Managing Artificial Lift
- S.M. Bucaram (Arco E&P Technology)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- April 1994
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 335 - 340
- 1994. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 4.1.2 Separation and Treating, 3.1.7 Progressing Cavity Pumps, 3.1.6 Gas Lift, 4.1.5 Processing Equipment, 4.2.3 Materials and Corrosion, 4.3.4 Scale, 3.1.1 Beam and related pumping techniques, 3.1.5 Plunger lift, 3.1 Artificial Lift Systems, 3.1.2 Electric Submersible Pumps, 2.4.3 Sand/Solids Control, 6.1.5 Human Resources, Competence and Training, 5.1.7 Seismic Processing and Interpretation, 5.4.2 Gas Injection Methods
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Distinguished Author Series
The goal of this work is to describe an approach to produce a well formaximum profitability by managing artificial lift effectively. Achievingmaximum profitability from an artificially lifted well begins with selectingthe lift method and continues with selecting materials, protecting materials,monitoring production data, and monitoring equipment performance. Changessuggested by the monitoring process strive to increase the profitability on anindividual well basis.
Managing artificial lift is a continuous process designed to achieve maximumprofitability from a producing or service well. We must keep in mind ourultimate goals.
1. Maximum profits, not maximum hydrocarbon production; one does not alwaysmean the other.
2. Maximum profits, not minimum equipment failures; again, one does notalways mean the other.
3. Maximum profit within the scope of operating safely and in anenvironmentally sound manner.
The purpose of this paper is to detail an approach to managing artificiallift. This approach is described as a series of steps.
Step 1. Original selection of the artificial-lift method.
Step 2. Evaluation of production factors and expected production problems.This evaluation results in the selection of the original equipment used in thewell, the failure-control methods, and the monitoring deemed necessary forprotecting well equipment.
Step 3. Continuous monitoring of meaningful production data: rates, fluidlevels, water cuts, amp charts, pressures, etc.
Step 4. Continuous monitoring of equipment performance data.
Step 5. Evaluation of the production equipment-failure data regularly and asneeded.
This monitoring/evaluation results in courses of action that may includeoperational changes. Changes in the lift type might be from rod pump toprogressing cavity pump or vice versa, from continuous to intermittent gaslift, or from rod pump to electric submersible pump (ESP) or vice versa.Equipment changes could include moving from a bottom holddown to a top holddownrod pump, from an insert to a tubing pump, or from steel to fiberglass rods.Another possible equipment change would be to add or remove a gas separator onan ESP system. Alterations in the failure-protection method might includechanging from batch to continuous downhole corrosion treatment or vice versa,starting a scale-control program, changing the pump metallurgy or the ESP cabletype, or running a cable with a chemical treating string. A change in the waythe well is produced could be indicated, such as increasing or decreasing thestroke speed or changing the stroke length, raising or lowering the pump,anchoring the tubing, using a variable-speed drive on an ESP to reduce waterproduction, or changing the type of power fluid in a hydraulic pumpinginstallation.
Thus, the loop is closed; the evaluation can, and sometimes does, take usback to where we started-e.g., to artificial method selection or, in somecases, to replacement/substitution. If it is to achieve its goal of maximumprofitability, the process must look at each well individually. Well-by-welleconomics is the basis of the process.
The selection of the lift method considers the following.
Geographic location. An offshore and/or Arctic location can limit the viablelift methods through size/weight restrictions or environmental concerns.
Capital cost. These include not only the lift equipment, but also theproduction facilities required to support the lift method (e.g., compressionrequirements for gas lift).
Operating costs. These costs include the energy needed to operate the liftand the cost to repair lift-system failures.
Production flexibility. This means evaluating the minimum and maximum ratesavailable from the lift method based on normal operating conditions comparedwith expected production.
Reliability. Reliability includes expected run time and is a function of thefailure frequency and the logistics required to repair failures.
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