The cycles repeat and may be continuously adjusted by the control logic program found in many different commercial plunger lift controllers. Vol. This is why most successful installations operate with no packer in the well. ft d = diameter.34 lbf-ftV(lbm°R) p = density.99E In. The calculated casing buildup pressure is required to ensure that the Nomenclature A = area.cfm . Eq.asme. 5. «H:K>Q-=>j. There are some successful plunger lift installations with packers in the well. (air = 1.00) GLR = gas/liquid ratio. Beeson et al.org/terms/Terms_Use. the pressure that is built up in the off cycle in the casing is the major source of energy used to bring the plunger and the liquids to the surface. MMscf/D 5 6 CATCHER W/ARRIVAL SENSOR EXTERNAL CABLE ^ Fig. The model was designed to deliver the plunger and liquid slug to the surface with an assumed average velocity. (2) L = length. This study is a modification and improvement on the nodal analysis of plunger lift method presented in a paper by Lea (1998). psig Q = gas rate. ft^ bbl = barrel of vol. In this paper. Previous Studies There have been a number of papers published discussing models. 121 / 235 Downloaded 28 May 2009 to 193. and 25-in. 4 and 5 were generated. days V = volume. (18) IPR = inflow performance relation K = gas friction term. The well inflow contributes additional energy as the plunger rises..

is the sales pressure or separator pressure at the tubing surface when the well is opened. and frictional effects. The required casing pressure needed before opening the well is [{A. /"„. is the pressure needed to lift the weight of liquid per barrel.)/AJP„ (3) 36000 2" PLL iNGt E R 32000 1 1 \ \ 28000 m 24000 o (A p 20000 ^ 16000 12000 where A„ is the cross-sectional area of the annulus between the casing and tubing. 2f tubing (Beeson et al.j + Pif) are factors determined by Foss and Gaul (1965).jV{T.mii)/iA. shown in Eq. Prt = 0. 2| tubing (Beeson et al. ^ is a factor to account for the gas friction in the tubing (about 33. tubing to account for slug weight and friction in tubing.PSI Fig.615/A.. 4 Selection chart. This approximate and conservative approach considers only the energy of the gas in the annulus expanding to raise the plunger and the liquid. The terms (P.„. gravity.org/terms/Terms_Use. + 460)Zj (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) (10) \ ^ 4000 \ \ ^ ^ 400 :^__^ 0 600 800 1000 1200 1400 NET OPERATING PRESSURE .. and Pif is the pressure needed to overcome the liquid friction in the tubing per barrel. mgci = Pm. 3 Typical events on pressure chart during a plunger lift cycle i\ DEPTH 8000 4000 200 400 600 800 1000 1200 1400 plunger and liquid slug can travel from the bottom to the surface of the well.«D{A^ + A. (Mscf/D). p„i„ = {UAIR)y.P.000 for 2|-in. 40000 about 165 psig/bbl for 2|-in. QK.p„ Pmax = (mgci . entering the well during the plunger rise time: DEPn 8000 1 zoo L. This approach requires a determination of the liquid slug size for each cycle from pressures. + A. Note: net operating pressure is the difference between the casing buiid pressure and the separator pressure. 1956). and P. DECEMBER 1999 Transactions of the ASME Downloaded 28 May 2009 to 193. Any additional assistance from the inflow of gas during the rise time is neglected.f= yJLADItyiQmiSd.PSI Fig.. It should be noted that the casing pressure. or production data.4337. 5 Selection chart.1. D is the bumper spring depth. see http://www.f)sXl + DIK) (2) where P^^^ is a balance of pressure..146. Note: net operating pressure is the difference between tiie casing buiid pressure and the separator pressure.) m^ = 0. Redistribution subject to ASME license or copyright. is the area calculated from the inside diameter of the tubing. P.cfm . tubing and 45.. and A.Valve shuts f s ) Pluitger/slug arrives ( 4} Flow period near end 40000 36000 2 1/2" PLUNGEiR 28000 Tubing Pressure plunger rise time — build . P. tubing and 102 psig/bbl for 2|-in. (3) is the pressure required before the well is opened for production.. The following equations modify the original Foss and Gaul (1965) relationships to approximately account for a constant rate of gas. tubing). 121. The ratio of areas used to calculate the maximum casing pressure from the minimum casing pressure is also a ratio of volumes with the depth canceled. to be NET OPERATING PRESSURE .up flow ^ m p 24000 20000 6 ®' ^ 16000 Fig.7 + P^ + P. Pp is the pressure needed to lift the plunger (about 5 psig).+ iP„ + P.29.asme.171.500 for 2i-in. = L14. The Foss and Gaul (1965) formula presented for the surface casing pressure (psia) just as the plunger and slug arrive at the surface is ^ « . = 5.D) 236 / Vol.694Q gt. The liquid slug size brought to the surface each cycle is s. 1956).

