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When the natural reservoir energy is insufficient to lift oil from the bottom hole up to the surface, one or more of the artificial lift methods of oil production will be applied. One of the most popular artificial lift methods is the gas lift method. The process can be described as follows. The gas is injected into the annular space to displace the liquid, which reaches the tubing shoe, and moves up through the tubing, thus aerating the column of liquid.

PRINCIPLES OF GAS LIFT

Fig. 7-1 Gas Lift Performance (a) Single string, (b) Dual string, (c) Stepped two-string

**PRINCIPLES OF GAS LIFT
**

The gas bubbles rise through the tubing and entrain the liquid. Since the density of a gas-oil mixture is lower than the hydrostatic pressure of the gas-oil column is lower and the back pressure on the formation decreases. Therefore, the difference between the formation pressure and the bottom-hole flowing pressure causes oil to flow from the pay zone bed into the well.

**PRINCIPLES OF GAS LIFT
**

The used gas in the process of gas-lift may be: (a) natural gas, (b) air, or (c) a an air-gas mixture. When the air is used, the process is called air-lift and similarly, when air-gas mixture is used, the process is called air-gas lift.

**PRINCIPLES OF GAS LIFT
**

The gas lift installation consists of two strings of tubing, one inside the other. The gas is injected through the annular space between the two strings while the gas-liquid mixture rises up the inner tubing. The new level of the gasliquid mixture in the annulus is called the dynamic level (Hdyn). Therefore the pressure at the bottom –hole will be as follow:

Mixture-Out

Gas-In ho

Hdyn

Oil

Pb = H

dyn

*ρ*g

Dual-Tubing

**PRINCIPLES OF GAS LIFT
**

The distance between the wellhead and the dynamic level is:

ho = H − H dyn = H − pb /(ρg )

Where H is the well depth.

**Features of Gas Lift
**

The basic advantages of gas lift production are as follows; (1) equipment is simple in design, has no sliding subsurface parts and is thus free from fast-wearing mechanisms; (2) the surface equipment accounts for the larger stock of facilities and thus is readily accessible for service and repair; (3) the flow rate is easy to control and can be raised to a high of 1800 to 1900 tons per day regardless of the well depth and tubing diameter; (4) many types of oil well can be produced, such as sandy, drowned, crooked, directionally drilled, and small-diameter; (5) high temperature and gas evolving from the beds do not affect the well performance, rather the gas facilitates the flow of fluid to the surface; (6) well survey is simple.

**PRINCIPLES OF GAS LIFT- Drawbacks
**

the main drawbacks of this artificial lift system are as follows: (1) a low efficiency of both the gas lift and the entire compressor-well system (gas lift efficiency does not often exceed 5 % at low dynamic levels); (2) large consumption of pipes, particularly in waterand sand-producing wells; (3) high initial costs of construction of gas-lift compressor stations, distribution booths, and an extended network of pipelines;

**Calculation of Gas Lift Installations
**

The calculation of a gas lift system reduces to the determination of the diameter and length of the gas lift itself, bottom and the wellhead. For this, the following initial data on each well must be available1. reservoir pressure and formation depth 2. casing string diameter; 3. fluid density; 4. gas factor and gas solubility; 5. the pressure of the gas distribution system.

**Calculation of Gas Lift Installations
**

In practice, gas lift wells can be flown so as to give the highest possible output (uncontrollable, or unlimited withdrawal) or a limited (controllable) output for geologic and technical reasons. Two methods are available including: 1. Unlimited fluid withdrawal 2. Limited fluid withdrawal

**Unlimited fluid withdrawal
**

Since a maximum rate of production corresponds to a minimum bottom-hole pressure, the tubing should be run in somewhat short of the upper perforation interval. If run in below this interval, the working agent injected into the annulus impedes the inflow of fluid into the well: L= H - (20 to 30) where L is the tubing setting depth (height, or depth of lift), m H is the total well depth, m.

**Unlimited fluid withdrawal
**

Neglecting the pressure exerted by the gas column and the pressure loss due to the dynamic friction of gas on the walls of the gas string, the bottom-hole pressure Pb can be set equal to approximately the tubing bottom pressure: Pb = P1

**Unlimited fluid withdrawal
**

The maximum gas lift production rate assuming a singlephase fluid inflow into a well :

Qmax

15 x10 d P1 − P2 = 0.50 ρ L

3

−8

1 .5

= K ( Pr − Pb )

Qmax is the maximum production rate, m3 per day; D is the flow string diameter, m; P is the fluid density, kg/m3; P1 and P2 are the flow string bottom pressure and the surface (wellhead) pressure respectively, MPa (P2 = 0.2-0.3 MPa); L is the flow string length, m; K is the well productivity factor, m3/day MPa; and Pr is the reservoir pressure, MPa. Pb bottom-hole pressure , MPa

**Unlimited fluid withdrawal
**

The maximum diameter of flow tubing can be estimated in conformity with the well production rate using Table 7-1. A minimum diameter of tubing depends on the diameter of the production casing (final casing string).

Table 7-1 Production rate based upon selected tubing diameter Dnom, mm Din, mm Q, ton/day 20 – 50 40.3 48 50 – 70 50.3 60 70 – 250 59 to 62 73 250 – 350 76 89 above 350 100.3 114

**Unlimited fluid withdrawal
**

The pressure p1 at the flow string shoe is given by

P1 = Pa — 0.4 Mpa

where Pw is the working pressure in the discharge line of compressors, MPa; the pressure loss in the gas line from compressor to wellhead = 0.4 Mpa. The gas pressure loss due to friction and the head of gas column in the gas string may be neglected.

