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SPE 29455

Optimum Plunger Lift Operation


J.O.A.Baruzziand F.J.S.Alhanati,PETROBRAS
SPEMMWJU8

owmmlm.~d~ ErIIIhnm, Inc.

mbpapofwn pmpamtlbrpmnntdh tiSw Pmdwtlon OpomthOSynpOdum Iml$ln OkbhOma Clly,OK,U.S.A.,


2-4April1*.

ABSTRACT INTRODUCTION

Operationalconditionsfor a plungerlift instahtion am An oit weUpnxking byconventionalplungerlifi (Fig. 1)


andyzedba aedonqualita dveobaervatiorison aredued _e@i*o_ti_ @od* flowtiti
experimental faeili~ and simulations with a simple keptclosed,Liquidaeeumukteaat CM~nm
.-—— ~th~
- — w1l SA
...- --
hydrodyndc model. WeUhead preaama continuously grow due togas
aecunmMonintubiia ndanmdus.Aftercertaint ime, the
Despitemanysimplificati~ modelpredictionsfor daily flowlineopensandaliquid alugisprodued tothesurfaee,
productionand pressurebehaviorat the wellkad agreedwell driven bygasexpanaion below it. The main role of the
wheneompamdwithmmmmmem inarealwell. plqk@titi~ ti@d_@&timti@wll.

Amethod isdeaerki topredict whenit ispossiileto Plungerlift is oneofthebestoptionsfor lowpmductMty,


have liquid aecudadon ordyinthe tubing during the high GLRweUa. Advantageaare zero input energy and
buildupperiod.Itisahownthat there isaminimum GLRto efficientremovalof pandin and aealedepositions.The main
maehthis desirablecondition. diaadwmtageisagreaterm@ement for continuous
monitoring.
%nsitivityamdyaiaforatypicalw ellshows that fixa
~~kkanO@mnnafWflowtime, and fbra Severalelectroniceontrolks for plunger lift wells are
&en-ifterflow timethe am&thepreasure -
thegreater -
the availableon the market. Usually, their logic eonaists of
-on. a@stingthebuildu
ptimeandtheafterf lowtimebasedonthe
meammmmtof plungerrisevelocityHowever,this maynot
PraetiealIeconunendm“ensare given on how toobtain alwaysbethebeatappmach.
optimumconditionsforatypicalinstaUation.
Goodeatbtes ofpoasiblewellpmductionratesamvery
impwtantwhenemkking liftakemativesforaf
xrtainwell.
Severalpredictionmodelshavebeen mggeaM.”*&ll None
of~however, has beenableto acemtdyauxnmtf bran
the phenomenainvolved.Points of eontmverayhave been
Rsfsmncu8nd~ atauJofpQMf mainly theliquidammulah “Onatthe bottom of the well

117
2 OPTIMUM PLUNGER LIFT OPERATION SPE 20455

during buildup,andtheflow of fluids areund thephmger Marcanoandchacidl developedanotherdynamicmodel


duringSlugproduction. fbrthefuU cycle. Liquid tWtbackthnn@ phm&rwas
consideredaccordingto Moweret al.gempiricaldata.
Inordertostudy severalaspectaofphmgerlift
operation
a. Wluu-v
—.11—1. ~WIWJ
---.s W 6.+:*,
~LUbJ
.-”
W=
b.il+
-~
-d a. &-l.
- +SW
u-.”-
*aws— ..* ml 12 Mfdlw+ul
. “o. w— q)@nMtc
— *6
. PU9111MP
. .. . .
hydm$namicmodelwtioped.m~~the liquidfallbackandphm&rrisevekxity.
resldts~poindngou timpommtfhctors thathavebeen
neglectedinthepast. Deapitethemany workacited abm%thepssibility of
liquidaccmmdatkminthetubingbelowt heplungerorinthe
LITERATURE REVIEW anmdusduringbuildup,andthecomqmW, havenotken
Wcussedyct. AfterWwtimeisalso an@ortantparammx
Eeesonet a12 developedempirical correlationsbasedon fOrwelloptimi@~but ithasnot beenconaidercdin the
datafmm145wella.ThelzraDhicspreaWedbythem areatill @narnicmodelsdeveloped.hthia*we*toc@
Uaedintheinduahy. - - Someoftheaepointa.