but the constant rate model seems to approximate plunger lift performance well considering the incomplete data available from many gas wells. From Ferguson and Beauregard (1985). especially when it is produced water with no condensate. on a flowing bottom-hole pressure and production rate plot. data on gas production may be available. then it should be a candidate for plunger lift.cfm . the well is a candidate for plunger lift by this simple rule. Because of this. This analysis is not intended to take the place of using a reservoir model as is described by Wiggins and Gasbarri (1997). These criteria are necessary to indicate if a plunger can be used on a given well to remove liquids. Christian et al. It is more conservative not to subtract 2000 ft from the depth. This is probably more accurate than the simpler approach used in this paper. Example Calculation. read up to 5000 ft (between 4000 and 6000 ft). it is usual practice not to subtract this value. Hacksma (1972) combined Foss and Gaul results with a reservoir performance model to determine the effect of available gas on plunger performance. a reservoir model would be necessary. Here. 121 / 237 Since the produced GLR is greater than the "needed" 400 scf/bbl/ 1000 ft. Instead. Constant flow during the plunger cycle would approximate the situation of a very steep gas inflow expression such that changes in the flowing bottom-hole pressure would result in little change in rate. an attempt is made here to generate a method to help relate plunger lift performance to approximate reservoir performance. Another approach is to use plunger lift to reduce or prevent the fallback of liquids. White (1981) presented a model of plunger lift in an intermittent gas lift well. (1995) performed a study where beam pump units. producing gassy fluids..77„) (11) Separator pressure = 100 psig Net operating pressure = 400 . The rate determined by the reservoir inflow varies as a function of average pressure for a complete plunger cycle. Plunger lift is a transient phenomenon. As described in the Appendix. see http://www. however. 4. the Foss and Gaul (1965) equations predict a higher pressure than the needed Pcmi. These figures are in terms of net pressure. Some are simple and others more complex as seen by examining some results from the references. Note that the future curves become very steep. but somewhat different. (1991) discuss the critical velocity in a gas well. which were developed from field data. 4 and 5 as feasibility criterion. it is stated that the well must produce about 400 scf/bbl/1000 ft in order to be a successful plunger lift candidate. were successfully replaced with plunger lift installations. and depth. A discussion of leakage tests past various plungers was included. a simple model is used to generate plunger lift performance curves. Turner et al. installing smaller tubing or lowering the wellhead pressure can be implemented. casing size is not a parameter considered by this method. but often the liquid production is not carefully reported. For instance. and to cover all the possibilities of reservoir transient behavior. This situation would be one in which the "constant flow model" assumptions in the Appendix would be more applicable. When a gas well is loading with liquids. Vol. unless the well is at a very low draw-down portion of the curve. 4 and 5 do give an indication if the well has a sufficient GLR and pressure to operate with plunger lift. If this is done.org/terms/Terms_Use. In addition.