The development of the Eumont gas play in Lea County, New Mexico created unacceptably high operating costs associated with gas well production. Two major issues were economically producing low pressure gas wells (1.5-2 psi/100 feet) with low connate water production and proppant production. The first choice for artificial lift once loadup occurred was beam pumps. Sand production and low fluid volumes however forced a paradigm shift to evaluate plunger lift as an alternative based on the low fluid volumes and low bottom hole pressures. The end result has reduced operating costs by over 70% in the areas that plunger lift has become the primary artificial lift method and reduced the lease expense per BOE by 25% over the 2-1/2 year implementation period.

This paper discusses the steps taken to apply basic plunger lift concepts and progresses to the current plunger lift system that incorporates annular flow to minimize bottom hole pressure; therefore maximizing production. Evidence will be presented to validate that switching from beam pump to plunger lift has on average increased production. Integrating this "new found" technology on high GLR oil wells has been beneficial as well.

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