Ian Nickell, ChampionX
For decades sucker rod pump artificially lifted wells have used devices called pump off controllers (POC) to match the pumping unit’s runtime to the available reservoir production by idling the well for a set time where variable frequencies drives are not available. In doing this the POC allows the well to enter a set period of downtime when the downhole pump fillage is incomplete to avoid premature failures, and then brings the well back online to operate before production is lost. Although this method has been successful for several years, autonomous control algorithms can be utilized to reduce failures or increase production in cases where the downtime is not already optimized. Optimizing the idle time for a sucker rod pump artificially lifted well involves understanding the amount of time required to fill the near wellbore storage area before generating a fluid column above the pump intake that will begin to hinder inflow from the reservoir into the wellbore. By varying the idle time and observing the impact on production and cycles the program hunts for the optimal idle time. By constantly hunting for the optimal idle time the optimization process can adjust the idle time when operating conditions change. This gives the advantage of always meeting the current well bore and reservoir conditions without having to have a user make these changes and determine what the downtime for the well is. Autonomously modulating the idle time for a well, if done properly will either reduces incomplete fillage pump strokes, in cases where the idle time is too short, or will increase the wells production in cases where the idle time is too long. Overall this will result in the optimization of wells by reducing failures and/or increasing production, generating a huge value to the end user by automating the entire process of downtime optimization.