The specific gas injection rate Ri-max with consideration of the volume of gas flowing together with oil the well can be expressed as: Ri-max = Rmax – Go

R i − max

3 . 88 L2 ρ = 0 .5 d (P1 − P2 )Log ( P1 / P2 )

Go is the gas factor, m3 per day. Knowing Ri-max, The daily gas injection rate

Vi = Qmax * Ri-max

**Limited fluid withdrawal
**

In this case, the oil and gas production rates and also the bottom-hole pressure corresponding to these rates are known. In the conditions of a maximum flow rate the specific energy (gas flow rate) the pressure differential per unit length of lift is (dh/L) = 0.5 where there is an optimal flow rate, the relative maximum production rate will be at (dh/L) = 0.6.

**Limited fluid withdrawal
**

Hence, the length of lift can be calculated proceeding from the conditions at Qmax ( P − P2 ) / Lρg = 0.5 1

( P − P2 ) / Lρg = 0.6 1

at

Qop

Assuming that P2 is less than P1 the following condition can be written as follows:

L = 2h = 2 ho = 2[H – Pb/(g)]

Knowing L, the pressure at the bottom of the well can be determined.

**Complications of Gas Lift Well Operation
**

Factors affecting the normal operation of gas lift wells are the following: (a) formation of sand bridges on the bottom or air blocks in the flow string; (b) deposition of salts on the bottom or in the flow siring; (c) accumulation of water in the bottom and formation of stable viator-oil emulsions.

**Complications of Gas Lift Well Operation
**

Recommended Treatments: 1. The measures has to be taken to prevent and eliminate the deposition of sand 2. Remove severe salt deposition, the string is withdrawn and milled at machine shops. 3. Control paraffin/asphaltene deposition by suitable means

**Treatment of Gas Slippage Problem to Increase Efficiency
**

• Well surveys show that the efficiencies of compressor gas lift are low as follows: compressor gas lift 0.10 to 0.14 straight gas lift 0.30 to 0.32 Intra-well gas lift 0.32 to 0.35

• A low gas lift efficiency results from a large loss of head due to gas slippage in the flow strings.

**Treatment of Gas Slippage Problem to Increase Efficiency
**

One way of combating the problem is to perform the following operations to disperse gas in flow strings. 1. Dissolve the gaseous phase in the liquid. A subsequent decrease in the tubing pressure liberates gas in the form of tiny bubbles. 2. Introduce a liquefied gas into the flow string, which is given off as tiny bubbles with a decrease in tubing pressure. This method has successfully passed trials conducted in field conditions on a number of wells. Investigations are currently under way for developing a special gas lift cycle of increased efficiency.

**Treatment of Gas Slippage Problem to Increase Efficiency
**

3. Pump surfactants down the flow tubing, which accelerate gas evolution and prevent bubble coalescence and enlargement. 4. Inject high-molecular compounds which reduce the floating 5. Disperse the gaseous phase by various means when introducing it into the flow string: pass the gaseous phase through a system of fine orifices, increase turbulent surges in a hydraulic disperser, subject gas to the action of electric, magnetic, and ultrasonic fields, etc.

**Determination of Optimum Gas-Liquid Ratio (GLR)
**

It is so important to determine the optimum gas-liquid ratio (GRL) because this value of GLR is the base for the determination the mount of gas required to be injected into the reservoir. The following solved example can be used to follow up the procedure for this purpose

**Determination of Optimum Gas-Liquid Ratio (GLR)
**

Example: Given the following data: - producing depth of the pay zone 5000 to 5040 ft well is completed with with 2 7/8-in tubing at depth 5000 ft PI is 0.50 bbl/d/psi and the GRL is 300 cuftbbl Te well THP is 100 psi and Ps (BHP)is 1350 psi (a) What will be the well flow rate against THP = 100 psi if Ps = 1300 psi and Ps 1300 psi? (b) Does an artificial lift method is required for this well or not? (c) Determine the optimum GRL?

**Determination of Optimum Gas-Liquid Ratio (GLR)
**

Solution

1.1. Assume different flow rate as 50, 100, 200, 400, and 600 b/d and get equivalent depth to THP = 100 psi 2. Add 5000 ft to the depth equivalent to THP to get equivalent depth to Pwf. Then get Pwf from suitable Gilbert charts, as shown below.

THP = 100 psi and GLR = 0.3 mcf/bbl

The above figure shows that the well can flow at 150 bbl/day at Ps = 1400 psi but this well will die before reservoir pressure Ps = 1300 psi ( at approximately Ps = 1350 psi).

For each flow rate at tubing size = 2 7/8-ID = 2.873 inch select the LOWEST CURVE of GRL to get the opt. GRL for each q as shown below. Then get the equivalent depth to THP = 100 psi and add 5000 ft to get equivalent depth of Pwf. Then get Pwf at optimum GRL.

Optimum GRL at Tubing size = 2.873-in and THP = 100 psi

Then at selected Q for example Q = 475bbl/d, optimum GLR can be obtained and then required volume of gas to be injected can also be calculated as follows: Total volume of gas = Q * Optimum GLR = 475 (bbl/d) x 2900 cuft/bbl (from fig above) scf Daily gas volume supplied by formation = 475 x 300 scf Injected gas required daily = Q x (Opt. GLR – current GLR) = 475 (2900 - 300 ) = 475 x 2600 scf = 1.235 x 10 ^ (6) scf

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