Smart plungers1 can be used to enhance diagnostics and performance evaluation of liquid-loaded gas wells. The objective of this work is to develop a framework in which surface measurements and smart plunger data from the Pinedale field are analyzed using a mechanistic plunger lift model, so as to provide a methodology for maximizing well performance and reducing operational costs.
In this paper, the application of smart plunger technology in two Pinedale wells is presented. A description of the mechanistic model used for the analysis of the gathered transient flow data is also provided, including a discussion on changes to the model for different well completions (namely with or without packer). Inputs to the model are dynamic pressure and temperature, well completions, fluid properties and produced flow rates. Results from the two Pinedale wells are presented and critically reviewed. The results suggest that the proposed integrated approach is a feasible and practical methodology to optimize the performance of plunger lift cycles. Recommendations are then made for future technological advances in the development of an interpretation model for real-time analysis of smart plunger data, towards fully automated management of liquid loading in gas wells.