FoaaandGau13worked outaforcebalanceonthephmger LABORATORY OBSERVATIONS


to&ermine ~~~totiati@d
aluguptothealuke. Tllcyalsoworkedoutthevohmleofgas Aamatlacale~ “ -m wasassembled(Fig.
-~-cYcl%~the-~~oftimel= 2)inorderto makequalitativeokcrvadonaof fluidfiow(air
cyclebasedon eadmatesfor plungerrise and fall velocities andwater) through rhephmger,andl
iquid Split bctwecn
-~ tlxthemodel wueoMainedhman 85weU tubing andannulus during buildup.’fhetubes were 1.3m
dataSet. highand madeofpk?dglaas.ca singmwas 73mm and
tubing ID was 45 mm. An 8-liter-airreserwk Wasuaedto
UsingFoasand Gau12model,Hacksma4ahowedhowto makeup forthe smallanmdusvolume.Twocylindricalnylon
calculatethemininmmG
LRrequirc41foroperatiou tithe pl-domm long,werexwithclarances mlativeto
opdmumGI&thatyieldsmaximum -on. tubingofland21mn mspeck& (referredas#land#2
plungers).
Akcmml@ reworked Foss and Gau13 model
consideringa smallerplungerfallvelocityin the gas. Fluid flow through the plunger. It was clear that it is
un&aimbleto haveaperfect aealphmgerduri
ngbuiMup. A
1..ea6presWedadynamic model thatpredi* at each xplq-d-qda-ere~ of
time step,Caain@# pressure,plungerpositionand plunger Iiquidwouldaccmmdateaboveitjrendtinginanoverall less
Wkcity until the SlugSWfacea.The leaults iluiicatedlowr Cfktiveuse ofthephmger.
-P===dlower~~
prcvioua3Jstaticmethods. WhenmovingatlowvelocitiS plunger#luauallyhada
atablefil mofwate raroundi~ompying the Cleamnce
WhW Cond@cd qdments inareduced acale betweenthephmgeritselfandthet
ubingwall.Thisfilmacted
qpamtus to evaluateliquidfWM&. aaaaeal betweentheairbelow thephmger andthc water
aboveit. Whenthe atabilityof theliquidfihnwas lck%air
Roaina*developedadynanuc modeisumiar totbatof wouldpassaroud thephm@rthrou$i 10n@udind CblUidS,
Lca6, buttaking into account liquid fMlback He alao kttingsome
waterbehind.In~whenusingphmger#
co~~ts~~18m~~iW, tOWX@thS 2,ti*letim W*mfixti*ittidit -
predictionofflowpmmetembyhia model. veryunstable.
Moweret af.gconducteda laboratoryinvestigationon gas Itwasalsoobsewedthatwhenthe liquidalugrcacheathe
alippageandliquid fidlkkfbrcommemd “ plungers.They Sur&e, itauffera aatrong deceleratiw and aome liquid
pmpoaedamodified Foasand 0md3 model incorporating fWbackoccursintheformofawater jetthrough thephmger-
theaeefkcts. lllemode lwasthenadjustedto fit field data tubing clearance. Thiaatrong transient phmmmenais
ti4wella. prebablymlatedto *r-kdonamdpluq W ineltia
which cause p- pmtration into the s@. *, b
Avayand Evans10pmpoaeda dynamicmodel for the litemturemmmdationa thatpresaurelosaesatthe surface
entirecycle, incorporatingthe ~~.~their ahouldbekeptto aminimum(e.g.,by ebimdng curvesand
mode~they aasumedthateach cycleatartedasaoon as the other wellkad restrictions as muchas peaaible) were
phmgerarrivedatth
ebottom.

116
SPE 29455 J.O.A. SARUZZI AND F.J.S. ALHANATI 3

Liquid split between tubing and annulus during the plunger. It should be no@ however,that it is not
buildup. It was&servedthat the liquidsplit wasinfluenced desirableto have any liquid below the plunger when the
bytheairsplitbetween tubingandannulus,asweUasbythe flowline opens. This situation can be avoided if some
compressionof the air abovethe liquid due to liquid level conditionsarelne4asshown inthenextsection.
increax.
A morecomplexsituationoccurswherLduring plunger
~ ~= ~ts, ~ ini~ -don of - ~q~d upward moveme@t@skblow’dti@k above the
levelintubing andanmllus was first established.*the plunger.Itiswell repmtedthat somegaspasaeaupthrou@
flowlinevalve wascloaed andeither the liquid or the gas the plunger(FOSS and Gau13,Moweret ul.~. If the plunger
W@Ytiw wasopenedagain. kavesbaclcpartoftheliquidorig inallyabove itornot isa
@nt of contentin the literature.It is not clearif the amount
F~thewater supplyvalvewaskeptclosed andtheair ofliquidthat retmnedtothe bottoqreported as faUbackwSS
“-l., .7mJTe--
-wP’J ~ (P.1D A .\ ~,
\unA. 7 -).
*& *~ -m ~-~~ or -II- —.. thnn
— the
-. stmtnmt nf
—-—. -- Iim]id
.~.. that
— alreadv
——-,
P&dcally directed to the tubing, the liquid endedup sto”& existed belowthe plungerwhenthe flowlinewas opened.If
Onlyinthe armulus.ontheotherhamz Wklthe air was the plungerleavesbackpart of the liquidoriginallyaboveig
.- --.-2 L. as——-. .19 ●UIC1l
L- --- ..--%:l:k. & ●L.* 4k—
directedtotheammhla,i iquidended Upstoredordy in the U WLUI WY MU-1 f=J W.-, UIUZ ~UllSLy = ML WIG

