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Installing Plunger Lift Systems In Gas Wells

(Cont’d)

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.

Production

79 %

Processing

87 %

Transmission and Distribution

94 %

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.

Economics

of Avoiding

Blowdown

Plunger

Lift.

Exhibit

10

uses

data

from

with Exhibit

a 8

Size of Pumping Unit (inch-lbs

torque)

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

114,000

12,300

well. Assuming the per day, the annual

increased production is 20 Mcf increase in production is 7,300

160,000

16,800

Mcf.

In

addition,

there

will

be

savings

from

avoided

emissions

during

blowdown.

Assuming

12

one-hour

228,000

21,300

320,000

27,200

blowdowns per Mcf per year.

year,

the

avoided

emissions

are

24

456,000

34,300

640,000

41,500

Exhibit 8: Cost Comparison of Plunger Lift vs. Other Options

a

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.

Cost Category

Plunger Lift

Traditional Beam Lift

Remedial Treatmenta

Capital and Startup Costs

$1,943 - $7,772

$25,907 - $51,813

$0

$0

$1,300 - $19,500/yr

Implementation Costs:

Maintenanceb

$1,300/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

avoided

emissions

per

year.

The

project

Mcf of profits

$0

$13,200+

$13,200+

$0

$1,000 - $7,300/yr

$0

$0

($12,000 - $41,500)

$0

Well Treatmentc

Electricald

Salvage

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

7

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