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Societyof PetroleumEngineers ~

SPE 37001
Tubing Size Optimization

in Gas Depletion Drive Reservoirs

Ronald Gunawan, SPE, and George R. Dyer, SPE, Vito Indonesia

Copycght 19%

Soaety of Petroleum Engtneers, Inc

Typically, a new completion will start in the high pressure


system and move through the medium pressure system into the
low pressure system before depletion.

This paper was FC3PWedfor presentation at the 1996 SPE Asia PacfIc 011and Gas Conference
held In Adelalde, Austlalla, 28-31 October 19S6
This paper was salec!ed for presentation by an SPE Prcqram Commttee following rewew of
mfonnakcmccwamed m an abstract submitted by the author(s) Contents of the paper have no!
been rv!awed by the SocIetY of Petroleum Engineers and are subeci to correctmn by the
author(s) The mated
as presented, dc-es not necaa$anly reflect any postmn of the SocIety of
Petroleum Engineers, Its cffcafs, or members Pawrs presented at SPE meebngs are sub)ect
to pubkalm revmw by Edkwal Commflaes of the SocIatY of Petroleum Engtne%rs Perm Issfon
to copy IS restricted to an abstract of not more than 300 words Illuslratlons maY not be copied
Tfw abstract should contain cnnspmous acknowledgment of where and by whom the paper IS
wsenled Mite Lix+nan, SPE, P O Box 833WS Rd?ardson, TX 7Soe3-3+33S U S A, fax 01214.952.9436

Tubing size selection is an important factor in completion design


that affects well performance and ultimate reserve recovery.
Producing a well at the maximum rate without affecting the
reserve recovery is desirable. Increasing the tubing size will
usually increase the rate, however, the question becomes how
does tubing size affect reserve recovery. A general tubing
selection guideline is required for optimum tubing size selection.
That guideline is also required for inventory control and
planning.

Abstract

Proper tubing size selection is essential to maximize economic


reserve recovery in depletion drive gas reservoirs. For wells
completed in multiple reservoirs with a wide range of reservoir
properties, tubing size selection can become quite complex.
This paper presents an approach used to determine optimum
htbing size using a model developed by applying Nodal Analysis
and Gas Load-Up Technology. A database consisting of 340 gas
wells was analyzed and used to confirm the validity of the
approach and develop a model. The model shows the relationship between Reservoir Abandonment Pressure (Pa), Permeability Thickness (kb), Tubing Size, and Flowing Wellhead Pressure.
The model shows that for high kh (Permeability Thickness)
completions, tubing size has only a minor effect on the reservoir
abandonment pressure. Actual field data confirms the models
predicted results.

Theoretical

Background

One of the critical factors in selecting tubing size is determining


when a well will load up and die. Determination of the factors
effecting this load up has been a matter of intense study over the
years.
The minimum flowrate required to unload a well
primarily depends on tubing size, liquid yields and flowing
tubing pressure. Two primary methods for determining when a
well begins to load up are Turner et als method using a physical
model and Nodal Analysis based on reservoir inflow performance and two phase flow correlations.
Turner Method. The Turner et al.s ) method for predicting gas
well load up is based on two physical models, liquid film
movement along the pipe walls and entrainment of liquid
droplets in a gas stream. Turner compared the two models with
observed field data and found that the Liquid-Droplet Model was
superior. The Liquid-Droplet Model is based on a free-falling
particle in a gas will reach a terminal velocity. This terminal
velocity depends on the particle size, shape, interracial tension,
liquid density, fluid-medium density and viscosity. In a gas well
if the upward velocity of the gas is less than the terminal
velocity, liquid will begin to accumulate and eventually the well
will load up and die. The Turner method predicts when liquids
can no longer be suspended in the gas as droplets. At this point
the well is at impending load-up.
Applying this terminal
velocity equation to wellbores and correcting to standard
conditions, the minimum gas flowrate, q,, for continuous
removal of liquids from a wellbore:

Refer to the result of the study, the tubing in 7 (seven) gas wells
were changed tlom 2 3/8 to 3 I/2. This project resulted in 50
MMCFD gas deliverability increase. The actual results agreed
closely with the predictions and demonstrated the accuracy of
the methods used.
Introduction

VICO Indonesia, the operator of Sanga-Sanga Block in East


Kalimantan - Indonesia (Fig. 1) has four major gas fields that
produce an average of 1.6 BSCFD These fields consist of more
than 300 unique reservoirs that have permeability ranges from
less than 1 md to greater than 1,500 md. Most reservoirs are
depletion drive, Most of the 440 wells in the Sanga-Sanga block
are dual completions. They range in depth from 5,000 to 14,000
ft. The Sanga-Sanga block has three gathering system pressures,
high (950 psig), medium (375 psig), and low (150 psig).

