E&P Software: GreaseBook meets “Shark Tank”of E&P Software…

Last week, Houston-based SURGE (an accelerator that provides access to capital, customers, and mentors to E&P software and other energy-related companies) extended invitations to 11 of the world’s most promising Energy Startups….

More than 500 companies vied for a seat at the SURGE table and the opportunity to break bread with an elite group of SURGE alumni…

From this year’s applicant pool, SURGE accepted less than 2% of the total applicants. And, with members of the class hailing from such places as Chicago, New York, and San Francisco — Oklahoma City’s GreaseBook is damned proud to round out the mix.

e&p software accelerator

That’s right, SURGE thinks GreaseBook is onto something hot, and has extended a formal invite for GreaseBook to join the ranks of this increasingly elite group of energy & oil software startups!

What does this mean for GreaseBook?

In addition to seed funding, GreaseBook will be given access to 100+ mentors representing the world’s leading experts, policymakers, scientists, decision makers, and influencers in the energy arena…

Surge is only in its third year, and its previous two classes have already gone on to raise $25 million in funding while creating more than 150 jobs…

Some of the industry’s most well-known players (Halliburton, BP, Chevron, ConocoPhilips, Shell, ABB, Schlumberger, RigNet) are plugged into the SURGE community. Essentially, by joining SURGE, GreaseBook will be granted access to the industry that simply can’t be found anywhere else…

What does this mean for you, the E&P Software User?

While SURGE offers access to leading experts on design and infrastructure of GreaseBook’s operations, when it comes to influencing the direction & functionality of the app, our best asset is YOU — the independent operator.

Not only can our clients going to get a better app, they can also expect an even more dynamic group of folks to service and stand behind it…

We have a whole slew of app enhancements that we’ll be rolling out to our users in the coming months. And guess what? They were all ideas submitted by the GreaseBook community… engineers, owners, admin, supervisors, and pumpers like YOU.

Thanks to the SURGE Accelerator, GreaseBook is ‘pumped’.

Thanks to mobile technology, independent operators are able to scale every last man hour — and squeeze every last drop of oil — from their operations.

Pump more oil. Waste less time. Make more money.
~GreaseBook

E&P Software

**In November, Surge moved into its own building, a 58,000-square-foot space that also serves as a co-working space for technology entrepreneurs and other E&P Software upstarts.

 

GreaseBook Founder named Up & Coming "Industry Disruptor" by OGM Magazine

Just recently, The OGM (Global Oil & Gas Industry News) featured GreaseBook’s founder & CEO (Greg Archbald) as one of its Up & Coming “Industry Disruptors”!!

From exploring Greg’s definition of “success” to disclosing his role model (W. Axl Rose, notorious front man of 80s rock band Guns ‘N Roses), the article gives the reader some interesting (and fun!) insight into Greg’s life and how he got to where he is today.

We’re proud of everything Greg has accomplished, and even more grateful to The OGM for recognizing his hard work — check out the full article by clicking here:

http://theogm.com/upandcoming/gregarchbald/

 

Oil Production Software: The Consumerization of the Oil & Gas Enterprise

Oil Production Software meets smartphones and tablets…

There’s a big problem in oil & gas: getting the production information from the oilfield back to headquarters.

And, while the mega operators have always had the capacity to collect production information via sensors and telemetry — to the independent oil company, the ‘digital oilfield’ has always been something that lay just out of reach.

Why was this so?

Two reasons:

  • Most operators are spread too thin. Not only are field data collection systems expensive, but they also require a high level to design and deploy.
  • A large majority of the independent operator’s production portfolio consists of marginally producing wells (better known in the industry as ‘stripper wells’). Simply stated: retrofitting these wells with sensors the cost doesn’t justify the means.

