Problematic performance of traditional pumping equipment in unconventional plays has led to an increased focus on obtaining a better understanding of multiphase flow behavior through horizontal wellbores. A collaborative test campaign was initiated so that improved production technologies may be developed. Measurement of the impact of gas slugging on lift system performance was identified as the primary goal of the testing.

A test well with significant gas slugging was produced using the latest ESP gas handling technology introduced to the industry. The system was fitted with two sets of hi-fidelity flow measurement sensors, capable of measuring gas holdup and flow regime in real-time as the well was produced. The first set of flow sensors was installed below the pump, and the second set of sensors was installed around the heel of the well extending into the lateral portion. A subsequent test was conducted with experimental completion hardware designed to avoid the uptake of gas slugs.

The production results and lessons learned from lifting oil and gas from an unconventional well will be discussed, including gas lift, newly introduced gas handling ESP technology, and experimental ESP completion hardware.

New understanding of fundamental multiphase flow behavior through horizontal wells will be presented. Phenomena observed in laboratory experiments will be compared against field test measurements. Analytical models for characterizing gas slugging behavior, calibrated against field test measurements, will be discussed.

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