tubing. Thiscan reexplained as aresult ofairpmssure are regions around the plunger with liquid moving more
differencesbetweentubing andarmulus due todifkmnt air slowlytbanitandotheronea withgasnwingfaster.
supplies.Thisyieldsa practicalrecommend“Onthathas not
qqx+amdinthelitemtm yetthetubii endahould be Requirements to have liquid accumulation only in
positionedbelowthe perforations(the well known “natural the tubing dudng buildup. Oncethe roleoftheplungeris
anchor”imtahtion). Whenthis is not possible,a static gas to avoidor to mitigatefWbackof liquid abovethe plunger,
separatorshouldbe ~ thephmgerisof
littleuseifliquid amdatesonly in the
annulusdmingbuildup.In AppendixAweshowthatthemis
Inanother setof ~@**mlY-* a~ here calledGLRO,that comapondsto a situationin
closedandthewatersupplyvalveopened(GLR= 0), Someof which liquid isaccmnulated onlyintbe tubing and gasis
the water previouslypresent in the tubing was always acmmked onlyinthe ammlusdmingbuildtqkThis GLR*
displacedtotheammlus. -f’hiseccmm dbecauaethe air is givenapproximately ~
compressionin the tubing relatedto the liquidlevelgrov@
wasgreaterthantheair compressionin the ammlus(sincethe
airvolmne titietubingwasder than theairvolmnein GLR”= R.l + ‘:g
pg .A@R.~
“4*L-M .....................(1)
thearmuhls).
Ifawell hasa GLRthatis lowerthan GLR*,thenliquid
DISCUSSION Willaccmnulateintheammlu% becausethe inclwse of the
ammlargaspreasureisnotenough toe@ibmtethe increase
Fluid flow through the plunger. Commerckl plungers of the hydrostadc pressure in the tubing. Thus, GLR”
amnotaperfect seal,andshouldnotbe whilefidlingfiorntop representsa minimumGLRto haveliquidaccumulationonly
to bottomor, as explainedpreviously,while mting at the in thetubii.
tubingbottomduringbuildup.
KamU~aGR@tiGR*,o=tidfo= all
With the simple experimentsconduct@ it was not aamiakd gastothe ammlusinorder to have liquid
possibleto clar& manypointsregardingfluid flowthrough accumulationonlyin thetubing.
theplungerthat arenotconclusivefkxnthe literature.
Ifawell hasa GLRhigher than GLR*,some gas will
ourmlders@d@ isthatwhen there is onlyone phase accumulatein the tubii. otherwise, the imxeaaeof gas
(liquidorgas)around theplunger thisphasepasses through ~tithe-dwhdbe~ter~theti~of
i~dragging itupwards.Thisisthecasewhen someliquidis hydrostaticpreamrein thetubii.
belowthephmgeratthemomentthef lowlineopemx thereis
only liquidaroundthe plunger.Whilethe gas bubblewhich Itisckarthentheiq ortam of keepingcontrolof the
penetratestheliquidbelowthe phmgcrhasnot
machedityetj amountofgasthatgm intothetubing.l’hebes tstrategyisto
liquid passesup throughthe plunger.A greateramountof forceall mmcimedgastogointo theammlus.l’his way,the
liqoidwill passifthe phmgerhasa hole oragmater gas-tktiwtibe~ti~for~
c1earance. This descriptionis coherentwith ex@m@al equilibriumThe tubingend shouldbe positionedbelowthe
results of White7and Rosinas. What occurs, ~isa Qaa aemrator
nerfhratinns Qr ~ S@tic - ahmddheused.
=—.-----—, --. —----—-—--- ____
“negativeIhUback”,since liquid flowsfrom belowto above

119
4 OPTIMUM PLUNGER LIPT OPERATION SPE 20455

Fig.3shows thernininmmGLRgiven byl?q. lasa phmgerisap


erfkctseal duringitsupward movema, c) in
functionof tubing depth assumingR~l = O, liquid specific the ftowline,liquidflowsas a pistonjwithoutgaspmelmtiom
gravity of 0.94, gas specificgravity of 0.70 and average d)asteady state lPRisvalid ateachtransient time ~,e)
annularpremureof300 pig for somecombinationsoftubing thermalgradientis conatan~t) gasfrictionis neglectedin the
andcasing sizes. Fig.3also showstheclassicd “ruleof annulm,g) gasaccelerationis neglected.
thumb”of”400sct2bbl perl,oooft of lift” -in the
... la -- .%. -2,
asmecsumawu—-..> —.——--—
.
minimumG’LRtoes-llti m-
1m
-Scl U1
& ui~wmlw
.1A-2. UUu
. . ..Ia%...
WUUMUJ
.w~d.l
UIAAt3n—
-.4A..
Wquauwua
Uemture””

byphmgerlift.NotethatinmostcasestheG LRgivenbysuch thatresults tlornthe modetwere soh’edusing a numerical