However, now the independent operator has options. . . check out the video below (ie sit back and relax while the Big Boys seethe with envy!! 😉 )

**Update: 1/15/2015: We get a lot of people inquiring about this video. Since time of filming, GreaseBook has accomplished nearly everything we set out do in our pitch…

  1. CTO onboarded? Yes, and man this guy is gooooood…

  2. Customer Success Manager and help desk Staff online? Check!

  3. A GreaseBook in every pumper’s truck in America?  At 14,000,000bbls of oil flowed through the app (and counting!), we’re closer than you might think 😉

During SURGE Day at the House of Blues in downtown Houston, GreaseBook pitches its new oil production software platform to a group of more than 500 investors, thought leaders, and potential clients in the energy industry…

Attended by heavy hitters like ShellStatOilConocoPhilips, and Schlumberger, GreaseBook explains how what once was only available to the largest of operators can now be replicated by the independent oilman, with better results, in less than 20 minutes…

Being an independent operator has never been so good!! 🙂

E&P Tanks Software: Oil & Gas Awards Nominate GreaseBook Pumper App

The other day, the Oil & Gas Awards rolled into Oklahoma City to celebrate and recognize all sorts of advances made in the industry over the past 12 months… Among the likes of Halliburton, Continental Resources, and Chesapeake, the Oil & Gas Awards committee named the GreaseBook App (essentially, E&P Tanks Software which assists pumpers in monitoring their oil & gas production) as one of their finalists…

For which award you ask?

The Future Industry Leader Award!

GreaseBook was honored to take part in the ceremony, but was more satisfied knowing that a large number of small to mid-sized operators are recognizing that consumer electronics (ie iPads and iPhones) and cost-effective apps (like GreaseBook!) are enabling them to work smarter, not harder.

The Oil & Gas Awards Committee recognized GreaseBook for “having attained and demonstrated an impressive depth of technical knowledge in its field, and showing an innovative approach to its work.”

For us, that’s code for:

Eliminating those greasy Run Tickets

Empowering your pumpers (thus increasing your oil production…)

Thwarting greedy oil purchasers

**Side note: don’t be shy — click one of the links above!**

Thanks to the Oil & Gas Awards Committee, GreaseBook is humbled.

Thanks to mobile technology, independent operators are able to scale every last man hour — and squeeze every last drop of oil — from their operations.

Pump more oil. Waste less time. Make more money.

~GreaseBook

Oil Well Monitoring: Oil Well Monitoring with an iPad App

GreaseBook, an iPad app explicitly for oil well monitoring, was recently featured in Hart’s E&P Magazine… check out the article below!

Smart technology provides relief for reporting headaches.

Over the last five years, there has been a major paradigm shift in the source of innovation.

Although the supermajors of the oil and gas industry still contend for the top spot in industry innovation (as demonstrated by their success in exploiting ever deeper, more remote basins), some of the larger E&Ps are resisting the call to mobilize their working environment. These companies are saying no to connectivity, restricting the use of smartphones and tablets, and overlooking the applications and convenience their employees have come to enjoy and even depend on in everyday life.

oil well monitoring

Why is this so? Old habits die hard. Large companies look at mobile and pervasive computing from the IT mindset – control and compartmentalize – ahead of the benefits the organization will gain by enabling its teams through the mobile medium. However, with the employee time savings and relative affordability that the mobile medium has to offer E&P companies, smaller operators are taking note. Many of the small- to medium-sized independents have started to look to consumer electronics and cost-effective apps to work smarter, not necessarily harder. Thanks to mobile technology, independent operators are able to scale every last man hour – and squeeze every last drop of oil – from their operations.

David vs. Goliath

The GreaseBook app allows operators to use consumer technology to streamline their wellsite reporting. (Image courtesy of GreaseBook)

Monitor your oil well with an app

For years, the standard protocol of large production companies has been to monitor and execute all deepwater drilling activities via sophisticated satellite networks. Most wells over a certain capex are fitted with real-time optimization tools and sensors. However, for many smaller industry players, the digital oil field has always been a mirage that lay just out of reach.

Most operations managers and field engineers feel they are already spread too thin. Many field data collection systems require a high level of expertise to design, deploy, and operate. These systems also require general IT, control theory, and petroleum engineering skill sets to properly manage. While continually updating risk assessments, quantifying uncertainties, and integrating data across autocratic domain knowledge silos might all be part of an average day at one of the majors, for the smaller players, the cost and energy required does not justify the means.

