Gas well deliquification


Gas well deliquification

Gas well deliqufication, also referred to as "gas well dewatering", is the general term for technologies used to remove water build-up from producing gas wells.

When natural gas flows to the surface in a producing gas well, the gas carries liquids to the surface if the velocity of the gas is high enough. A high gas velocity results in a mist flow pattern in which liquids are finely dispersed in the gas. Consequently, a low volume of liquids is present in the tubing or production conduit, resulting in a pressure drop caused by gravity acting on the flowing fluids. As the gas velocity in the production tubing drops with time, the velocity of the liquids carried by the gas declines even faster. Flow patterns of liquids on the walls of the conduit cause liquid to accumulate in the bottom of the well, which can either slow or stop gas production altogether.

Possible solutions to this problem include the installation of a velocity string, a capillary string injecting foamers (often with corrosive effects on surface wellhead seals), or a pump to continuously or intermittently pump the water to the surface to remove the hydrostatic barrier that the water creates. Improved electrical pumps coming onto the market may enhance the effectiveness of the technology.

The same concept is also applicable to oil wells when they are at the end stage of production. In this case, the reservoir pressure drops to such a low level that it cannot lift the weight of the oil/water column to the surface through large-diameter tubing. By installing small-diameter tubing inside the existing production tubing down to the depth of the producing formation, the existing reservoir pressure can be made to lift the oil/water column to the surface. Thus a well that was not able to flow naturally or was intermittently flowing through large-diameter tubing may resume consistent flow.

References

*"Gas Well Deliquification: Solutions to Gas Well Liquid Loading Problems" by James Lea, Henry Nickens and Mike Wells, Gulf Professional Publishing 2003 ISBN 978-0-7506-7724-0

External links

* [http://www.pttc.org/news/2qtr2004/v10n2p4.htm Summary of "Journal of Petroleum Technology" paper on gas well deliquification]
* [http://www.muleshoe-eng.com/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderfiles/oilandgasjournalarticle.pdf "Oil & Gas Journal" article on low-pressure gas well deliquification]


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