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Artificial Lift Techbook 2016

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Page 42 of 47

ARTIFICIAL LIFT TECHBOOK: CASE STUDY | May 2016 | 41 Closing the lifting gap Gas lift is the common method to close the lifting gap. Production Plus has developed an enabling technology that closes the lifting gap by expand- ing the operating windows of natural fow and rod pumping, allowing the most hydrocarbons to be produced at the lowest cost. For all intents and purposes, gas lift is the exten- sion of the natural fow period where the injected gas makes up for the shortfall in produced gas to get the well above the critical rate required to natu- rally fow to surface. There are intrinsic benefts of gas lift. It is solids tolerant and manages gas interference. Deviated wells present no issues and corrosion is not a typical problem. Gas lift has the capacity to lift deep wells with a broad technical operating window. For oper- ators with infrastructure and equipment already in place, gas lift is an easy and obvious solution. Although gas lift is reliable and can handle high initial production declines, it is limited by high bottomhole pressures, restricting drawdown and production, comes with relatively high opex and has additional capex due to the installation of an additional lift system. Solution Production Plus discovered that the root cause of lifting inefficiency in horizontal wells is sluggy and inconsis- tent fow that presents as rap- idly fuctuating gas and liquid rates. This complex fuid fow behavior creates an environ- ment for gas interference, is the mechanism for transport- ing damaging solids and is a root cause for encouraging undesirable proppant pro- duction into the wellbore. These struggles of conven- tional pumping systems result in reduced effciency, poor runtime and reliability, excessive workover costs and limited drawdown. Gas lift is a fallback solution because it is tolerant to these struggles, although at a high cost. The company applied the benefts of gas lift, multiphase fow conditioning practices, research, feld testing and operator experience to develop an enabling technology, the HEAL System, that closes the lifting gap. The system lowers a section of production tubing into the bend and reduces tubing internal diameter to achieve critical velocity and fuid fow stabilization from the horizontal to the vertical above the kickoff point. In turn, a conventional artifcial lift system can be placed higher and out of the bend, in the vertical where it is designed to be most effcient and reliable. The system is a mechanical system comprised of three main components: a HEAL Seal, a sized reg- ulating string (SRS) and a HEAL Vortex Separator. The SRS has a sized internal diameter and length specifc to the reservoir pressures and anticipated production fuid rates over the well's life cycle. The system is designed to minimize operational risk and maximize reliability, with no moving parts and does not extend into the horizontal. Smooth, even, liquid fow to the pump offers exceptional conventional artifcial lift system reli- ability and pump effciency. With higher pump The cyclonic effect of the Vortex Separator effciently separates gas and solids from the liquid and protects the pump from damage. (Image courtesy of Production Plus Energy Services Inc.)

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