While large independents and supermajors have entrenched themselves in advanced analytics software, data repositories, and massive IT departments to oversee it all, smartphones and tablet computers have been piggybacking their way into smaller companies. How? In the pockets and purses of the employees who work there.

Oil Well Monitoring: The pen and paper live on

It may surprise most people to learn that in a large majority of independent operating companies, the pen and paper method still remains the dominant form of field data collection. However, this is quickly changing. In most operations, field personnel are contracted to oversee and troubleshoot an operator’s leases. These field personnel usually fill out industry-standard paper gauge sheets. All oil, gas, and water production measurements are handwritten, and (if the operator is lucky) pumpers include any special commentary before mailing or faxing these figures to headquarters.

Although technologies like remote operations and SCADA have sought to address productivity and efficiency issues, many independent operators are of the mindset that a marginal well is going to produce what it is going to produce regardless of whether its production is monitored or not. Even in the case of high-flow wells, most operators require that their pumpers visit these sites several times a day, trumping some of the potential benefits a wireless monitoring device may tout.

When it comes to smaller operators, telemetry providers promoting real-time information may have missed the mark. Many operators are not concerned about immediate information. What they truly desire is a way to streamline the redundancy, reporting, and productivity issues that come with field data collection. What is more, they want a way to make sense of it all. And, with many pumpers fast approaching retirement age, operators are now searching for effective ways to transfer the intimate knowledge they have gained about their production properties to the next generation of engineers, managers, and field workers.

Some forward-looking E&P companies are addressing this through consumer electronics. Because of the shared repositories of information on which these mobile devices subsist, intimate knowledge of a company’s oil and gas assets is not stored away deep in a file cabinet or in some “autocratic domain silo” but is easily accessed via the cloud.

Rather than focus on the management and operations of onsite data servers, a majority (if not all) of the smart device software apps are hosted on the cloud. For the smaller operator, this means that employees can focus on what they are best at: overseeing oil and gas production, not managing complicated IT structure. Every piece of historical production information is stored offsite at a cloud storage provider, from which a relief pumper or a newly hired engineer can easily access needed information for review.

Smaller operators also are becoming more cognizant of the free apps on the iPad and iPhone that are the perfect complements to their business. Many of these apps only take a few minutes to set up but have the potential to yield days in productivity increases from operations managers, field engineers, and pumpers every year. For example, pumpers generally have a task list of things they need to do on a weekly, monthly, and yearly basis to keep their leases running in top form. By forming pumper message groups in Apple’s Reminder app (which comes standard on every iPad and iPhone), oil and gas operators have an effective way to deliver daily, weekly, and monthly to-do lists (e.g. drop soap sticks, pump maintenance, chemical schedules, gas chart calibration, etc.).

Engineers who oversee the operations of small producers are employing free file sharing services such as Dropbox to store and deploy important documents like well completion reports and workover information. Once files are uploaded into Dropbox, employees are no longer tethered to their desktop computers. A field engineer can view a well history file from his tablet or smartphone in the field and share this same file with his team of field personnel.

Pumpers also have been quick to realize that by using the camera function on their smart devices they are able to save an employer thousands of dollars each year. By taking photos or video of problems in the field and posting them to messaging applications, veteran foremen and engineers can visually engage with their production assets. Where once issues could only be resolved through verbal descriptions over the telephone, companies are now able to visually troubleshoot problems from the office, thus avoiding costly onsite service calls.

A new breed of specialized apps has begun to crop up in the oil and gas industry. GreaseBook, an iPad application for operators and their pumpers, has eliminated the need for the traditional paper gauge sheet workflow. The company designed the app to work in oil-producing areas with zero mobile connectivity, and the app touts zero setup time and no contracts. The company has set out to improve the way pumpers record and interact with the vital production information they collect in the field, and the app can potentially eliminate 99% of all in-house, field-related administrative duties.