367

RONALDGUNAWANand GEORGER DYER

2
3,06

9= =

where

Vg

generally accepted as the best correlation for wet gas wells. The
Gray correlation was developed from data on 108 wet gas cases,
mostly medium to high rate gas wells. The minimum wellhead
flowing pressure used to develop the correlation was 224 psig.
This correlation describes the pressure drop accurately over a
wide range of tubing sizes and water cuts in high-pressure
wells4). However, in wells with low well head flowing pressure
and low rates, the Gray correlation presents a problem. Field
results show that the Gray correlation under predicts the actual
flowing bottom hole pressure4~.

(1)

Tz

= 5.62

(67

-0.0031
(0,0031

P)

(2)

P)*

Determination
of Reservoir Abandonment
Pressure. Reservoir abandonment pressure can be estimated from Nodal
Analysis as the reservoir pressure where the inflow and tubing
performance curves will no longer intersect. At this point, Nodal
Analysis shows that the wellbore will load-up and the well will
die.

Turner et al. showed that usually wellhead conditions controlled


the onset of liquid load-up. The work of Turner shows that
liquid/gas ratios between I and 130 Bbl/MMSCF did not
influence the minimum lift velocity. The validity of the Turner
method has been tested for both high and low flowing wellhead
pressures (Fig. 2). In his original work, Turner suggested that a
safety factor of 20A be used in determining critical velocity.
Recent work by Coleman et al.z) however suggests that for high
flowing wellhead pressures (>500 psig FTHP) the 20A safety
factor should be used but for low flowing wellhead pressures
(<500 psigFTHp) no safety factor is required. Fig. 3 shows the
critical flowrate for 2 3/8, 2 7/8, 3 1/2, and 4 1/2 tubing at
various flowing wellhead pressures using Eq. 1.

Work by Coleman et aL2) shows that the critical rate


liquid-droplet-model
(Turner Method) accurately predicts
load-up for low flow rate and low wellhead flow pressure wells.
If the Turner critical rate is used as the criteria for determining
reservoir abandonment pressure then the required reservoir
pressure is significantly higher than that based on Nodal
Analysis. A comparison of the two methods is shown in Fig.4.
Since the Gray correlation under predicts the actual flowing
bottom hole pressure, it is not surprising that Nodal Analysis
using the Gray correlation also predicts a flowrate less than the
Turner critical rate at reservoir abandonment. However, if the
Turner rate is used as the rate at which the well will load up and
die then the Nodal Analysis can be used to predict the reservoir
abandonment pressure accurately.

Liquid load up can also be determined by


Nodal Analysis.
Nodal Analysis. Nodal Analysis predicts well performance by a
process that involves the intersection of the reservoir inflow
performance curve and tubing outflow performance curve. The
results of the integration can be plotted and analyzed. Fig. 4
shows an example of such a plot.
Inflow performance. The inflow performance relationship
(IPR) describes the relationship between gas production rate and
flowing bottomhole pressure. Inflow performance is controlled
by reservoir rock and fluid properties, including near-wellbore
effects, heterogeneities and reservoir pressure. A number of
expressions are available to describe the inflow performance of
a gas well. For pseudo steady state gas flow the inflow performance curve can be constructed using]):
0.000703

klr (P

~.

T p z [In (0.472

Determination

+ S + Dq]

Tubing

Size

The independence the critical flowrate to the amount of liquid


production is because the well is producing in the (annular) mist
flow regime, Therefore, the produced liquid is in individual
droplets and not in slugs or a continuous phase, The size of the
droplets is determined by the surface tension between the liquid
and the gas and not the amount of liquid being produced. If the
velocity in the tubing is high enough to lift the droplets to
surface, liquid will not accumulate in the tubing and well will
continue to flow.