“ruleofthumb”is lowerthantheGLRgivenbyEq. 1. method.For detailedmodel developmentand solutionthe
readeris mdkrredto Baruzzil’.
There@ed GLRforthestug to flowfkomthebottomof
thewell tothesurface may be higheror lower than the Comparison with fisld dsts. Model was verified against
requiredGLR fix liquid accumulationonly in the tubing.
~~ -+*11 ~ mm ~~ with the first
nhenmnenn
=-.-... -—- n (flow).
,—...,, —- —.. neelected
and have the seumd
—.=-. .-——- one (snlit)
----——-—- ,-=—-,
its importanceto the method ticiency. Table 1
despite
comparesthesemquimdGLRs. Flowline
length 450 m
FlowlineID 2.900 in.
Tubingenddepth 1,176 m
Tabk 1- Chnparison of requkedGLRfor the slug to 1,165 m
z:rins w
flowtothe surke(TmssandGau13)andfor liquidto 1.995 in,
mmmlste fib in
.-. tnhinc
. . . . /RI 1)
., . 1
.,---(NM m * WA . .. . *m* in.
———. “.-J ,- - —r ..—.
luomg oil A.J 13
? CasingID 4.950 in.
REQUIREDGLR (std.m3/m3)
Perfomtionsdepth 1,134-70m
TBG. FORSLUGTO FORLIQUID TO 0.00085 ft
Pipewallroughness
SIZE FLOWTOTHE ACCUMULATE
Separatorpresmre 70
SURFACE @ INTUBING ONLY~) p
BSW o
5$2*CSG. T CSG. Oil APIgravity 45 -
23/3n 264 401 741 waterspecificgravity 1.07 -
‘ 27/3n 207 230 458 Gasspecificgmvity 0.75 -
‘ 3 Inn 197 116 267 949 mVm3
(a) bkdatod Wilhsqmatccplwsure ofloopcig Reaemir staticpressum@l,l17m 873 psig
(’w ~w~aq-k premu’aor300 psi& Downholepmssure@ 1,152m 370 paig
we PdYofo.9, mdsoaqxuiac gmvityoro.72 Reductionrateat downholepressure 7.4 m3/d
Plunlmrmass 3.6 h
Casi-press. toopentheftowline 366 P&g
If someoneproduce3a plunger lift well without any Afterflowtime 54 s
attentiontotheliquid splitatthebottomj thenonecangelto
al.
. Cxlwllc
Ulc -—- --.*:A-- - -—A..J-- AL---11
WIUUUUU ul prww~ Ulc Well-2.C-.* ---
WILUUUL Uuy

liquid above the phmger, with 10SSin etHciency.As the Table3- RealweUmeammnatsandmodelpredictions.
minimum GLRgiven by Eq. lis very sensitive to the
annulus/tubii arearatio,an a&quateselectionof tubingsize ITEM RaAL MODEL.
WELL PREDICTION
canhelpsat@ thisminimmnGLR.
Frcdwtion rate (m3/d) 7.4 7.5
Cycleperiod(s) 907 1165
HYDRODYNAMIC MODEL
slug surfacearrivaltime(s) 128 116
Plmlgersurike arrivaltime(s) 171 120
Forthemodel developmen~itwasassmned that the Avg.phmgerupwardvelocity(fthnin) 1,341 1,937
flowlinewasopenedwhenthemainghd presaummacheda Flowlineclosingtime(s) 225 173
~tiUe, tiit WaS@t OPenforSOm time after the Builduptime (S) 682 992
phmgerreac
hedthesurfwx.lkmodelemployed massand Minimumednghmd pressure(pa@ 303 276
momentumbalanceequations.Thebmmdaryconditionswere Maximumtubhgkd pressure(pig) 342 316
sepamtorpressure(when flowlinevalve was opened)and Minimumtubingheadpressure(pa@ 303 276
reservoirIPR

The main ammnptionsin modeldevelopmentswere a)


duringbuildup,liquidaccumulatesin the tubing O*, b) the

120
SPE 29455 J.O.A. BARUZZI AND F.J.S. ALHANATI 5

Analysisof Table 3 and Fig. 4 showsthat the model The followingcommentsaboutFig.5areofrelevanc%a)


