Installing Plunger Lift Systems In Gas Wells
workovers may take one day, wells more than 8,000 feet deep will require more than one day of workover time. Depending on the well, from 1 to 15 workovers can be required per year. These costs are avoided by using a plunger lift.
Recovered salvage value when replacing a beam lift. If the plunger being installed is replacing a beam lift, extra income and a better economic return are realized from the salvage value of the old production hardware. Exhibit 7 shows the salvage value that may be obtained by selling the surplus pumping units. In some cases, salvage sales alone may pay for the installation of plunger lifts.
Exhibit 7: Salvage Valuea of Legacy Equipment When Converting from Beam Lift to Plunger Lift Operations
Capital Savings from Salvaging Equipment
Methane Content of Natural Gas
The average methane content of natural gas varies by natural gas industry sector. The Natural Gas STAR Program assumes the following methane content of natural gas when estimating methane savings for Partner Reported Opportunities.
Transmission and Distribution
greatly from the salvage value of the surplus beam lift equipment, yielding an immediate payback. Even if the salvage value is not recovered, the project may yield payback after only a few months depending on the well’s productivity.
Size of Pumping Unit (inch-lbs
Equipment Salvage Value ($)
to evaluate the economics of a hypothetical 100 Mcfd well at which a plunger lift is installed to replace blowdown as the method for removing liquid from the
well. Assuming the per day, the annual
increased production is 20 Mcf increase in production is 7,300
blowdowns per Mcf per year.
Exhibit 8: Cost Comparison of Plunger Lift vs. Other Options
Salvage costs include low estimate sale value of pumping unit, electric motor, and rod string.
Step 4: Evaluate the plunger lift’s economics.
A basic cash flow analysis can be used to compare the costs and benefits of a plunger lift with other liquid removal options. Exhibit 8 shows a summary of the costs associated with each option.
Traditional Beam Lift
Capital and Startup Costs
$1,943 - $7,772
$25,907 - $51,813
$1,300 - $19,500/yr
Economics of Replacing a Beam Lift with a Plunger Lift. In Exhibit 9 the data from Exhibit 8 is used to model a hypothetical 100 Mcfd well and to evaluate the economics of plunger lift installation. The increase in production is 20 Mcf per day, yielding an annual increase in production of 7,300 Mcf. Assuming one workover per year prior to installation,
the switch to a plunger lift also provides 2
Mcf of profits
$1,000 - $7,300/yr
($12,000 - $41,500)
Includes soaping, swabbing, and blowing down. For traditional beam lift, maintenance costs include workovers and assume 1 to 15 workovers per year at $1,300 per workover. Costs may vary depending on the nature of the liquid. Electricity costs for plunger lift: assume the lift is solar and well powered. a b c d