(r. 4 and 5 (for 2|-in. (1956).asme.100 = 300 psi Enter Fig. it is desirable to have a method to help decide if you should use coiled tubing to operate a gas well into the future (when liquid loading begins) or if you should use plunger lift. It is interesting to note that Beeson et al. (1956) indicate that you should enter the chart with a depth equal to the actual depth minus 2000 ft. A method to compare plunger lift performance to coiled tubing or regular small-diameter tubing performance is also a result of this study. the original Foss and Gaul equations (Eqs. Wiggins and Gasbarri (1997) present a more comprehensive model for plunger lift operations by including a reservoir model along with other modeling techniques. When this situation occurs. and then read the >'-axis data to the left. As a well begins to decline due to liquid loading.29. Many field applications have been made using Figs. (2) and (3)) were used to determine the required casing buildup pressure for the model presented here. at 300 psi on the x-axis. Redistribution subject to ASME license or copyright. Because of these needs. Another approach that has been used is to ensure that the well has sufficient gas (GLR) and buildup pressure to operate with plunger lift using the Foss and Gaul (1965) equations. however. Is this well a candidate for plunger lift? GLR/(D/1000) = 4000/5 = 800 scf/(bbl . similar to tubing performance curves. In addition to the research of Foss and Gaul (1965). figures for this criterion. the rate is a constant during the plunger cycle for the average pressure during the cycle. Pumping methods are often the last resort due to their high initial cost and operating expense. the gas does not lift the well liquids efficiently and liquids accumulate in the well.The foregoing adjustment to P^max is much closer to what is observable in the field concerning how much casing pressure buildup is needed.171. this model has a buildup period DECEMBER 1999. and 25-in. Other operators use similar. The model assumes a constant gas rate is produced from the formation during the plunger lift cycle. These simple graphs are correlations. Well data: GLR (gas-liquid ratio) is 4000 scf/bbl and depth (D) is 5000 ft. Lea (1982) derived a model for calculating the change in pressures and forces on a plunger as it rises to the surface. Plunger Lift Feasibility Criteria There are many feasibility criteria. the operator has a choice to use plunger lift (which performs better with larger tubing up to a point) or use smaller tubing. Rosina (1983) presents some laboratory tests and critiques of other models. an inflow curve like curve C in Fig. In production operations. You will read about 3300 scf/bbl (GLR). (1969) and Coleman et al. This is pictured in Fig. However. Lea (1998) showed how to model with a variable rate and a constant rate. showing a present and some future gas inflow curves. These figures are shown as Figs. It has been observed by the author that for low rate wells. When the gas rate falls below the critical velocity.„ + 460)Z/(2. for conservatism.146. Example of use of Figs. If the well is stated to have a GLR = 4000 scf/bbl. but for simplicity.1000 ft) (13) New Model Development Although Figs. 6. Another feasibility test is the use of figures from Beeson et al. then only about 1500 scf/bbl or less is indicated for the well to be a candidate for plunger lift. Ferguson and Beauregard (1985) include some practical guidelines to selection of plunger lift. 4 and 5: Depth (D) = 5000 ft GLR = 4000 scf/bbl Plunger size = size to fit into 2 | tubing Casing operating or buildup pressure = 400 psig Journal of Energy Resources Technology Downloaded 28 May 2009 to 193. they do not give any sort of relation to the well's inflow capabilities. use is made of simpler IPR or inflow performance relationship with a new plunger model for ascertaining a graphical representation of plunger performance. GLR. tubing applications). These correlations are useful for evaluating plunger lift installations since more sophisticated models require well data that is often unavailable. 6 would show little change in flow rate with changes in bottom-hole pressure. it requires more data for screening and optimization. Tubing and/or plunger lift performance curves can be plotted to intersect well inflow curves for predicting the producing rates. Accumulated liquids can reduce or stop production.