Operators are happy to outsource many of their core computing and operations processes to third-party companies because of the convenience and amount of time that is saved. What is more, company employees actually want to use these smart devices, which means management does not have to endure the typical push-back of new initiatives.

The platforms on which these smartphones and tablets run are nothing to scoff at. Take Apple, which according to market value surpassed ExxonMobil as the world’s most valuable company in 2011. The apps that run on these smart devices are backed by cloud computing heavy hitters like Microsoft and RackSpace Cloud systems and are connected by mobile communications giants like Verizon and AT&T. Essentially, operators feel more comfortable leaving the responsibilities of their core computing and operations processes to third-party consumer companies, not only because of the convenience and amount of time they save but also because these companies dedicate 100% of their resources to providing and perfecting these services.

Democratization of the oil field

Despite the success operators are having with the implementation of these easy-to-use, cost-effective apps, many of the larger operating companies are resisting the call to mobilize their working environment. The cost of not going mobile comes in many forms. It comes in the form of not attracting the strongest candidates to replace the industry’s aging work force. And it comes in the form of not making the best decisions due to limited information. These petite E&P companies may soon find themselves the envy of their larger, more “sophisticated” brethren. Something happens when people start to use smart technology. Their focus shifts from “how things get done” to “how things need to get done,” and for owners and managers of E&P companies, this is a welcome transformation.

Well Production Data: GreaseBook well production data app for iPad featured in The Oklahoman

GreaseBook well production data app for operators was recently featured in an article written by the energy editor of The Oklahoman. The article was aptly entitled, “Local software company aims to digitize oilfield”, and addresses GreaseBook’s goal of making  (consumer friendly) technology available to small and mid sized oil and gas producers.

Well production data

Although the concept of the “Digital Oilfield” is nothing new, GreaseBook recognized that the efficiencies gained in the oilfield from going digital have always been a mirage that lay just out of reach for the small E&P. However, with the advent of consumer technology (iPads and iPhones), the larger, “more sophisticated” Super Majors and large independents are eyeing the small(er) producer with increasing envy…

Check out the article here: http://newsok.com/local-software-company-aims-to-digitize-oil-field/article/3872479

Oil and Gas Data Management: GreaseBook on The Energy Makers Show

Last week, The Energy Makers Show interviewed GreaseBook to find out a little more about the app’s approach to oil and gas data management for lease operators in the oil patch…

In the clip below, Russ Capper (Owner/CEO of The Energy Makers Show) talks with Greg Archbald (Founder of GreaseBook) to understand exactly how the app replaces the paper gauge sheet…


The EnergyMakers Show is a weekly video podcast featuring interviews with energy innovators, thought leaders and public policy makers discussing the challenges of the world’s rapidly increasing thirst for energy.

We were thrilled to be a part of the interview, and even more grateful to the Energy Makers Show for spreading the word about GreaseBook — be sure to pay Russ a visit at www.theenergymakers.com!

The Basics of Setting Up an Oil & Gas Production Tank Battery

The tank battery is the arrangement of storage and processing tanks, flow lines, and other equipment necessary to operate a well. Some tank batteries are connected to just one well, while others receive and process fluids from several different wells. When a single tank battery receives from a few different wells, those wells will usually all be close together which means they are all producing similar amounts and types of fluids. The different vessels and equipment that make up the tank battery will be chosen to store and treat the products from those type of wells. For example, wells in one area may be using hydraulic lift while wells in another use gas lift to up production. A tank battery will need to be equipped to handle the different requirements in each case.

As the equipment chosen for a tank battery depends largely on what is being produced, it’s important to keep a number of things in mind when designing a tank battery for a particular operation. Obviously, it’s important to understand what each vessel does and how it does it. Understanding the interior layout of a vessel, as well as its place in the overall tank battery, is also vital. Most of all, you’ll need to be able to spot and solve problems you encounter, as a tank battery will most likely evolve over the course of its use.

