ABSTRACT

The compression units installed on wellheads are a widely applied solution to mature gas wells with unloading problems. These are very reliable machines for manned well sites, requiring little maintenance, equipped with appropriate safety systems. However, for unmanned platforms and remote areas, it is mandatory to improve the Well Head Compressor units with a telemetry control system.

A dedicated R&D project has achieved such objective, through the following activities:

  • "Feasibility Study", to evaluate the technical parameters and manned operations to include in the new system.

  • "Telemetry Technology Evaluation", to choose the most functional telemetry technology, by assessing the proper data communication system.

  • "WHCompressor Unit Improvement", to identify the required modifications on the compressor unit, such as the replacement of existing components and the installation of a new control panel.

  • "Workshop Test and Certification", to certify the modified unit and verify its efficiency for the field test.

  • "Field Test", including an application in a remote and unmanned site, to restore production from a gas well.

The results obtained during the project are quite remarkable. The installation in the remote well area was successfully performed. At stable conditions, the technology demonstrated to be fully remotely manageable; telemetry confirmed to be an excellent tool for communication. The gas well restored its production and, thanks to the continuous monitoring and management of settings, the machine allowed the optimization and stabilization of the gas rate and liquid flow (doubling the well production capacity).

Therefore, the technology demonstrated that it can bring benefits in terms of wider application, well production increase, reduction of non-production time, simpler setting of parameters and unit operator costs minimization.

This paper explains how to update/modify a standard wellhead compressor unit, in order to install a telemetric remote control system and replace existing components, thus allowing use in unmanned sites.

INTRODUCTION

One of the main problems in gas wells is the so called "liquid loading", which seriously influences the effective exploitation of hydrocarbons reserves, by restricting and eventually ending well production, especially from depleting reservoirs, as water accumulates into the wellbore.

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