predictedthe productionrate vay well, whereaswellhead ~P~d-m*tithe reservoir
~ hada reasonableagreement. aresymmehic,aseqected. b)whenthefkwline isopex@
the liquidslug atdlkrsa strongaccelerationuntil it reachesa
MODEL RESULTS maximum vetoci~, casinghead preaaum kreaaes and
tubingheadpreasuminatantaneody demaaes andmmains
To help a better mukmtanding of the phenomens almctstequaltothesepamtor prcsaum.c) Astheslugmoves
invow let us refer to Fig. 5. It shows the behaviorof upwards, its velocity Contind ~, ~
casingheadpmssme, tubingheadpreasum,position of Slug presamedmeasea skwerand sloweruntil it remainsatan
fkont(meaaumdfkomthe~ negativevalues in the almostconstantvak ThisprmaureStabilizationOccurswhen
tubing and positivevalues in the flowtine),slug veloci& the increaseofVolmnebelowtheplungeris ildlyCompaed
(flowlinevelocity after slug arrival to the Smfhce)and bygaspeon-ti~. d)when the slug
Producdonrate, as obtaind with the MO@ fm an example reaches theeit is submitted again to astrong
wellwithdata givenin Table4. Caah@adpmssure toopen accekrationuntilitis completelypmducedto the ftowline
tiflw~~aat350@gti-w-wmat (theabrupt decreaseinslugvekityha ppensbecause the
200s. Tabk 5 mmmarks modelresults. flowline amais2tirnea greater than the tubing areax
~~ remainsalmoatconatant(tbr the same
reaaondkcuawd bcfore)andtuM@ead presaumatmngly
Tabk 4- Examplewelldata. kreasesdue topmsaurelosacainthe flowline.e)whenthe
phmgerrcachestheaurfiwe,thentheslugvelecity aml the
Flowlinelength 1,000 m
FlowlineID Wellkadpremums ~--tidug “
2.900 in.
Tubingdepth 1,200 m reacheathesepar@r. f) Afkrth@ theayatempressumblow
TubingID 1.995 in. downkeepson butatgrcater rate&becausekkpremm ia
TubingOD 2.375 in. lower. g)whenthe flowline isclathsn mbingkd
casing ID 4.950 in. kreaaea inatantaneody, with a
Prorations depth 1,200 m ~~~.m-m-kqM
Pipewaurougkas 0.00085ft ~akrgeamount ofgasthat almoatk@bnem@ must
Separatorprsssm 100 psig pass ftomthe ammlusto thetubingtomect pressure
BSW 50 0/0 a@briumattubing bouorn.h) FiMIy, wcUheadpmssms
~q #-P~ ~~:ty 45 - continuouslyincmaaeduring buikhlp,untiltheflowlineis
Waterspecificgravily 1.07 - Onceagainm stardnganewcycle.
Gasspecificgravity 0.75
GLR 650 >/l& Effec@ of cadnghoad pressure to open the flowline
Reaerv&Staticpressure 751 psig andaftetflow time. Fig,6gives thepmduction rateofthe
Flowingdownholepressure 498 psig examplewellwith datain Table 4 asa fumtion of the
Pmductionmteatdownholepremure 15 dld afterflowtimeand thec@n@eadpremure to open the
Plungermass 3.6 & flowiine.
Plungeraveragefallvelocityin gas 2,000 fthnin
i. ..
Fhmger~ railVeiociiiin iiquid i72 Mnin Foraconwant afterflowtime, theiower the casinghead
‘“ — *IUkb
r-” w.~— . . .. *& ~mte t~ ~~_@:.on m_*,
dlwtolowerremvoir ~.
Tabk 5- Examplewellmodelmaults.
Foracomxant cdngkad pmssumto openthe flowline
Cycleperiod 860s thereisanoptimum afterflowtime, atwhich theproduction
Siugaiufacearrivaltime 247 s rateismmdnmm.Toexpkin thiaresuk ktuamfer to Fig. 7,
Plungeraurfkearrivaltime 263 s which showsthe behavimofcas@ead pmsaureandshlg
.Avernue
----- nhwcr
~.— Imqgrd
-.. @@& 900 .M@n -V”*5
“ . Uuuu&
A.+.” au
. . -A. 4.
Uuuu up..
k*V* .* ~
w
m~
Shlgaepamtmarrivalt
ime 378 s pn?ametoopenthe50wline(350p@d foraeveral
Flowline
closetime 462 s afterflow
times(o, 100, 200,300and400s). As aftcrftow
-- 398 s timeinmasca, the buildup timealaoincmae& theqdeis
Phmgeroveraufjdl
time 227 s longer,theshlg kngthincmae& thsslug upwardvelocity
slug lengthin tubing 104 m
Producdonrate 21.0 n#/d ~dthe~~(-**-
notrcachthemrfam)deueamakmr.Mua
lly,brawrtain
afbrftowdmethednghead premuremayeven-
becausetheshlgis
notihsteneughtoempenme fbrthe

121
e OPTIMUM PLUNGER LIFT OPERATION SPE 29455

additional gas from the reservoir. So, aik a certain physicallydirectedto the anmdus,as whenusing a natural
/,... &.....-\
{upullIluu)
.Aa —. A—. .L. —.-— -- ---.——.
UmGllluw Ulnc, me average ~~ gasanchor.
Startskmasing andtheproduction mte fromtheresewoir
-~ beclmseofinmadng ~ir 3-Fora~@_p~to~&flmtim,k
“a~. isanoptimum afterflowtime, and fixa givenafterflowtime
Uwlowerthepmssumt he_theptim. Thereis,
TolowercasingheadpreMUreS toopentheflowlinedonot however,a minimumpressurefor well operatio%because
~ amspond higher-on ratea(althoughthis builduptimemustbe highenoughtoaUowpl~_to
isageneral trend)if not ammated toanadequate afterflow thebottombeforeflowlineopen@ andphmgervelocitymust
time. notvanishbeforeanivingat the surface.
Fig. 8 showsthebehaviorofcasingheadpnssure and slug 4- Electroniccontrollersshouldalwaystryto operatewiththe
- Wocity, during an entire oycle, fix a constant minimumpossiblemsin@ad~ andnotonlywithan
aflerllowtime(200s)andforti~~to adequateplungervelocity,
openthe flowline(304,350,400 and 450pig). Fig. 8 shows
thatwhcn theeaa@kad presaufe~, the cycletime, 5- Amhtiwly~le _~tiom~titi~@, is
the Stug length and the dug velocityalso inemase. slug enough toeatimate wellproduction l’ateaand to perform
wskx!ityis
notveryse naitiveto~~h sensitivity analysis on control pammcmm (mainakd
. ——--——
~g~letendtocompemmte fbrkmasing ~tomtheflowhandafterfl owtime).
~ pmssuma.Slugvelocityis muchmoresensitiveto
afterflowtime (Fig. 7), beoauseto longer afterflowtimes 6- Inexperkntal atudiesofliquid - thevolumeof
eorreqxmdlongeroycles,longerslugsand lowervelocities. liquidbelowthe phm&r When the fkwline opens shouldbe
_~ti_.Exeasive pressurelossesat
~~ ~~g~.~ *&~~* ~-~e% ~*ur& .L---9*S--S——
W m~ S.-.-A.. resldt&andmusc”beavOided,
mayalswrtme
oontrollersshould-~tom withthemininmm
possiile C@n@eadpresmre, and ~ C)* with -@ NOMENCLATURE
phmgervelocity.
SYN!EOL QWWT!T?’ TuJx-
Fii.6shows anopc@~tiXtiti~d1~
A Cress sectional area m2
Iirnitsycatled mapecd@ as “Q.Max.”and “Liq.l%g.”.The
“Q.hfax.”upper limit &era to a oonditionin which the g acceleration of gravity In&