. This rise period ends when the plunger and slug arrive at the surface with the casing pressure of P„. The gas used in each complete cycle is not to exceed the input well GLR (gas to liquid ratio. After the buildup portion of the analysis. + PCM) is used as an arbitrary value of pressure to end this final flow period. and Coleman et al. DECEMBER 1999 Transactions of the ASME Downloaded 28 May 2009 to 193. Mscf/D 50 psig surface pressure. this period is assumed to end. Then. the input measured value of bbl/MMscf/D of well-produced liquids is assumed to rise and be associated with the gas in the tubing at a rate equal to the velocity of the in-situ gas. then this criterion is used to end this period. The model determines the time Average rise velocity required for the casing pressure to build up from an initial shut-in Reservoir. the pressure in the casing is calculated to drop from the Pc„. 7 Example cycle calculation for constant rate model. minutes Fig. Continued use of the model compared to well performance will determine the model's usability to screen wells for plunger lift. The gas production assumptions have already been discussed. A transient continuity equation is used to approximate what the flow. Sales line pressure Depth Surface temperature Qgas Bottom-hole temperature WOR Fig. It is possible to alter the model to accommodate changing flow from the reservoir during the different portions of the cycle.d. 6 Concept of future IPR curves." Well GLR Condensate gravity Water gravity in which the well pressure increases to the required value of Pc.171. a final flow period is analyzed. The constant flow model assumes that the rate of gas calculated in the model is the same for all parts of the plunger cycle. The average pressure of a cycle is the time-averaged pressure of each modeled portion of the cycle.87 0. If the casing pressure rises to a target value before the critical velocity is reached. No leakage is calculated across the plungers.. the plunger rise period is modeled. This model is approximate. 1995).70 250 40 1000 300 33. but is assumed to approximate the performance of plunger lift well enough to allow calculation of average cycle flowing bottom-hole pressures. However. Also. and final conditions are for this period. Casing i. Table 1 shows the data that are used for example calculations. as already mentioned. n Value 1. the model considers a blow-down flow period in which liquid interference is not considered in the Gray (1974) correlation used for calculation of tubing pressure drop performance. 0. psig ft "F °F dimensionless dimensionless API dimensionless (Air = 1) psig psig ft/min psig (scf/psi)'" dimensionless slug and plunger to the surface with a prescribed average velocity (1000 ft/min used here). This pres. The reservoir inflow curve is calculated 0 40 80 120 160 200 240 280 320 360 Time. This allows comparison to the performance of expected flowing pressures with the use of various tubing sizes. it is possible to require a smaller Pc„„ than used by Foss and Gaul (1965).000 50 7000 100 180 1 10000 33 1.inNext.Table 1 Base case Quantity Tubing i.asme. then this is a point where plunger operation is not predicted to be possible. Sample Results From the New Model Several example results are presented to illustrate program output.758 Reservoir Test Data Q„ (Mscf/D) 80 120 160 P 4 (psig) 250 200 150 Units in. C sure predicts when the casing contains enough energy to bring the Flow exponent.cfm . With formation gas coming in during the plunger rise. Figure 7 shows calculated surface casing pressure versus time for one example cycle using the constant rate approximation. see http://www. m.i„ to a lower value. constant rate analysis 238 / Vol. Slug buildup distribution in the tubing versus casing during the pressure buildup is not taken into account.d.Flow coefficient.146. 8 Gas Production. Assumptions are made to model the cycles that are used to find the flow and pressures during the calculated plunger lift cycles. Here. If a slug size is assumed and the gas calculated from the model requires a GLR for the cycle greater than the well's actual measured GLR. this correction is not made here.03 0. Redistribution subject to ASME license or copyright. 1969. (3). During this period.29. it will help determine whether you should use plunger lift or smaller tubing (coiled tubing) to solve problems encountered when a gas well begins to load with liquids. time. The Pcu is the pressure at the end of the assumed blow-down period. This condition of constant rate is violated during the total plunger cycle.org/terms/Terms_Use.„„ Gas gravity Casing buildup pressure as measured at the casing surface.995 5. 121.2 bbi slug Fig. where barrels of liquid are measured at surface conditions) multiplied by the slug size used for each cycle calcu- lation. A value of ^(Pcmr. When the flow is calculated to drop below a critical velocity (Turner et al. scf/bbl. The data are used for a base case for some sample outputs for the plunger lift model results. This can be calculated at surface conditions or at bottom-hole conditions. When the pressure no longer changes. but this adds complexity to the model. this is the time at which this modeled period ends. The formula for calculating this Minimum casing pressure pressure is given in Eq. Pr condition to the Foss and Gaul defined P^max pressure. Later curves are "steep.

