Gas lift completions for SAGD1 producers are unique. Conventional gas lift valves and mandrels with a packer completion cannot be used due to the extreme temperatures of the downhole environment. Most lift gas enters the production stream downhole via open-ended tubing or nozzles, which if not properly sized can result in operational issues, such as fluid / gas slugging and pressure instabilities which negatively impact the overall lift efficiency.
In 2006, ConocoPhillips conducted a study to design a gas lift system for the Surmont SAGD development that would allow better control of lift gas into the production string and in late 2007 the wells completed with gas lift were placed on production. This paper will cover the data collection effort and analysis completed to determine the efficiency of the two types of gas lift nozzles used in the completions, the methodology for optimization of SAGD gas lift systems and recommendations for future improvement.