 

Assembling a Tank Battery

The composition of a tank battery will change and evolve over the life of the well. As the nature of production changes, different equipment will need to be brought in to meet different needs. Older equipment will be removed to make room. For example, a well may have sufficient natural pressure at first to produce a satisfactory flow. That pressure will fall, however, and eventually you may want to install a gas lift system, which requires specific, specialized equipment. Later, you may move to hydraulic lift, and have to add all of the equipment necessary for that. By the end of a well’s life, several different methods of production will probably have been used.

There are a few basic things that most tank batteries will have. As each tank battery has to be tailored to the needs of the well and operation, it’s important to understand how each of the basic components works.

Tank Battery

Figure 1. A picture of a tank battery that includes water tanks (painted black), a wash tank, and two stock tanks for oil (painted gray).

 

Essential Vessels

Vessel is essentially a fancy name for the tanks and similar equipment that receive the produced fluid. These are mostly used either to simply store fluid until it can be treated or sold, or to separate oil from water and gas.

A stock tank is used for storing oil prior to treating or selling it. There’s also usually a tank for holding produced, separated water, as amounts have to be measured and recorded. These tanks are usually not under pressure. Tanks can be either round or rectangular.

Rectangular tanks usually don’t have a roof. This makes it easy to access the stored fluid for measuring and testing. A ladder may come with the tank. However, as with all things when lease pumping, a bit of ingenuity may be required; you may have to put together a simple one to access the fluid. A hoop at the top of the ladder allows you to use both hands to test and measure fluid. A safety belt is another option.

You’ll also need a separator, both a regular and a test one. This is usually the produced fluid’s first stop after leaving the well. Most often these are two phase separator, meaning the vessel will only separate gas from oil and water. They can sometimes be three phase separators, meaning that it also separates the oil and water. Unlike stock tanks, separators are usually under pressure.

Several vessels actually are involved in various steps of separating oil from other produced fluids and impurities. The heater-treater is another example, which is a three phase separator that uses heat. Heater-treaters can be either pressurized or at atmospheric pressure. A wash tank, sometimes known as a gun barrel, also separates oil from water and gas, making it another three phase separator.

Just about every tank battery will need some sort of circulation pump. It can be one of a bunch of different kinds, and is used to move fluids from one vessel in the tank battery to another.

Most tank batteries will require some sort of dike or firewall. These are required around vessels that are not pressurized, with fluids that are stored at atmospheric pressure. The firewall contains fluids in the case of leaks or other emergencies where oil may end up outside of a stock tank or other vessel. There’s some specific requirements regarding the size of the dike that you should check out. Usually, the dike has to be able to contain 1 ½ times as much fluid as can be stored in the tank.

 

Flow Lines

Lines can be simply be upset steel pipe like what’s used downhole. It can also be synthetic, like plastic or fiberglass. They can be joined however steel seems best for your operation. Steel lines can be threaded pipe and use appropriate fittings, or might use collars or grooved clamps.

Synthetic lines are used frequently in situations where steel would corrode too quickly. Polyethylene lines are also popular for their low cost and ease of use. However, polyethylene lines are best used with low pressure wells.

Tank Battery

Figure 2. An example header.

Head lines flow from the wellhead to the tank battery. When a tank battery receives fluid from several wells, you’ll need to put together a header. This is an assembly of lines and valves that allows you to control the flow from each well to the tank battery, as well as to other equipment such as a meter.

In the example pictured, each well has it’s own set of flow lines and valves. Flow enters from lines on the bottom right. It then heads through a valve and then a check valve. Oil is then sent to different parts of the tank battery, either the production or test separator. All valves are quarter round valves, so it’s easy to see at a glance which valves are open, closed, and which wells have been shut in. Valves and lines are also clearly labeled. This sort of clarity is important to the efficient running of a lease.

Tank Battery

Figure 3. A drilling rig where a drill stem test is being performed. Gas is being flared off on the left.

Initial Production

The very first oil drawn from a well will almost always be through the drill stem, and used for testing purposes. Rather than having a full tank battery for such a small flow, a smaller test tank is usually used. If the test shows that the well may produce a profit, a large bore pipe will be set in place to serve as casing and then perforated. At the same time, the tank battery should be assembled so that production can start as soon as the well is prepared.