„. R.. The slug size is increased and the calculations are repeated until the required gas rate is greater than the maximum flow possible from the reservoir. TX. Fetkovich. April 19-20. OK. "Plunger-Lift Performance Criteria With Operating Experience—Ventura Field. H. 1974.. 1998. Next. psia. pp.. Whatever the average rate for the plunger cycle. D. 1973.Pi/)".146. and Listiak. 1985.. This number is from experience and seems to minimize frictional losses. 1. P<.„. B. M. "Part 1: The Plunger Lift Method of Oil Production. The pressure during buildup is assumed to be the average of f . J. "Replacing Beam Pumping Units with Plunger Lift. Hacksma." and "Part 5: Well Selection and Applications. J.. D. Paper SPE 10253. constant gas rate cycle from a back-pressure equation. D. and Dukler. Nov.. Figure 9 shows the same case as Fig. G. Mscf/D Fig.. the casing pressure has dropped to P^^. B." Drilling and Production Practice." Master's thesis. see http://www. Lubbock. i ^ 1 . L. White. but with the surface pressure increased to 75 psig. and Pf. • 200 100 0 g o 1 J 0 40 80 \ 120 V^ 1 160 r. 0 In. G. "Users Guide to Predict Plunger Lift Performance.. Christian. G.500 400 300 WW 1 ID=1. The average pressure during the rise is taken as (P„.. CA." Tech.. 1991. "Combining the Technologies of Plunger Lift and Intermittent Gas Lift. 2 5 In. „. M. but plunger lift is still possible. and Beauregard. P. 1475-1482. S. Redistribution subject to ASME license or copyright. J. Las Vegas. June.." presented at the Annual American Institute Pacific Coast Joint Chapter Meeting Costa Mesa. constant rate analysis 50Q .. Q^ is the gas rate from reservoir into the well bore during the cycle." Petroleum Engineer. G. 1969.00 In." . presented at the Oklahoma City Production Operations Symposium. 9 75 psig surface pressure. Mscf/D APPENDIX Constant Reservoir Rate Cycle Model For this approximate cycle model." App.. J. R." Journal of Petroleum Technology. and Gaul. J.+ 460)10002 (14) where P^ is the casing pressure before shut-in.asme.. R. Foss. in days. A small slug size is assumed and a cycle is iterated until results are obtained.. "A New Look at Predicting Gas-Well Load Up. F.1 . The cycle must be started at some point.cfm . Rosina.. 1965. "Nodal Analysis of Plunger Lift Operations.. Knox." Southwestern Petroleum Short Course. Wiggins. Tubing I D . a well IPR (inflow performance relationship) with a steep slope would give the best results. No tubing performance curves intersect the well IPR. Lea. TX. Lea." "Part 2: Constructing Nomographs to Simplify Calculations. L. 1995. D. M. L. but is still fast enough to avoid excessive liquid leakage and gas by-pass around the plunger.. It shows good performance of plunger compared to the performance of various sizes of smaller tubing producing with a 50-psig surface tubing pressure." Southwestern Petroleum Short Course." SPE 37422.. M. and Z is the "average" compressibility factor for the gas in the well." SPE Paper No. When the slug and plunger arrive at the surface.. it is assumed that this velocity is 1000 ft/min." "Part 3: How to Use Nomographs to Estimate Performance. B. Fetkovitch (1973) discusses how to test for the coefficients. "Dynamic Analysis of Plunger Lift Operations.