A new pumping concept has been developed and patented by the Alberta Research Council to address the problem of liquid loading in natural gas wells at low, depleted pressures. This concept consists of a pump installed at the bottom of the wellbore that is driven by the reservoir gas pressure to bring the produced liquids to the surface as they accumulate thereby improving gas production from shallow gas wells. The above pump concept has been investigated in two stages of research. In the first stage, a mathematical model was developed to estimate the minimum reservoir pressure required to prevent liquid build up in a gas well with either: 1) the reservoir pressure (and flow) itself carrying the produced liquids to the surface in a two-phase flow or 2) the reservoir gas pressure powering a pumping system to carry the produced liquids to the surface in the most efficient manner possible. The objective of the second stage of this investigation was to look at the feasibility of using a reciprocating pump powered by gas pressure. In particular, the effect of the pump Area Ratio (ratio of the area being pushed by the gas to the area pushing the liquid) on the use of reservoir gas pressure was investigated. There are approximately 75,000 flowing gas wells in western Canada and these gas wells were categorized by depth and production rate. From this list of gas wells, a typical well was chosen and its production data and well characteristics were incorporated into the mathematical model. The model was tested in both the above-mentioned investigations and the results show that there is a significant increase in the operating range when the reservoir pressure is used more efficiently to produce gas from the well. It was determined that higher pump-area ratios lead to a more efficient use of reservoir pressure and for the gas well investigated in this study, an optimum area ratio of 40 was identified as the best design. The concept of multistage pumping was also investigated. The results presented are the basis for experiments presently being designed that will validate the current model of the system and allow for possible improvements.
A Pumping System to Enhance Production From Gas Wells
Contributed by the Petroleum Division for publication in the JOURNAL OF ENERGY RESOURCES TECHNOLOGY. Manuscript received by the Petroleum Division February 5, 2001; revised manuscript received May 10, 2004. Associate Editor: A. K. Wojtanowicz.
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Rudolf, J. J., Heidrick, T. R., Fleck, B. A., Ridley, R. K., and Rajan, R. V. S. V. (December 21, 2004). "A Pumping System to Enhance Production From Gas Wells ." ASME. J. Energy Resour. Technol. December 2004; 126(4): 311–319. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.1790537
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