Dave Kimery, Jeff Saponka, Rob Hari and Kyla Gau
Horizontal wells can be difficult to produce with artificial lift systems. To address the problems of lifting these wells, tailpipe downhole separation systems have become more commonplace and have proven themselves to be effective at mitigating slug flow and improving artificial lift performance. Production increases of 30% to over 100% are frequently seen and pump run life can improve by 3-5 times in the right applications. However, designing a proper system to improve production and lift performance today and last for all, or a substantial portion of, the remaining producing life can be challenging and counter-intuitive. A key factor in the performance of these type of downhole separation systems is the internal diameter of the tailpipe. A review of 350 tailpipe systems installed in various basins reveals the importance of sizing the optimal internal diameter that balances draw down, slug flow mitigation and longevity as a well declines.