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Gas Well De-Liquification Workshop

Denver, Colorado
February 27 March1, 2006

Downhole Gas Separators


A Laboratory and Field Study
Jim McCoy, Echometer Company
Tony Podio, University of Texas at Austin
Lynn Rowlan, Echometer Company
Research Funds Provided by Echometer,

ConocoPhillips, & Yates Petroleum

Efficiency Studies

Findings of Efficiency Study


Motor is relatively efficient 83%.
Pumping unit is relatively efficient 96%.

Rod string is generally efficient 75%.


Standard Downhole Pump is efficient unless damaged or
worn 95%.
Downhole Gas Separators above the formation can be
very inefficient when free gas is flowing up the casing
annulus - 0-99%. Downhole gas separators below the
formation were generally more efficient.
Overall system efficiency should be approximately 55%.

Conclusions of Efficiency Study


Gas interference in the pump was often the primary
cause of low efficiency in the beam pump system.
The downhole gas separator was not effective in
wells that produce substantial gas up the annulus.
The Downhole Gas Separator should be studied in
the laboratory and in the field in an attempt to
improve downhole gas separator performance.

Natural Downhole Gas Separator


The most efficient
downhole separator
is the wellbore !
The pump intake
should be Below
casing perforations if
possible.
The Natural
Downhole Gas
Separator is
generally efficient.

Natural Gas Anchor


A pump intake
below bottom
perforations is
equivalent to a
surface
2-phase
separator
Flow path takes
advantage of
Gravity
Separation: most
gas flows to top of
vessel.

Downhole Gas Separators Above The


Casing Perforations Were Often Inefficient
Often, it is not
possible to install
the pump intake
below the
lowermost fluid
entry point in the
wellbore.

No rat-hole

Liner or
Gravel Pack

Well has Sand/Scale production problems

Other

The formation depth and well capacity exceeds the pumping


system capacity so the pump is located uphole
Operator preference

Gas Separator Above Perforations


A pump intake above
the top perforations is
equivalent to a
surface separator
having the pump
intake above the inlet
with a perforated
baffle and quieting
chamber.

Collar Size Gas Separator Design


The outside diameter of the tubing
collar is the same as the outside
diameter of the outer barrel.
The larger diameter of the Collar Size
Gas Separator compared to a Poor
Boy Gas Separator offers
considerably more liquid capacity.
The Collar Size Gas Separators are
about 6 feet in length. A joint of tubing
can be added to the bottom if desired.

Poor Boy Gas Separator


Seating Nipple
Collar
Casing
Perforated Sub
Dip Tube
Collar
Joint of Tubing
Tubing Collars prevent perforated
sub from laying against casing wall
where liquid accumulates

Gas Separator Above Fluid Entry


Some free gas migrates past the
separator due to the upward flow of
free gas in the liquid
Some liquid and gas is pulled into
the gas separator on the pump
upstroke
During the plunger upstroke, the free
gas escapes from the liquid if the gas
upward slip velocity is greater than the
liquid downflow velocity
On the plunger downstroke, gas
slips upward through the
stationary liquid

Pump Plunger

Gas Separator Laboratory Equipment

Hydrostatic
Column

Air purge

The flow rates were


measured, visually
observed and recorded
on video. Tests were
mixtures of water and air.
Air out

Flow Control
to keep BHP
constant
L.C.

BHP

Mix

Pump

Manifold
Air Supply

15

Separator Testing Apparatus and Procedure


Gas Rates injected into the well
Up to 120 MSCF/Day (3400 M3/D)

Liquid Rates Injected into the well


From 100 to 750 Bbl/day (16 -119 M3/D)

Pressure Measurements
BHP, PIP, Separator exit pressure

Gas Rates Flowing Through the Gas Separator


0-63, 0-886,0-6480 SCF/day (2-25-183 M3/D)

All tests were continuous flow


15

Geometry of Separators Studied


Tested the effect of the width of the outer barrel

ports on separator performance


Tested the effect of multiple rows of ports on
separator performance
Tested the effect of the diameter of the dip tube
on separator performance
Tested the effect of the position of the gas
separator ports relative to the casing
perforations: above, in-line and below.

Z = gas
through
separator
X = liquid
velocity in
separator

2
1

Y
X

3
4
5

Y = gas
velocity in
casing annulus
Good Performance

S
in upe
ca rf
sin ici
g al G
an a
nu s V
lu el
s ( oc
in ity
/s
ec
)

city
Velo ec)
d
i
iqu
in/s
ial L ator (
c
i
f
er
ar
Sup e Sep
d
i
ins

Gas Rate through Separator (MSCF/day)

Gas Separator Performance Evaluation

Patterson Gas
Separator
The Patterson Gas Separators
have tall narrow slots to
prevent gas from entering the
inside of the gas separator.
The studies showed that the
liquid flows into the separator
through the lower slots.
The newer designed Patterson
Gas Separators being tested
have one row of slots.

