Artificial Lift Techbook 2019

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52 | April 2019 | ARTIFICIAL LIFT: CASE STUDIES N early 50% of failures in deviated shale wells operating on artificial lift are attributed to metal-on-metal contact of sucker rod cou- plings and production tubing. Workovers and pro- duction losses can cost companies tens of thousands of dollars per well per year. Working with a large oper- ator that was experiencing high failure rates in some of its Bakken wells, Materion Corp., which specializes in the supply of advanced materials, developed sucker rod couplings made of a new temper of its Tough- Met 3 alloy, an advanced bearing material long-estab- lished in oil and gas drilling applications. It is notable for its high strength and anti-galling qualities. After successful field tests in 10 problematic Bak- ken wells, between 12 and 60 ToughMet couplings were installed in 50 deviated well sections by operators throughout the Bakken, Permian and Eagle Ford basins. In this pilot program, known as "Solution 1," a 62% average increase in tubing runtime was observed after ToughMet couplings were installed in the bottom of rod strings. Throughout the trial, it was noted that there were two instances in which the wellbore was so severely deviated that nothing could be done to improve the wells' performance. Expanding the program During the Solution 1 pilot runs it was noticed that placing an increased number of couplings in the well, spanning a larger area than just the devi- ated sections, could give rise to significant benefits. Namely, the overall frictional loss of the machine could be significantly reduced, along with the mechanical loads on all the surface equipment and the energy consump- tion of the system—ultimately increas- ing the output of the well. Solution 2 was subsequently launched as a pro- gram to investigate cases in the Perm- ian and Bakken where much longer portions of the sucker rod string were outfitted with the couplings. A broad sample size was acquired in order to mitigate for any operating practice variations among operators. The goal was to perform a statistical analysis on the results as a whole pop- ulation, not on a case-by-case basis, to understand if, in fact, the "before" and "after" were statistically different operations and what type of distri- bution the results conformed to. By drawing results from such a large data- Coupling alloy extends runlife of rod-pumped wells. A Simple Solution to Runlife Extension By William Nielsen and Richard Cash Materion Corp. Materion's ToughMet alloy couplings have been deployed in the Bakken, Eagle Ford and Permian basins. (Source: Materion Corp.)

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