Installing Plunger Lift Systems In Gas Wells
removal allows the well to produce gas continuously and prevent fluid loading that periodically halts gas production or “kills” the well. Often, the continuous removal of fluids results in daily gas production rates that are higher than the production rates prior to the plunger lift installation.
Four Steps for Evaluating Plunger Lift Systems:
Determine the technical feasibility of a plunger lift installation;
Determine the cost of a plunger lift system;
Estimate the savings of a plunger lift; and
Evaluate the plunger lift’s economics.
Reduced paraffin and scale buildup. In wells where paraffin or scale buildup is a problem, the mechanical action of the plunger running up and
may prevent particulate buildup Thus, the need for chemical or
swabbing treatments Many different types
may be reduced of plungers are
or eliminated. manufactured
with “wobble-washers” performance.
remedial treatments and well workovers also reduces methane emissions. Natural Gas STAR Partners have reported annual gas savings averaging 600 Mcf per well by avoiding blowdown and an average of 30
Mcf per year by eliminating workovers.
Other economic benefits.
In calculating the
consider in result from
the analysis. Additional savings may the salvage value of surplus production
equipment and work
and the associated reduction in electricity
help operators ascertain whether a particular well would benefit from the installation of a plunger lift system. As an example, a well that is 3,000 feet deep, producing to a sales line at 100 psig, has a shut-in pressure of 150 psig and must be vented to the atmosphere daily to expel and average of three barrels per day of water accumulation. This well has sufficient excess shut-in pressure and would have to produce 3,600 scf per day (400 scf/bbl/1000 feet of depth times 3000 feet of depth, times 3 barrels of water per day) to justify use of a plunger lift.
Exhibit 2: Common Requirements for Plunger Lift Applications
Well blowdowns and other fluid removal techniques are necessary to maintain production.
Wells must produce at least 400 scf of gas per barrel of fluid per 1,000 feet of depth.
Wells with shut-in wellhead pressure that is 1.5 times the sales line pressure.
Wells with scale or paraffin buildup.
water continuously out of the well bore have potential to produce more condensate and oil.
Step 2: Determine the cost of a plunger lift system.
Costs associated with plunger lifts include capital, start-up and labor expenditures to purchase and install the equipment, as well as ongoing costs to operate and maintain the system. These costs include:
Operators should evaluate plunger lifts as an alternative to well blowdown and beam lift equipment. The decision to install a plunger lift system case basis. Partners can use the following decision process
as a guide to evaluate the effectiveness of plunger lift production wells.
applicability and cost- systems for their gas
Step 1: Determine the technical feasibility of a plunger lift installation.
Capital, installation, and start-up costs. The basic plunger lift installation costs approximately $1,900 to $7,800. In contrast, installation of surface pumping equipment, such as a beam lift, costs
between $26,000 installation costs
valves, controller and power supply on
Plunger lifts are applicable in gas wells that experience liquid loading and have sufficient gas volume and excess shut-in pressure to lift the liquids from the reservoir to the surface. Exhibit 2 lists four common well characteristics that are good indicators of plunger lift applicability. Vendors often will supply written materials designed to
largest variable in the installation cost wire-line to gauge the tubing (check
is running a for internal
(broaching) to assure freely up and down the
that the plunger will move tubing string. Other start-up