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Guidelines & Recommended Practices

Selection of Artificial Lift Systems

for Deliquifying Gas Wells
Prepared by Artificial Lift R&D Council

Document written and edited

Chair: Lynn Rowlan,
Team: Rob Sutton
Comments: Not applicable

A.4 Annex 4 --- Calculation of Tuner and Coleman Critical Velocity

This annex presents methods proposed by Turner and Coleman to calculate
Critical Velocity. The Turner Equation is correlated to flowing gas well
performance data having surface pressures generally much more than 1000 psi.
The Coleman Equation (Exxon) is correlated to flowing gas well performance
data having surface pressures generally less than 1000 psi. Critical Velocity
corresponds to the in situ gas flow rate that generates the velocity needed to lift
liquid droplets out of the wellbore.
The Turner and Coleman equations and their associated graphs can be seen by
opening the corresponding documents from the same web site where this page is
displayed. Critical Velocity charts are used by field personnel to evaluate a gas
wells flowing conditions to determine if the well is experiencing liquid loading
problems. Use of wellhead pressure and gas production rate is a quick way for
the operator to determine if the well may be experiencing liquid loading problems.
For a more rigorous analysis of the well either the wellhead or bottom hole
conditions should be used as the point in determining Critical Velocity. In general
use wellhead conditions when determining Critical Velocity when the wellhead
pressure is greater than 1000 psia and use bottom hole conditions when
wellhead pressure is less than 100 psia. If the well is producing free water, for
most wells when the wellhead pressure is less than 1000 psia use the bottom
hole conditions for determining Critical Velocity.
In gas wells where the gas flow rate is above the Critical Velocity then liquid level
is usually at the surface. Any liquid being produced with the gas or condensing
due to temperature and pressure changes is usually uniformly distributed in the
tubing. The gas velocity carries all the liquid as a fine mist or small droplets to
the surface and a relatively light-uniform flowing pressure gradient is established
in the tubing.
In flowing gas wells where the gas velocity is below Critical Velocity then liquid
accumulates in the bottom of the tubing. A fluid level survey down the tubing will
usually show a liquid level echo below the surface of the well. The flowing

Selection of Artificial Lift Systems for Deliquifying Gas Wells

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pressure gradient will show two values, a very light gas gradient above the
gas/liquid interface and a heavier gaseous liquid gradient below the gas/liquid
interface. Below the liquid level the flow is characterized as zero net liquid flow
with gas bubbles or slugs holding up the liquid and upon exiting the gaseous
liquid surface the gas flows the remaining distance up the tubing to the surface.
Failure to flow gas in the well above the Critical Velocity can result in the
accumulation of liquids in the bottom of the well and can result in a reduced gas
production rate from the well.

Show the Turner Equation and Graph

Show the Coleman Equation and Graph
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