„. pp. W. "A Dynamic Plunger Lift Model for Gas Wells. For this model.Southwestern Petroleum Short Course. September 30-October 3. University of Tulsa. 1997. APL pp. B. Note that no tubing intersections with the reservoir inflow curve are possible for all the small tubing sizes. Summary Use of the plunger lift model allows the user to get a graphical representation of the predicted plunger lift performance versus the performance of various possible sizes of tubing on a "Nodal"^" plot at the bottom-hole conditions. Buildup Portion of the Cycle The time for buildup.. References Beeson.. Q« = CiP^. "Vertical Flow Correlation in Gas Wells.50 In. Coleman. a larger slug size is assumed and the calculations repeated. S. D. "Analysis and Prediction of Minimum Flow Rate for the Continuous Removal of Liquids from Gas Wells.t In. 1997. The coefficients for this equation are assumed to be determined from well tests. Lubbock. r„g is the average temperature in the well. changes in flowing pressure at the sand face will cause some actual changes in the flow rate into the well bore during a complete plunger cycle. Plunger operation is shown to be possible only by a small curve at low production rates. Lubbock. E. J. 1972. 33-36. G. Phillips. Rise Portion of the Cycle When the well is opened. Hubbard. TX. Clay. related to the rate and change in pressure in the well is hu " QRP AT. S. Mar. "The Isochronal Testing of Oil Wells. 2617-2629. 1 1. is the casing pressure necessary before the well is opened to flow." Journal of Petroleum Technology... 1983. The example here is for a weak well that is producing some liquids. October 22. Then. H. No natural tubing flow is sustainable. 121 / 239 Downloaded 28 May 2009 to 193.25 In.. the slug and the plunger begin to rise. P. E. H. "Subsurface Controlled Subsurface Safety Valve Sizing Computer Program. L." "Part 4: Examples Demonstrate Use of Nomographs. C. and Gasbarri. 200 240 280 320 360 Gas Production.. This provides a much clearer comparison of the performance of plunger lift or a velocity string when attempting to produce a gas well loading with liquids. "How to Tell if Plunger Lift Will Work in Your Well. The volume in tubing and tubing-casing annulus is V. 48th Annual Fall Meeting of SPE. The plunger performance curve does intersect the reservoir inflow curve. "Training/Trouble Shooting Guide for Plunger Systems. no further points of plunger lift performance are possible." Southwestern Petroleum Short Course.. P.171. Fig. .org/terms/Terms_Use.29.. 1956. Vol. and Stoddard. 10 100 psig surface pressure. "A Study of Plunger Lift Dynamics.." API User's Manual for AI 14B. pp.. Figure 10 shows highly degraded plunger performance as the tubing surface pressure is raised to 100 psig. Ferguson. Nov. Gray. 4529. and Bishop.„ + Journal of Energy Resources Technology DECEMBER 1999... and Norris. NV." World Oil. The time for the plunger to rise is calculated by dividing the depth by the plunger velocity. August 1. Lea. Turner. 0 40 80 120 160 200 240 280 320 360 Gas Production. Tulsa. Lubbock.. . The beginning point of the analysis will be at the start of the shut-in period. J. 124-140. 6. TX. Figure 8 shows output from the constant rate model. A... H. McCurdy. E. 1981. 11 X E m 1 2. 1982.

