Offshore North West Java is a mature oil and gas field located in northern part of Java Island. Most of the wells are producing with gas lift system from the abundant source of gas in the field. Through forty years production life of this field, the conventional gas lift spacing design is found out to be not optimum. Many unloaders at the upper part of the completion aren't necessary during its production stage and usually will be changed into a dummy valve during gas lift valve redesign (GLVR) operation. These excessive number of valves may cause many problems, such as limited gas that can be delivered through the orifice, higher probability of valve and installation failure, and many more. These conditions will lead to un-optimum production rate.

A new innovative method of gas lift spacing design is proposed to solve the problem by optimizing the number of gas lift valves installed in the completion. In conventional gas lift spacing design, completion fluid level is often represented static at the surface using a static fluid model. In fact, completion fluid level tends to change over time due to fluid infiltration into the reservoir. By emphasizing this fluid infiltration into the reservoir, equalized method is created. This equalized method alters the spacing design starting depth from the surface into the depth which equalized condition between bottom hole and reservoir pressure is reached. By combining Darcy' law and hydrostatic pressure formula, a new equation is derived. It is able to forecast the time needed to reach the equalized depth and also the depth itself.

To verify the newly developed method, a case study of Well-X is presented. To enhance Well-X production, a gas lift system is required. Using a predetermined compressor pressure, the conventional gas lift spacing method yields a total of eight unloader valves. In contrast, the equalized method reduced the number of unloader valves required to a total of four. The example has proved that the equalized method is not only able to reduce the chance of failure in the installation, but it also results in a higher gas lift operating pressure, higher gas injection capacity, and in the end, 5.6% of higher oil production rates obtained compared to the conventional method.

The novelty of this paper is an optimized gas lift spacing design by using the equalized method. For further implementation, this method can be applied in most oil well cases with gas lift system, for a better economic profit.

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