The Evaluation of Vertical-Lift Performance in Producing Wells
- R.V. McAfee (Axelson-Garrett Div. of U.S. Industries Inc.)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- April 1961
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 390 - 398
- 1961. Original copyright American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers, Inc. Copyright has expired.
- 4.1.5 Processing Equipment, 4.1.2 Separation and Treating, 5.2.1 Phase Behavior and PVT Measurements, 4.1.9 Tanks and storage systems, 3.1 Artificial Lift Systems, 5.6.4 Drillstem/Well Testing, 3.1.6 Gas Lift, 5.6.8 Well Performance Monitoring, Inflow Performance, 5.3.2 Multiphase Flow, 5.4.2 Gas Injection Methods
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The fundamentals of vertical-lift performance are examined with the aid of computer-calculated flowing gradient charts. Flowing and gas-lift well performance characteristics are determined from available well test data. The effect of tubing size, gas-liquid ratio and wellhead pressure is discussed for both flowing and gas-lift wells. The effect of gas-injection pressure, formation gas, bottom-hole pressure and valve spacing is also discussed for gas lift wells. From these studies conclusions may be reached for improving or prolonging natural flow, obtaining optimum lift efficiency when natural flow ceases and improving existing gas-lift systems. The techniques perfected satisfy the requirement that the time involved to conduct an evaluation be practical for operating personnel.
Flowing pressure gradients furnish the key to successful evaluation of vertical-lift performance in producing wells. Command of multiphase flow gradients in some readily usable form is a necessity before operating personnel can competently include vertical-lift performance evaluation of both flowing and artificial-lift wells in their over-all consideration of production efficiency. A readily usable form cannot be overemphasized since most of the decisions which confront the production engineer with a problem well must be made quickly. In moving a barrel of oil from the reservoir to the stock tank, the major portion of energy generally is expended in the vertical-lift phase. This may or may not be of concern during the flowing life of a well, depending upon the production requirements. It becomes of some concern when the flow performance of the well becomes erratic, and a conscious effort must be made to maintain natural flow. It is at this time that the first steps may be taken to modify existing conditions to relieve unnecessary limitations to proper flow.
When natural flow ceases and some form of artificial lift must be installed, the amount of energy expended in lifting liquids becomes quite obvious. It is at this time, if no other, that lifting efficiency becomes important because that part which must be supplied from an outside source is now related directly as a cost per barrel of oil produced.
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