flowlineisopenedas soonmthepl~tihti GLR gasliquidratio std m3/m3


ofthe-yieldingahumeom~~tti h position m
ID pipeinside&meter m
eontimvekcityof thepl~tithe~dk
the liquid ~ Wia L tubing length
—.=. ‘lh
. -=. w ------
1~ limit
—. &
---- *.
w .. ~x-
--~”~ :.
~

whichit is still possibleto haveliquid accumuMononly in mass :


the tubingduringbuildup.Althoughit is passiile to operate : gas molecular weight kghnol
below this line, tiquidwxddtik~ti in the OD pipeoutaidediamter
annutw as explainedpreviously. P :
volumetricflowrate m%
CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS ; unkrsalgasoonstant N.m/(mol.K)
Rd - gas Volubility
in
l. Itisnot tiletika_tipl~ during the liquid stdmVm3
buildup,becauaethisobstmusthemd~dti~ t time
toabovethephmger. T :
z gas compressibility factor -
2- Tokeliqtid ~tiono@inb tubing during P density IKgld
builduptweonditionsare~a)kwell-ha
minimumGLR,~@Y~bYEq.l, SUESCRIPTS
whichdepends
onfluidproperd~-us~,~ ~~-m
totubingama ratio.This~is, k____ bh bottmhole
those ealedated bythende t3fthumb130f400 acfW per f% tubing4asing ammhls
1 (M)
_, --- 1? nf lill m wdi 9=* Rm. .A F-.13 nudal.
—,
k\
WJUE~
41.. -“ g 13as
‘-- —”-”. -W UJA - ——
thatenters thetubing mustnoth~. This condition
1 iiquid
howeveram beeasilymtisfkd ifthe~tithe~h r
tg =

