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TECHBITS

Artificial Lift Selection Discussed


at Workshop
The SPE Applied Technology WorkDynamic simulation (transient
shop on Artificial Lift Systems: Get the
modeling) of downhole pumps,
Maximum from Your Wells was held
gas lift, and plunger lift
2427 November 2013 in Phuket, ThaiAdvances in digital oilfield
land. The workshop attracted 80 particitechnology
pants representing 32 organizations and
A new method for solving the
14 countries.
wave equation to model sucker
As oil and gas fields are depletrod pump performance
ed, artificial lift systems are often
New American Petroleum
required to maintain delivery volumes
Institute (API) standards (API
and to maximize recovery. To han19G) in gas lift equipment
dle adverse conditions, such as high-
Submersible permanent magnet
viscosity oil, high water cut, sand, lowmotors for PCPs for more
reservoir pressures, high temperatures,
efficient operation
low-productivity wells, and high-angle
Mechanistic modeling of ESP
wells, special artificial lift systems may
performance to predict the
berequired.
effectof oil viscosity and twoThis workshop discussed state-ofphase flow
the-art artificial lift technologies. EngiUse of a vent branch from the
neers from operating and service commain wellbore to allow gas to
panies shared their field experience
bypass downhole pumps in
with artificial lift issues, such as operhorizontal wells
ational efficiency, reliability, mainteRigless ESP technology
nance, cost, and extensibility, and also
discussed their innovative solutions. Field Experience
An interactive session allowed partici- Participants shared a variety of field
pants to use the information presented experience:
and share their expertise and experience
E
 SPs applied in low-productivity
to select an artificial lift system for a
and high-gas/high-liquid ratio
sample well.
wells
Issues with sucker rod pump
New Developments
runlife
The following advances in artificial lift
Using foam to revive dead wells
were discussed:
via chemical injection through
Electric submersible pumps
capillary strings
(ESPs) able to handle
How lack of live flow rate
temperatures of up to 250C
measurements and surface flow
Progressive cavity pump (PCP)
rate control for gas injection
designs for handling heavy oil
wells makes gas lift network
and sand
optimization more difficult
Insertable tubing-conveyed
Failure investigations of ESPs
electric submersible PCP systems
showed the value of digging
to reduce time, cost, and hazards
deeper, standard procedures,
of pump changes
and a data collection system

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to find the true cause of ESP


failures
How mean time to failure is
not a good yardstick of ESP
performance; a failure-free
operating period with probability
does a better job tracking ESP
run life
Replacing ESPs and gas lift with
sucker rod pumps as an onshore
oil field in Thailand matured
Successful application of venturi
orifice gas lift valves in offshore
Sarawak, Malaysia, to stabilize
flow; payout on the new valves
was less than a day
A multiphase pump on an
offshore platform successfully
restarted several dead wells
Installation of ESP to replace
gaslift in an offshore Sarawak
oilfield
Jet pumps revived dead wells
andpaid for themselves in less
than 3months
Challenges
One presentation pointed out how the
routine workovers and servicing needed for ESPs often require reconfiguring
intelligent wells, which can be costly.
The group was challenged to think about
how artificial lift can work with intelligent wells.
Artificial Lift Selection
Methodologies
From the keynote speech to the breakout session at the end of the workshop,
the emphasis was on providing participants with the information they needed to select the best artificial lift system
for their well. When selecting artificial
lift, management practices, legacy issues,

JPT MARCH 2014

2/14/14 2:05 PM

TECHBITS

economics, human factors (e.g. training,


tools, operator habits, and safety), surface and infrastructure constraints, production, reservoir and well constraints,
and produced fluid properties all need
to be considered. Participants were
divided into nine groups to determine
the best artificial lift system for given
wellspecifications.
The group that was assigned to study
a coalbed methane well in an onshore gas
field chose a PCP or sucker rod pump
(depending on economics) to pump the
water up the tubing while gas flowed freely up theannulus.
Two groups working on a Thai offshore gas condensate well both selected
foam (via capillary injection) and gas lift,
but each applied these systems in a different order.
Three groups reviewing an offshore
oil well in the South China Sea selected
an ESP as the best form of artificial lift
for theirwell.
Three groups tackling a Canadian
tight oil onshore well each suggested
different strategies to handle the deep
(measured depth: 14,200 ft; true vertical depth: 9,000 ft), horizontal well
that has a low flow rate (absolute open
flow of 130 STB/D and gas/oil ratio of
1700scf/STB).
One of the three final groups suggested using a sucker rod pump; and
that, if possible, gas lift valves should be
installed as a backup. The second group
recommended that gas lift through the
annulus via the subsurface safety value
be used because the casing size was too
small for normal gas lift valves. The
third group suggested that the well be
allowed to flow naturally for as long
as possible and then converted to gas
lift (if a gas compressor were readily
available), or, if no compressed gas were
available, converted to using hydraulic
pistonpumps.JPT

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