Some wells have sufficient bottom pressure to that flow will start as soon as the correct valve is opened. Other wells will require some further work. Many wells will have a column of water on the surface of the oil. The water will need to be swabbed out to so that the pressure in the tubing column is less that the bottomhole pressure. A column of oil can also be swabbed out to start flow.

The first flow will often be measure by the drilling company, but it will ultimately become the responsibility of the operator to keep track of what’s produced from the well.

Tank Battery

Figure 4. The Natural Product Curve.

When a new well is opened for production, the pressure throughout the reservoir will be more or less equal. As fluid is drawn from the reservoir, the pressure around the wellbore will naturally drop. The oil in the reservoir will filter through the formation to the wellbore. However, oil will most likely be drawn much more quickly than it can flow through the formation, which leads to the drop in pressure. Over time, the production will fall according to the natural production curve. If no lift system is used, the production rate will follow this curve over time. Many different factors will determine the actual numbers.

 

What Are You Pumping?

Obviously, you’re most interested in the oil and natural gas that is produced from the well. However, you’ll be handling a few other products, some of which can also be sold to petroleum companies. Asphalt is used in road construction. Natural gas can be used in several industries. Paraffin and petroleum are also valuable byproducts.

BS&W, or basic sediment and water, is going to be the biggest byproduct by volume. Water can be used for some pumping operations, but there’s a number of byproducts which can be difficult to deal with, if not dangerous. Sulfur is often found in wells, which, when combined with produced water, can lead to the formation of acids that cause corrosion. Hydrogen sulfide can be particularly dangerous, and proper safety procedures should always be followed. For lease pumpers, specifically, those procedures should never be ignored, as you’ll often be working the lease solo.

Tank Battery

Figure 5. An example tank chart.

 

Recording

You’ll be required to keep precise records about the well’s production, breaking down the volumes of natural gas and oil, as well as water. These records are required by a variety of regulations, and are reviewed by regulatory agencies. For any given well, the very first production will be recorded, as will all production up to the end of the well’s production lift. A yearly, weekly, and daily report is usually required.

These records are actually useful for the lease pumper as well, as they can be a guide to the amount and type of equipment needed to fully exploit a well. That decision will also be affected by many other factors, such as the volume of oil coming from the well, the lease size, and financial considerations. Fluid volumes should be measured frequently throughout the day when the well first is flowing.

Record keeping usually begins at the wellhead, and a basic meter is usually installed there. More detailed records can be taken from the various tanks that make up the tank battery. The use of a gauge line paste will help in determining the ratio of oil to water. While gas is usually vented to the air or lit to form a flare, the amount is still needed to be measured and recorded.

Using Side Pocket Mandrels in Oil & Gas Production

When using a gas lift system, mandrels are an integral part of the pumping system. Valves are installed in these pieces of hardware, which are an important part of regulating the flow of gas. Conventional mandrels are straightforward to use, but they have a significant downside. When one mandrel fails or needs maintenance, the entire tubing string has to be pulled.

Side pocket mandrels are an alternative that addresses this issue. Rather than pulling the entire tube string, side pocket mandrels can be pulled separately from the tubing string using a wireline machine. You won’t need a pulling unit and a whole crew, and wireline machines are useful to have around for a lot of reasons. Side pocket mandrels are particularly good choices for offshore rigs, having lesser requirements for crew and equipment.

Side Pocket Mandrels

Figure 1. A few different types of side pocket mandrels. (courtesy of CAMCO Products and Services Company)

Wireline Machines and Safety

Wireline machines can do more than simply pull side pocket mandrels. The tools used with a wireline machine can be used to do a variety of things, from removing sand to cleaning up scale. Paraffin can precipitate, for example, blocking tubing and slowing the flow of production oil. A wireline can cut through the paraffin and reduce the buildup.

Other types of maintenance are also possible with a wireline machine. Safety valves and other safety equipment could also be serviced and maintained. A wireline machine is useful for many reasons on an offshore well. One of the most important is that it allows the running of a second string of tubing into the well, in case of an emergency.

