Can Combining Production Techniques Increase Well Production?
Combining two production strategies can be a good idea to increase a wells production. Simple combinations can be soap sticks and compressors. The soap sticks help get the fluid moving by usually creating a foam head and the compressor reduces head pressure so that increasing well pressure beneath the foam head lifts it to the surface. Now with the loading issue temporally “handled,” the compressor can keep fluid entrained in the gas and lifted to the surface and depending on the gas to fluid ratio the well may stay unloaded for a day or a week, or longer.
Another good pairing is to run a plunger and have a wellhead compressor again help reduce the head pressure that the plunger runs against. This may help with reducing the time a well is shut in for buildup past the time needed for the plunger to get to the bottom in the off cycle. This “less shut in time” may lead to more fluid in the tubing. As tubing pressure builds in the off cycle, fluid is pushed back into the formation, the casing is recharging, and the plunger is falling to the bottom of the well. Now the difference in casing and tubing pressure may get to acceptable level to run the plunger in the time it takes for the plunger to fall to bottom.
If the wellhead compressor is an auto-start, (it starts and stops on pressure so that it is not running in the off cycle) it had shut in at the end of the on cycle and will now restart as it senses pressure when the A valve opens to allow the plunger to run and gas can flow down the line if tubing pressure build up was greater than line pressure.
A slight twist to this plunger compressor combination is where gas from the tubing is injected back into the casing to help “chase” the plunger to the surface. Known as (PAGL) Plunger Assisted Gas Lift or (GAPL) Gas Assisted Plunger Lift the combination has a number of benefits such as there is usually less shut-in time and you may be able to cut your off time to only that needed to get the plunger to the bottom in the off cycle. With less tubing pressure you will have more fluid in the tubing at the start of the cycle. More fluid with each run will usually equate to longer after-flows and increased production. Wells that have larger tubing sizes can be helped by this system as the higher rates needed to lift and unload can be achieved.
Using a plunger control boxes B valve option is an easy way to control the injection times. If head gas is higher than line pressure you can set the B valve to come on after tubing pressure and line pressure equalize. The B valve option will control a valve on the back of the compressor to open or close. After the head gas has gone down the line, maybe 3-4 or 5 minutes, the B valve closes the sales valve on the back of the compressor and now all gas is injected down the casing until the plunger arrives. When the plunger arrives at the surface the B valve option switches off and now all gas during the after-flow cycle goes to sales.