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Gas Lift Quiz

1. What is the most appropriate system for an offshore naturally flowing well?
Answer: a) Continuous
There are two main forms of gas lift: continuous and intermittent. Continuous gas lift
works by aerating the flow with bubbles of gas. Intermittent lift works by displacing
liquid in the tubing with a period blast of gas.
A well that flows continuously would not allow the well to be intermitted. Also, an
offshore environment usually has small volumes downstream in which to absorb surges
in production. This can cause severe problems if the slugs upset separator levels.
Onshore, long flowlines and large tanks are more common and can help handle slugging.

2. What does a two pen chart measure?


Answer: a) Production and Injection Pressure
The round, paper two pen charts used for gas lift surveillance and lift gas metering may
be used to measure several things. They can measure production and injection pressure.
They do not measure injection rate directly, but can record orifice meter differential. If
you found a three pen chart being used for gas lift surveillance it would have production
pressure, injection pressure and injection differential.
These charts are used on most intermittent wells. But are also important for continuous
gas lift wells where they show instability in the performance of the wells.
To use the charts for surveillance, look for periodic variations in casing pressure with
corresponding spikes in tubing pressure. This indicates simple instability.
In general the longer the period and more severe the variation, the more inefficient the
operation -- so the more production that can be gained by correcting the problem.
The round charts are being replaced by digital versions. With a proper computer system
especially in a large field automatic collection of 'two-pen' data can be a huge help to the
surveillance team.

3. What two things should be obtained with a flowing survey?


Answer: b) Welltest and annotated two-pen chart
Flowing pressure surveys are the best single means of surveillance available for gas lift
wells. These surveys report the well pressures at various depths. When plotted they reveal
the pressure gradients in the well which the analyst can use to derive the lift depth(s).
However, taken by themselves they may leave many questions unanswered. Many times
the flowing survey is delivered some time after the data was actually acquired.
The flowing survey may reflect production levels not consistent with the any known
welltest. Well pressures are related to production rates due to friction of the flowstream
on the tubing. The pressures are also related to the ratio of oil, water and gas which
determines the density of the production stream. When rates and ratios change and are
reflected in the pressure survey but not measured in a welltest, interpretation is not
possible. For that reason, a welltest should be taken concurrent with the flowing survey.
Also Survey pressures may not fall on realistic gradients. In that case it is likely that
certain pressures were measured when the pressure at all depths were changing. This can
happen when surface equipment malfunctions or is disturbed (e.g. a compressor goes offline). Without some notation the survey may be worthless if analyzed out of context.
For these reasons it is helpful to have the wireline crew annotate the two-pen chart during
the survey. Packaged together, the survey, the welltest and the annotated two-pen chart
give the analyst all the necessary information.
4. What is the most likely reason for disagreement between a flowing survey and a
production pressure model??
Answer: c) Poor gas measurement
By far the most common error in the oilfield is the lift gas measurement.
Since the common orifice meter is not directly calibrated. Instead it relies on a known and
agreed geometry -- the orifice size, proper bevelling, sharp edges, straight flow up and
downstream, etc.
Orifice meters (and others such as vortex and turbines meters for that matter) are subject
to damage and deterioration while in service. Common problems include: erosion of the
plate, coating of the plate with degraded glycol, hydrocarbons and pipe scale, plate to
meter seal failure, incorrect size of orifice. All of these problems are easily noticed and
corrected with proper preventive maintenance. Unfortunately, lift gas meters may not be
inspected without closing taking the lift gas injection line out of service. Consequently,
production will be deferred while the lift gas is shut-off. Since these meters are not part of

the fiscal metering system and no immediate effects of poor lift gas metering are visible
this is enough to delay or cancel proper maintenance of the meters in many fields.
Poor lift gas measurement degrades system optimisation capabilities as well as
surveillance of both wells and reservoirs
5. The system solution is?
Answer: c) The expected production rate and flowing bottomhole pressure
The system in this case refers to the system being modelled. In systems analysis (a.k.a.
nodal analyis) a point (node) is selected in the system. The equations for the upstream
and downstream portions of the system are each represented as curves. Where the curves
intersect is the system solution.
In well modelling, the system solution point is frequently taken at the bottom of the well.
A solution at this point gives the expected production rate and flowing bottomhole
pressure.
6. Injection pressure operated valves are also known as?
Answer: a) Pressure valves
The correct terminology is Injection Pressure Operated (IPO) valves. The other main
category of valve is Production Pressure Operated (PPO) valves, a.k.a. Fluid valves.
IPO valves are opened/closed primarily by changes in lift gas injection pressure.
PPO valves are opened/closed primarily by changes in production tubing pressure.
IPO valves are strongly preferred over PPO valves due to their simpler, higher capacity
construction and insensitivity to the (difficult to predict) tubing pressure in their design.
The exception is dual gas lift where two tubing strings are lifted using a common casing
annulus. In this case, PPO valves must be used in at least one string so that the two
strings of valves do not interfere with each other.
7. Pick the best valve type for a dual well with one string flowing?
Answer: b) IPO
IPO valves are always preferred. If one string of the dual well is flowing, then it cannot
interfere with the operation of the other string.
8. Pick the best valve type for a well producing into a common header so that it cannot be
tested alone?
Answer: b) IPO