While it’s possible to add some safety equipment using a wireline machine, the machine itself can be dangerous. Fast moving wire cables are dangerous, and you should never approach or attempt to handle the wire while the machine is on.

Continuously Producing

Gas lift usually works best when the well is going to be continuously flowing. This is because the unloading sequence that is required to get a gas lift system flowing is complex and can be time consuming. For smaller wells, where the unloading sequence is easier to manage, running the well only intermittently could be prudent.

Side Pocket Mandrels

Figure 2. An example chart showing production from a gas lift system producing continuously. (courtesy of McMurry-Macco)

Side Pocket Mandrels

Figure 3. An example chart from a well producing intermittently using gas lift. (courtesy of McMurry-Macco)

Gas Lift Using The Annular Space

For most operations, the gas is injected through the annular space so that oil is produced up through the tubing. That’s the optimal arrangement for most wells, from those only producing a few dozen barrels a day to operations producing tens of thousands of barrels.

For high production wells, the standard system is actually reversed, with the gas being injected through the tubing and fluid produced through the casing. In that case, no packing is necessary in the casing, as it would be with the standard system. This is more common with wells producing more than 20,000 barrels daily. This is a particularly efficient in operations dependent on waterflood, as the amount of water pumped to the surface will tend to increase over time.

Mandrels and Gas Lift Valves in Oil & Gas Production

A gas lift system normally requires valves in the production tubing down the well.  These valves open in sequence, injecting the gas that forces fluid in the tubing to the surface. The hardware that connects the valve to the tubing is called a mandrel. There’s two general categories of mandrels, and whichever you choose can have an impact on how your well operates and is maintained. The first variety of mandrel is the conventional mandrel.

 

Conventional Gas Lifts and Mandrels

Valves are attached to the outside of the mandrels, which are then inserted into the tubing string at regular intervals. The entire assembly of tubing, mandrel, and the attached valves are all run into the well together. That means that when a valve needs maintenance or to be replaced, the entire thing needs to be pulled, which requires a crew of workers.

Another component to be aware of with a conventional gas lift system is the packer above the tubing perforations, which seals the annular space. That space is closed at the bottom as well, so that gas that is fed into that area from the compressor on the surface will activate the system.

Mandrel Gas Lift Valves

Figure 1. Four different conventional mandrels. (courtesy of Camco Products and Services Company)

 

Installing Mandrel and Valves

The valves will need to be installed at a specific, regular interval along the tubing. It’s best to measure the intervals and assemble the mandrel and valve before transporting the tubing to the well. The first lengths of tubing to be lowered down are all loaded together and marked with a 1. The second group is marked 2 and also loaded together, and so forth. Each mandrel is similarly assembled and marked for the order it’s going to be installed. When the tubing reaches the well location, it can be assembled with the mandrels in order.

When the tubing has to be pulled for servicing, the same ordering and numbering can be used. It’s vital that each valve be used only in its correct place in sequence, as otherwise the lifting system will not work correctly.

Mandrel Gas Lift Valves

Figure 2. A few different gas lift valves. (courtesy of Camco)

The Basics of the Gas Lift Valve

A valve will automatically open under a specific pressure, the opening operated by a bellows that is gas operated or occasionally through a spring loaded mechanism. The gas lift valve is divided into several different chambers.

The top most chamber is filled with a pressurized neutral gas. It has a fill valve that’s similar to one you’d find on a tire. The fill valve is set to a specific pressure and then it’s sealed up.

The second chamber is a bellows, one end of which is round. The bellows is forced up against its seat by the internal pressure.

The lower chamber of the valve is exposed to the annular pressure at the bottom of the well. The difference in pressure in the annular space opens the valve so that the gas is injected into the fluid.

Gas enters the tubing from the uppermost valve first. That valve then closes, and the one below it opens. This sequence continues until the entire column has been injected with gas and the fluid begins to flow. As long as gas continues to enter the tubing, fluid will continue to flow.