Abstract

Plunger Lift is an efficient method of producing hydrocarbons for a "specific" well conditions. The most important part of the application process is to select the wells with appropriate conditions. Typical Plunger Lift applications are (E. Beauregard, L. Ferguson, 1982):

  • removal of liquids from gas wells;

  • high gas liquid ratio wells;

  • paraffin and hydrate control;

  • increasing efficiency of gas lift applications (especially for an intermittent gas lift);

Further technology studies as well as field pilot projects extended application range of the systems and to the date plungers also being used to (E. Beauregard, S. Morrow, 1989):

  • 5)

    produce liquids in extremely low pressure reservoirs;

  • 6)

    produce liquids in retrograde condensate wells;

  • 7)

    remove water from coal seam methane gas wells;

  • 8)

    produce liquids in deviated and horizontal wells;

  • 9)

    prevent downhole freezing problems in high pressure gas wells.

Besides applications listed above, there is also a specific window for a Plunger Lift – well conditions with high gas liquid ratio, where traditional SRP and ESP systems are severely challenged.

Despite the wide and effective application range of the technology and quick payout period, the major obstacle to more widespread utilization of plungers has been a lack of education. This has been a problem not only with operational personnel but engineering and management as well. Key figures on Plunger Lift technology, founders of PCS Ferguson company, Beauregard and Ferguson were mentioning this early in 80-s as the main barrier. Since this period number of Plunger Lift installation is continuously growing in North America and reached up to 4% of total well count, which is today about 30 000 wells.

Nevertheless, in Eastern Hemisphere implementations of plungers are only at the beginning stage. This paper discusses the latest Plunger Lift applications in Kazakhstan, obtained results, there are also some operational guidelines on more effective implementation ways.

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