Ken Nolen and Caitlin Shirey
Gas and sand interference remain one of the most common challenges in the vast majority of wells in the Permian Basin. Gas interference can lead to poor pump efficiency and severe sand issues can lead to sticking and excessive wear and tear to the pump – both of which lead to unnecessary operational expenses and even well failure. Recognizing the ineffectiveness and shortcomings of current models of gas and sand separator systems and other mitigation technologies, WellWorx set out to design a more effective system to combat the dual issues in rod pump wells. In the first stage, fluids enter the sand separator and solids are removed using a dual-channel spiral system before forcing solids into a three-foot sand drain that maximizes the distance between pump intake and solids discharge. In the second stage, the gas separator creates the greatest tool OD to casing ID ratio possible, allowing operators to maximize the annulus of the given well bore. By increasing the size of the annulus, it decreases the downward fluid velocity of the fluid prior to pump entry, allowing gas to escape up the casing. Installing this type of equipment could potentially allow operators to stay in higher production longer and give more freedom in pumping practices with or without lowering the pump in the curve, all of which raise profitability. This paper presents the technology behind this combination gas and sand separation system and offers case study results that proves the positive impact of this tool on overall operating expense.