This period continues until the pressure arbitrarily reaches Pf.146. » . . The final flow period models this condition. + A6Q)Zp.Q.018777. + 460))J (16) i(/'^^^. (1991). the complete cycle is fully described.Blow-Down Portion of the Cycle During this portion of the cycle. = ^ « expL(0.. and slug size/1000. . QR is the constant reservoir gas rate during the cycle and Q. ^ "^ ^'K'-^ ' •'J dt i'sc\>iK ^\/ \ I where Pc„^ is the instantaneous average pressure in the casing.. . and the flow into and out of the well.asme. and Coleman et al. a . The critical flow velocity can be determined from Turner et al. DECEMBER 1999 Transactions of the ASME Downloaded 28 May 2009 to 193. Pressures are corrected with static or flowing gradients to bottom-hole conditions in Eq.^ + p^^j. (17) where H is H = (?-„„. — (huPbu "^ ^rPr + hdPbd ^ hPaJ^^ti.„. The time for the blow down is the sum of the A?'s. The Coleman correlation for critical velocity indicates 20 per- The foregoing average cycle pressure is what is shown on the plunger nodal plots versus production as the calculated plunger performance curve. It was developed for gas wells with surface pressure less than about 1000 psig. Here. where an input mmimum value of the blow-down pressure is used.+ f^ -f.. up the tubing at the rate of the in-situ velocity of the gas in the tubing. A simplified continuity equation is used to simulate the storage of gas in the well. This is a temporary condition as liquids will begin to produce back into the well. and the changing pressure at the bottom of the well. although other flow correlations could be used. .AtlVi{\AAIR)yJ (18) The liquid production in bbl/day is the product of cycles/day and slug size (used for each point calculation). V„ is the volume in annulus between casing and tubing. a larger slug is assumed and the new cycle is calculated as in the foregoing. It should be used instead of the Turner correlation when applicable and is the method used in this paper.) cent less velocity than required by Turner. 240 / Vol. The pressure at the entrance to the tubing (?. see http://www.ua.171. This section of the cycle is assumed to flow with no interference of liquids in the well since it is assumed that all the fluid is removed by the plunger. If the calculated gas used per cycle is greater than this product.org/terms/Terms_Use. At this time. The continuity equation used for the annulus between the tubing and casing is {V„{UAIR)yMT + 460)Z]} . . Then. dPr (15) a. The portion of the tubing flowing gas with liquids is modeled to increase from the bottom of the well. (1969). The Gray (1974) correlation is used for the tubing pressure-drop calculation.u.^ ^ = 1 0 0 0 p .cfm . 121. Redistribution subject to ASME license or copyright.29.) at the bottom of the tubing to account for the weight of the gas is taken as ^in. The average pressure can be calculated from the point-by-point calculations. . the well is flowed with increasing liquids in the well bore. . Pressure in the casing-tubing annulus at average conditions is advanced with time by using a finite difference expression for dPIdt in the foregoing "continuity" equation. (20). which is set as ^ " " " " " . the well is producing at the surface and the formation is flowing into the Well at the sand face.) + Pc. Once this final flow period is modeled. cycles/day. . This is continued until quantities are constant for new iterations.."""* u . » u . a. as the pressure is advanced step by step.Z))/(Z(r. increasing to the point of the input value of the produced bbl/MMscf/D of liquids. Iteration Required Now the cycle is repeated with the following adjusted cycles per day and flow quantities: cycles/day = 1440/(?bu + t. The Turner expression is Eq. ( e « . (1). Time is increased using approximately 1 min as the time increment for calculations as the gas proceeds up the tubing. This portioii of the cycle is continued until the flow out of the well drops to below "critical flow" or the production out of the well drops to the production into the well. in units of days. n .f„) (19) The calculations are iterated until the tubing flow corresponding to this pressure at bottom and the surface tubing pressure is found. the average pressure at the flowing bottom-hole conditions during a cycle is approximated by the following time-weighted average: Pwf„. p . . The flow begins with no liquids in the tubing. The gas produced for one cycle is compared to the product of slug size and the GLR of the well. .^ . Final Flow Portion of the Cycle Model In this final period. „ . n .. is the instantaneous rate flowing into the tubing as a function of the surface pressure..Q. the calculated flowing bottom-hole pressure continually increases with time. . The results give an average pressure for the plunger cycle so it can be compared to tubing performance without plunger lift. During this portion of the cycle. (20) The procedure is advanced until the critical velocity is reached in the tubing or the flow in the well equals the flow out of the well. This model is one way of simply visualizing and modeling the plunger cycle. The gas production in Mscf/D is calculated as the product of GLR. or c„gl((+A() = li{QR . then this indicates a limiting point where plunger lift would not operate continuously. the pressure in the well has dropped as low as it will go. Larger slug sizes beyond this limit will also indicate that plunger lift will not be possible.