. ----
1A?
SPE 29455 J.O.A. SARUZZI AND F,J.S. ALHANATI 7

SUPERSCRIPTS L@ with Plunger”,paper SPE 26556 presentedat the


1993SPEAnnualTechnical(hfcmnm and &hibltiOfl)
SC Smndard C4mditions
ofpressureandtemperature Houstou IX, Oct. 3-6.
— d~ 13. Fergusou P. L.and Beaurega@E.:”How to Tellif
PlungerLift Will Workin YourWell”,World Oil (Aug.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
1985)33-36.
The authorswish to thank PETROBIW3for permksion 14. _ J. O. A.: “Mode@m do Plunger Lift
topublishthispaper. Comenciomd”, MS Theais, Faiddadc dc Er@nhwia
Mec$nica dauniversidade Ea@dualdec!ampina&
REFERENCES ~, SP,Brad (1994).
1. Beaure~ E. M. and FersusonjP. L.: “HowPlunger APPENDIX A
Lift Alkts Reduction”,Pet. Eng. Int/. (July1981)143-
158. Suppoaeliquidaccumulatea
odyinthetubing. T@ailcr
aarnall timeinten@ the variationof Iiqaidlevel ambe
2. BeeaonjC. M., Knox D, G. and Stoddanl J. H.: “Short-
Cut Design Calculationsand Field Applicationsof the ~=:
.Plmwer
.-= Iii+ .MetluMI
--- .. — of
. . f)il
--- Pnductinnw
- .--—--- ---- .P~.&oJ~.rn
, 7%e
Ekgineer (June-Oot.1958). &=!z@ ............................................... (Al)
3. F- D. L. awl Gaul, R B.: Tlunger-lift Pertbnnance
4?
Criteria with OperatingExperience- Ventura Avenue Wtiti: variationofliquidlevclinthetubing(m)
Field”,Drill.&Pd. Proc.,API(1%5) 124-140. qb : maervoirliquidproducdonrate(m%)
4. HackmuLJ. D.: “Users’Guideto Pmdictin8PlungerLift At: timeinternal(s)
.lkkmmxn,
..”. — ~ =a——
—*A @
. . thz
— 1079
... . T-SC
.— T-h
.-.. A.-.
s
crms sectionareaoftubing(m*)
U. !hthm&m %troleumShortCourse,LubbockTX.
5. AkcromMe. B.: Tlmmr Lift”, I%e Technolom of
&$ Medw&, ‘Vol. 2b; K. E. BrownIed.j,
Artijiciol
%nnWellPubl.Co.,‘IMsa(1980)483-518.
&@ =Pl”g.ti =Pl”g”y ... ..... ... ..... . (442)
6.4 J. F.: -C Adysis of Plunger Lift
Operations”,J~(Nov. 1982) 2617-2629.
wb/q&: variationoftubii hydms@opresmre (Pa)
7. White, G. W.: ‘Cmnbine Gas L@ Plungersto Inaeaae
Pmdwtion Rate’, World Oil (Nov. 1982)69-74. PI : liquid densi& (k/#)
g. g?? ~.: ‘-A- ~h_@ ~f p&gg ~f -ecu, MS g: accelerationofgravity(m/#)
_ The Univemity
ofl%hatTu@OK (1983).
9, Mower, L. N., ~ J. F., Beatqa@ E. andFergusmLP.
}::”Defir@ tlw Chamtemh . .csandnrhrmmmofGas
—. .-. .
MI Phmge#, paper WE 14344 prescmW ai the i985
SPEAnnual Tedmical Cdhence and Exhibition Las
Vegas,NV,Sept.22-25.
10. Avery,D. J. and Evans,R D.: “DesignOptimi@on of Amq3.R.?
PlungerLift Systems”,paperSPE 17585pmwntcdat tk AK. ............................... (A3)
Am.L,M
--
intemsdonaihkeiingoni%rokmn Engindng m-the
SPE,T-Q ~ Nov.1+ 1988. —
where, Apq :variationofavcrageaomdusgasprwsure(pa)
lLMarcano, Land Chac@J.:”Mdamah..clxsignof
API%:Variath of thesmmhIsgasmass(
kg)
Conve@ionalPlunger Lift IrMMations’, ppcr SPE
23682preaemdatthe SscondLatinAmuicanPetroleum
-.
--~m~ .. ~(.)
::. mkrsal gasconamn?( 8.314N.m@nol.K))
E~ COnknceofthe sPE, Caraca&v-
Mamll8-11,1992. T: -*P~K)
Am: Cromseotion maofcasing-tubing ammlus
12. Hemamk, A., Marcano,L., Caicedo,S. and CdxmarW (d)
R: “LiquidFall-BackMewmaaa in InteHnittentGas L: __(m)
8 OPTIMUM PLUNGER LIPT OPERATION SPE 29455

M: gw molecularweight(l@nOl)

Thevariationofthegaamaasinthc well,duringthcaalne
timeintervai, isrciated tothereaervoir liquid flowmteby
GLRand R~l;
Am =q& .(GLR-R#@ .At ....................(A4)

Whcfqhn: variationoftheweilgaamaaa(kg)
GLR: gaMiquidratio(atdm3/m3)
R~l : ~ w ml~i~tY in ~q~d at T e ~
(atdm3/nP)
~: gasdcnaityat atandmdeonditiona(kg/m3)

inapartkuk actuationin which all amciakl


aaamdaw intlwannuluuhe nAnI#m.subaig
Eq. A4intoEq. A3,wek


Q% ~ qk”(GM-R.l)”@ ”&” F.R.~ ,,e.
........(m)
/&.L.M

inaea3e inthetubing andintheammh13


xRx~m,wh~tik-d&@b,

&cg,bh = @fg,bh . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (A6)

wb Apqp: -on Of~UhIS~ * hIb@UId

Ap@h: %~of*ipKS&W’C~h3CId@@

Theictt 3idcofEq.A6canbe appmdma@dbyEq M.


Ignoring* companion of thegalli nthetubil lgduetothe
liquidlcvcietheright sideofEq. A6iagivcni)y Eq.
.AQ. I%MS
-—
~cr
-—
MWIW “—”y--w
-—
einmlifkstinn. it *II-.
. . -v-w...

*L-M
GLR”=R#’”g”4
~.~ +.R.? ““””-”””’”””””””””(AV

w~GIJZ* :~atwhichiiquidis ammmkwd Oniyin


thctubingand gaaiaacclmluiatcdoniyinthe
annuiuaduringbuildup.

S1 Metric Conversion Units

ft X 3.048* E-Ol=m
in. x 2.54* E+OO=cm
psi x 6.894757 EHO = kPa
\ “ -il-

124
Q
SPE 29455 J.O.A. SARUZZI AND F.J.S. ALHANATI

4P-’”
‘-L II 11/-
J=J!J_ 13---

r 1[

Figure 1 -TypicalplungerliftinmlMon’.

I
air roserwir

Figure 2- Schunaic diagram ofexperimentalappmtua.

