In horizontal wells, the higher inclination at which you can operate, the lower you can draw down bottom-hole pressure. Historically, operators have struggled to successfully operate plungers beyond the 20o-25o inclination range. More recently, experience with horizontal wells led to plunger operations at inclinations approaching 50o, usually with significant efficiency losses. Well Master Corporation has been able to support successful & efficient operation of plungers out to inclinations exceeding 70o. Successfully doing so, is dependent upon using tools specifically designed for high inclinations.
Bottom Hole Assembly Solutions for Horizontal Applications
In most horizontal applications, the tubing is high-set (vertically) relative to the top perforation. In high-set tubing applications, we typically recommend use of a Pressure Relieving Standing Valve (PRSV). The purpose is to trap some fluid in the tubing, relative to the free liquid surface in the casing. Doing so helps ensure a consistent liquid load on each plunger cycle. At high inclinations, however, typically the ball (inside the valve) may fall out of the seat. This lets the trapped fluid escape! Worse, once the ball has left the seat, it may not re-seat.
Well Master has therefore developed a PRSV for Horizontal Applications. Our Rhino HZ PRSV incorporates a valve design which will effectively seal at inclinations up to 68o inclination. Operators have found, the benefit of operating from very high inclinations is a reduction of the hydrostatic head on their horizontal completions by 100’s of feet!
Ported Plunger Solutions for Horizontal Applications
Most solid-body plungers rely on close contact between the plunger & the tubing wall to minimize slippage past the plunger. Our ported tools (including Vipers & Venturi Vipers) rely instead on a turbulent gas seal between the plunger & the tubing wall. The tangential ports feed gas from the plunger core into turbulent gas seal area, in the form of gas jets. These have an added benefit: Once the plunger starts to move, they impart a torque on the tool, which causes it to spin. The resulting turbulent gas seal is therefore effective at inclinations far beyond the reach of non-ported tools. Other resulting benefits of the induced spin include even wear of the tool; preventing flat spots; & extending run-time.
Many operators with wells in the Codell, Cotton Valley, Haynesville, Marcellus, Mesa Verde, Niobrara, STACK, Turner, Utica, Wolf-Camp, & others have, therefore, been able to make use of these tools at inclinations in excess of 70o. In doing so, they have therefore been able to reduce the hydrostatic head on their horizontal completions by 100’s of feet!
Jetted Plunger Solutions for Horizontal Applications
Our Jetted Pad plungers rely on gas pressure from below the tool to inflate the pads out to contact the entire circumference of the tubing walls. As a result, the pad can seal, even when it is eccentric & laying on the side of the tubing. Additionally, once the tool begins to move, these jets impart a torque on the tool, which causes it to rotate. This rotation provides an added benefit of even pad wear through high inclinations.
As with our ported tools, many operators with horizontal wells use these tools at inclinations up to & in excess of 70o. In doing so, they have therefore been able to reduce the hydrostatic head on their horizontal completions by 100’s of feet!