(2022023) The Silver Bullet: Overcoming Gas Interference In Unconventional Rod Pumped Wells


Russell Messer and Matt Raglin
WellWorx Energy Solutions

With today’s highly dynamic unconventional wells, gas separation is essential after the conversion from electric submersible pumps (ESPs) to rod lift. Unconventional wells in the Permian Basin have high initial rates with steep declines rates, which result in a high gas-to-liquid ratio very early in the life of the well. As the reservoir pressure draws down below bubble point pressure, increasing volumes of free gas begin to break out of solution. This results in downtime due to erroneous attribution of well condition to pumped off in a critical time when aggressive fluid extraction is needed. Better well optimization is achievable through proper gas separation to maximize production and minimize downtime. Common solutions to this problem involve the use of Mother-Hubbard or packer style separator, which are not always adequate for the task and can be easily overrun by gas. Additionally, if the well is pumped too aggressively, the gas separators can be overrun by production, meaning minimal gas separation occurs. Combining the efficiency of the industry’s leading packer style gas separator, a patented shroud and the new innovative technology of the bypass tubes from the ESP Gas ByPass, the Silver Bullet maximizes gas separation using two pathways for gas separation to occur. Using the Silver Bullet increases total production by both ensuring that the pump is full and by reducing the amount of time the well spends idle. Furthermore, decreasing the number of gas interference events helps reduce failure and increase the life of downhole equipment. Less gas interference in the pump leads to longer run times, more consistent pump fillage and ultimately more revenue. This paper details the technology behind the Silver Bullet and presents case studies proving tool efficiency. 

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