125
10 OPTIMUM PLUNGER LIFT OPERATION SPE 29455

2000 I 1 1 1 1 I 1 1 1 1 I 1 1 1 1 I 1 1 1 1 I I t 1 1 I 1 1 1 1 I
/
t’ubingand Casing SizcS
~ 2318n and 7“

~ 27N’and7m

-B- 3 1/2”and 7“
~ 2318” and 5 1/2”
~ 2 7/8’ and5 M“
~ 31/2” and51/2”

ETubing ID
)

2 3/3”: 1.995”
2 7/3”: 2.441”
3 In”: 2.992”

casing m
5 U2% 4.950” 1
T :6.366”

./’ Nboflblbk.cmmdJKtnHmlylkT#u&t
-il?qmkW&WylkqlummdBWrgl16~

o T I I 1 I
I I I 1 I I T I I I I 1 1 I 1
I
I I I 1
I
I I 1 I

0 500 1000 1500 2000 2500 3000


T1lRINC 3MWTU fm)
------- --- --- \-f

Fignre3-Minimum GLRneceaam
——- —.__--_, to
. . have
-_, - Iinuid
_ ~—. atxumuhtinn
—. ——--- nnlv
-— J in the tnhinc dwinu
— — —-- —-
Imikhm
-—-,
smnrdinu
—.—
to E@. 1.

126
SPE 29455 J.O.A, BARUZZI AND F.J.S. ALHANATI 11

0 100200300 4OO5OO6OO7W 80090010001100


400 I 1 I 1 1, ,1,11111111111111111111111 illlllllllllllliillli’11’

J
u)

II
A 2oo–
9
B
E
100–
3
= :

4:~
1 -- -* [
---
. ---- ---- --&*--
~~ 300 y
/
U i t
;
1?
/’
1! I
A 200 \ 1’
1’
I 1’
2 A ‘1
\
Y \ 1’
\
H-1 \l’ I
‘\ ,
E I
100
i L_’j’ ~

o I I 1 l“’’I’’I
’’1’ ’’’1 ’’’’ 1’’’ ’1’’”1 “’’1 ’’’’ 1’’’ ’1 ’’’’1”
o 1(M) 200 300 400 500 600 700 800 900 1000 1100
TIME (s)

Figure4-Comparison ofmeasumdsndpredictcdwellhesdpmssuresforsnentirecycle<

127
siugVeiocity
“ SiUg
FrontPosition ‘hbingiiead PR9sUI’G (Mngkad -UIW
Rwervoir production Rate
(row) (~o , (m) (@ill O@

0
I * t , I 1
1 I , I , i , I , 1,,,1,11111 1, I , I , , , , 1, ,0,,,,1,1 > , t , , I , , , , 1 , 0
o

:5
s:

M +
o
0
.... . .. .. ... .. ... . .... ..... ...... . ..... .... .. .... ........ .... ... . . ... .. . . ..-..—
. . .. .............. ........ ............... . ....... .... . ......... ..... ..... .. .... .. .. .................. ....... . .. .... . . .. . ...
.. . . ........... ....... .... .... ......... .T. . .. . . ..-..-..—.

I.......
5- -

. . ...... ................... . . . . .. . . . .. .................... .. ..-


........ ........ .. . .. .. .. . ..........................
+
:~-

1% . .. .. . .. .......................................... . .......-
. ... ................ . . .. . ...............................................................
g m 1
( +
$ :
.

-g
E :

4 :3
0
0

00
0
0
!2 :

1 I , I r
I I , 1 > I , I , I , I
SPE 29455 J.O.A. BARUZZI AND F.J.S. ALHANATI 13

30
I I 1 I I I I I I I I I I I I I t I # I I

1-.-AOF—.- —-——————.———.—————————————————--. —-——————I


Q.Msx.: limit condition for which the flowline is opened
ss soon as the plunger reaches the bottom.
t
28
Liq.Tbg.:limitconditionforwhich it is still possible to have
liquid acraunulstiononly in the tubing during build-u .

~[
26

20

18

16

~,,,,,tt,,l,,,,,i I

o 100 200 300 400


~ERFLOW TIME (s)

Figorc6- Productionrateofthe exatnplewellas functionofcashtghta dpmssumt oopentheflowlineand


afterflow*.
.

14 OPTIMUM PLUNGER LIFT OPERATION SPE 29455

0 200 400 600 800 1000 1200

400

350

300

250
20

~~ toopenthefloutIH 3sopdg

Afterflmrlimed —-w-Mdw-
15 0s (40 m dug)

------- 100s (72 m slug)


.200 ~ flAA
(LW
- ..l . ...\
111 alu~]

-–––- 300s (129mshg)


10
-------- 400s (150m slug)

0
o 200 400 600 800 1000 1200
TIME (s)

130
. .,,..,.-, {~
SPE 29455 J.o.A. BARiU~ ANU F.d.S. ALHANA II

0 200 400 600 800 1000 1200 1400


I I I I I I I I I I i
500

.
\\ ,/’
\\ / /’
\ ,/ /““
‘. -.
,/
‘\\
“’..‘...., ,/’ .’”’
\ / ,...”..“
‘-----%___ \ \ /
...$., \ \ \ / / ,./.”...’
j .-., /‘ .’...”’ ~
...... \\\ / / .“”
..........
..........................,,, ..,\ / 0- ,,0” ,...,
.,,...
...

250
20

Amrllwumams

—.—A .— -..— &-l-


~ ~ “ “1--“- —“-
=d--P--w~w-
15 — 304 psig ( 89 m dug)

................ 350 p8i8 (104 m dug)

-------- 400 psi8 (120 m dug)

----- 450 Ptig (137 m SW


10

0 f I I I I i I 1 I 1
I I
I
0 200 400 600 800 1000 1200 1400

131