Slot Width Effect

y
6
o ci t
Vel ec)
d
i
u
s
/
iq
r ( in
ial L
rfic parato
e
p
Su
Se
de
i n si

in

in

Patterson 3/4" slots

Su
p
C a er f
s in ic ia
g
l
An Ga
nu s V
l u e lo
s
(in city
/s
ec
)

Su
p
C a er f
s in ic ia
g
l
An Ga
nu s V
l u e lo
s
(in city
/s
ec
)

y
o ci t
Vel ec)
d
i
u
s
/
iq
r ( in
ial L
rfic parato
e
p
Su
Se
de
i n si

y
o ci t
Vel ec)
d
i
u
s
L iq r ( in /
o
cial
erfi eparat
p
u
S
S
e
d
i n si

Gas Rate through Separator (MSCF/D)

Su
p
C a er f
s in ic ia
g
l
An Ga
nu s V
l u e lo
s
(in city
/s
ec
)

Gas Rate through Separator (MSCF/D)

in

Patterson 1/2" slots


Gas Rate through Separator (MSCF/D)

Patterson 1/4" slots

Echometer Gas
Separator
The Echometer Gas Separators
have large openings spaced
closely together to allow liquid
to flow into the separator with
minimum flow resistance.

Echometer Gas Separator Performance

1
2
3

4
6

8
Ga
th s r
a
e
we t e
ll ent
(M er
SC in
F/ g
D)

g
erin
ent )
e
t
a
PD
id r
l (B
Liqu e wel
th

Gas Rate through Separator (MSCF/D)

SEPARATOR TYPE: Echometer 1 (2 x 4" slots)


Air and water entering below ports @ 10 psi

Effects of Port Geometry


Gas Rate through Separator
(MSCF/day)

Patterson 3

Gas Rate through Separator


(MSCF/day)

Poor Boy

G
th as r
e
we ate
ll en
(M t e
SC rin
F/ g
D)

ri n g
n te )
e
e
at (BPD
id r
l
Liqu e wel
th

Number of holes: 12
Diameter: 3/8

Ga
th s ra
e
we te e
ll nte
(i n r
/ s i ng
ec
)

ng
teri
n
e
ate BPD)
id r
(
Liqu e well
th

Number of slots: 8
Dimensions: 8" x 1/2"

Additional Data in Paper


Additional laboratory data is presented in the paper.
Time restraints do not permit showing all of the
laboratory tests.

10

Field Applications

10

Collar Size Gas Separator Field Tests


Vs.
Poor Boy Gas Separator
Vogt 8A - Improvement over Poor Boy
Coalbed Methane Well - Improvement
Jones 1- No Improvement over Poor Boy

Vogt 8 With Poor Boy Gas Separator

Vogt 8 Surface Card - Down 10 Minutes

Vogt 8 After Collar Size Gas Separator

Vogt 8 Surface Cards - Down 10 Min

Position, Inches

Vogt 8 Results

The Collar Size Gas Separator was successful.


It separated the gas from the liquid and allowed
only liquid to enter the pump as long as liquid
was present in the wellbore.

Coalbed Well with Poor Boy Separator

Coalbed Well with Poor Boy Separator


Flumping
Flowing gas
and liquid
through
pump

Coalbed Well with Collar Size Gas Separator

Coalbed Well with Collar Size Gas Separator

Coalbed Well Results

The Collar Size Gas Separator was successful.


It separated free gas from water and allowed only
water to enter the pump as long as water was
present in the wellbore above the separator.

Jones #1

Jones #1 with Poor Boy Separator

Jones #1 With Poor Boy Separator

Pump Taps Bottom


with a force of about
800 pounds.
Intentional small hole
in pump barrel above
standing valve allows
limited liquid to flow
into pump barrel from
the tubing.

Jones #1 With Collar Size Gas Separator

Jones #1 With Collar Size Gas Separator


Differences in Tests
Not Tapping Bottom
Small hole in pump
barrel above standing
valve was removed.

Jones #1 Results
The Collar Size Gas Separator slightly improved
gas production over the Poor Boy Gas Separator.
But, the pump was not full even though liquid
existed in the casing annulus.
The problem of separating the gas from the liquid
before the liquid enters the pump may be related to
the release of small gas bubbles from the oil which
causes an emulsion that is difficult to separate.

Emulsion Test

Start

5 Seconds
10 Seconds
15 Seconds
20 Seconds

Conclusions and Recommendations


The best position to place a downhole gas separator
is where the gas separator slots are below the
majority of the casing perforations (if the pump
intake cannot be located entirely below the
perforations).

Conclusions and Recommendations


The efficiency of the gas separator is a function of at
least four variables:
1 The liquid superficial velocity inside the
separator,
2 The gas superficial velocity in the annulus
between the casing and the separator,
3 The geometry of openings in the outer barrel of
the gas separator, and
4 The outer diameter of the dip tube.

Conclusions and Recommendations


The 6 foot length of the gas separators tested (having
a 5.5-foot long dip tube) results in relatively efficient
separation. A longer downhole gas separator is not
necessary unless debris is to be collected in the
longer outer barrel. Tests are to be performed on gas
separators shorter than 5 feet.

Conclusions and Recommendations

The laboratory tests were performed with water and


the results should apply to water producing wells.

Conclusions and Recommendations

The Jones # 1 field testing of the Collar Size gas


separator indicates that gas separator performance is
affected by foaming oil conditions.
The field test indicates that additional work should be
performed on water, oil and gas mixtures especially
when gas is being released from the oil in small
bubbles.

Ongoing Project - Future Tests

A variety of geometric port shapes


Shorter dip tube lengths
More viscous liquids
Intermittent flow

Questions ??