Welltest data is most important for the design of PPO valves. This situation of a common
manifold means that this data quality will be poor. IPO valves will be more tolerant of
errors in tubing pressures.
9. The primary opening force in a PPO valve is?
Answer: b) production pressure applied to the bellows less stem area
The secondary opening force is supplied by the injection pressure acting on the stem.
This area is smaller (usually much smaller) than the bellows area.
A spring is sometimes used to provide the closing force.
10. Position the top valve?
Answer: b) Where at least 1380 kPa (200 psi) differential exists between the injection
pressure and the static pressure
In order to begin the unloading process a positive differential must exist between the
injection pressure and the static production pressure. That differential does not have to
occur at the top mandrel depth if it is not necessary to u-tube liquid to surface. If the
liquid in the tubing can fall into the reservoir (the normal case) then kick-off can occur at
any depth with sufficient differential. As a rule-of-thumb, this differential is given as a
minimum of 1380 kPa (200 psi) to account for dynamics during unloading.
11. The transfer pressure is the?
Answer: c) The highest production pressure where sufficient differential exists to
allow gas to enter at the next deeper valve.
The transfer pressure is top point along the unloading gradient in gas lift design.
Although the design lines are normally constructed using 'cookbook' techniques of simple
geometry, this pressure becomes the key to the design. The reason is missing from many
design manuals.

If the production pressure (normally the tubing pressure) is allowed to fall lower than the
transfer pressure then sufficient differential will exist for unloading transfer to occur. If
the pressure cannot fall below the transfer pressure at valve n (as would happen if the
production rate when producing from at valve n were too high) then the unloading
process would stop because lift gas would not enter the tubing at valve n+1.
Not every mandrel needs to contain a valve. Since the valves provide the path for gas to
enter the tubing, the mandrel depths are not relevant, so the answer is not a).
12. Which type of valve needs the largest pressure drop in an IPO valve design?
Answer: a) Large port
A mistake that many designers of IPO valves make is that the same pressure drop can be
used for any valve. The necessary pressure drop is related to the force provided by the
production pressure. This force is higher in larger-ported IPO valves due to the larger port
area. Too low of a pressure drop and tubing pressure changes may re-open the valve
during unloading causing lift instability.
13. The transfer pressure for a PPO valve should be checked against?
Answer: b) The expected production pressure
The equilibrium curve (the curve representing the pressure in the tubing for a
corresponding lift depth) defines the depth beyond which unloading cannot continue.
This is true for both IPO and PPO valves. However in PPO design the biggest worry is
re-opening of the valves by increases in tubing pressure. Therefore designs must be
checked against the expeced production pressure generated by the expected production
rate when lifting at the ultimate lift depth.
14. The transfer pressure for an IPO valve should be checked against?
Answer: c) The equilibrium curve pressure
The equilibrium curve (the curve representing the pressure in the tubing for a
corresponding lift depth) defines the depth beyond which unloading cannot continue.
This is true for both IPO and PPO valves. Unlike PPOs a properly designed IPO string
will remain shut even as the production pressure at the valves increases so no other
checks are necessary.
15. For IPO valves, injection pressure drop and ______________ help keep valves closed
as the well unloads.?
Answer: c) All of the above

In the most common circumstances the closing pressure in IPO valves is provided by
nitrogen pressure acting on the inside of the bellows. This force increases as the
temperature at the valve increases. This happens at the production rate increases with
increasing lift depth.
Generally also the production pressure at upper valves decreases below the transfer
pressure as the well unloads deeper.
16. The minimum spacing for the mandrels should be?
Answer: b) related to incremental well production
Many designers use a standard minimum spacing for the lower valves. This minimum
spacing is necessary since the design lines are converging with depth and will yield far
too close of a spacing otherwise.
However, the minimum spacing is related to the incremental well production that is
expected if each deeper lift depth were achieved. Obviously the incremental production
for a high GOR, low productivity well will be small. If the benefit of deeper mandrels is
only a few barrels per day, then why put in so many mandrels and have them very close
together? For a low GOR, high productivity well (especially with a low reservoir
pressure) the benefits of achieving injection at one mandrel deeper can be several
hundred barrels per day. In this case the mandrels are spaced too far apart.
17. If the equilibrium curve pressure at a valve is 2000 and the transfer pressure is 1900
you can conclude?
Answer: b) The well cannot unload to the next deeper valve
Since the equilibrium pressure defines the pressure in the tubing if lifting from a
particular valve depth, and that pressure is higher than the transfer pressure, there cannot
be sufficient differential at the next depth to continue to unload. This holds true for all
valve designs.
18. What should be the maximum rate of lift gas into a well if: the operating valve's
throughput capacity is 450, the economic optimum is 400, and the technical optimum is
800.?
Answer: b) 400
There is no need to inject more than the economic optimum since the object is (usually)
to make the most money.
19. A chart recorder shows the injection rate, the surface tubing pressure and the injection
pressure all dropping. What is this a symptom of?

Answer: c) Injection choke plugging


This would happen if the injection choke plugged. If that occurs the injection rate falls
since lift gas cannot be injected. The injection pressure drops since more gas will leave
the casing annulus than can enter through the plugged choke. The tubing pressure will
drop since the well will begin to die.
20. Gas lift orifice meters almost always read _____ than the actual rate. This tends to
________ the calculated (formation gas) GOR.?
Answer: b) lower / increase
Orifice meters work by relating pressure differential across a plate with a hole in it
through which the gas to be metered passes. Anything that disturbs the geometry of the
plate lowers that differential. This includes erosion of the plate, materials stuck to the
face of the plate, leakage around the plate and other damage. Therefore, the meters with
damage always read low.
Since formation gas is derived by subtracting lift gas from the total gas recovered during
a welltest, a low lift gas reading means a higher calculated formation gas.