(3)

Tubing Performance.
A tubing performance curve is a
prediction of the flowing bottomhole pressure at various gas
rates at a constant flowing wellhead pressure. A tubing performance curve is a function of fluid propefiies, tubing size, depth
and temperature. The tubing performance curves can be
developed using vertical single or two-phase flow correlations.
The Gray correlation

of the Optimum

The Turner Model shows that for wells producing less than i 30
Bbl/MMSCF of liquid, load up does not depend on how much
liquid the well makes but is a function of the production rate. In
other words a well that makes 50 Bbl/MMscf is not any more
likely to load up than a well that makes 5 Bbl/MMscf provided
both wells produce above the Turner critical flowrate.

2Pw f*)

rc/rw)

SPE 37001

Model
Development,
As shown in Eq.3, reservoir inflow
performance is strongly affected by permeability thickness (kb)
and skin factor, Our analysis shows that for gas rates below 25

is widely used in wet gas wells and is

368

TUBING SIZE OPTIMIZATION

SPE 37001
.

IN GAS DEPLETION DRIVE RESERVOIRS

MMscfd, normal rate of VICOS wells, the effect of Non-Darcy


coefficient is not significant. The other variables T, p and z do
not vary significantly and can be considered constants.
Tubing performance is a function of the produced
fluid
properties, tubing size, depth and temperature. Liquid yields,
tubing size and depth have significant impact on the tubing
performance. By determining the skin factor, the liquid yield
and the depth, the reservoir abandonment pressure for each
tubing size can be developed as a function of permeability
thickness by applying Nodal Analysis and Gas Load-up Technology.
The effect of the water yield, well depth, and skin factor on
reservoir abandonment pressure with 3 1/2 inch tubing is
presented in the following discussion. Other tubing sizes had
similar results. The effect of skin factor on reservoir abandonment pressure is presented in Fig. 5. As expected, Fig, 5 shows
that a higher skin factor increases the reservoir abandonment
pressure. However, as the permeability thickness increases, the
difference becomes smaller. For example in a 2,000 md-ft well,
the difference in reservoir abandonment pressure for skin factor
of 25 and 5 is 190 psi while in a 6,000 md-ft well the difference
is only 35 psi.
The effect of well depth on reservoir abandonment pressure is
presented in Fig. 6. A deeper wel I has a higher reservoir
abandonment pressure, but the effect in general is minor. For
example, for a 500 md-ft well the difference in reservoir
abandonment pressure between a 5,000 ft and a 13,000 ft
completion is only 150 psi. This difference decreases with
increasing permeability thickness, in a 6,000 md-ft completion
the reservoir abandonment pressure difference is only 100 psi.
The effect of water yield on reservoir abandonment pressure is
presented in Fig. 7. Increasing water yield will affect the
reservoir abandonment pressure because the flowing gradient
will increase as the yield increases, however, the effect is minor.
For example in a 2,000 md-ft completion the difference in
reservoir abandonment
pressure for water yield of 3.6
Bbl/MMscf and 150 Bbl/MMscf is only 110 psi,
The key point from the above sensitivity analysis is that a
difference in skin factor, liquid yield, or well depth will increase
or decrease the reservoir abandonment pressure, but, the general
relationship between reservoir abandonment pressure, permeability thickness (kb) and tubing size does not change.

Rate. The results are plotted in Figs. 8,9, and 10.


By comparing Fig. 8,9, and 10, although the absolute value of
the reservoir abandonment pressure changes with the changes in
the wellhead flowing pressure the difference caused by different
sizes of tubing remains minor in high permeability thickness
completions.
The results from the model are compared with actual field data
in Fig. 11. A flowing wellhead pressure of 375 psig is used
because not enough data is yet available on the new 150 psig
gathering system. The actual field data agrees quite well with
the theoretical model. For VICOS application, only 2 3/8 and
3 1/2 tubing can be used. Based on Figs. 8, 9, 10, and 11, 3
1/2 tubing should be used in wells with a permeability thickness
greater than 2,000 md-ft.
Refer to the above results, 7 (seven) Nilam gas wells with 2 3/8
tubing in the short string or single string were selected for a
tubing change-out (2 3/8 to 3 I/2). Each well has production
rates greater than 3 MMCFD in high pressure system (950 psig).
The Tubing Change-Out technique is limited to the short string
or single string completions since they do not require killing the
completion during the workover ( a plug is installed in the tubing
below the packer).
The developed model was used in the candidate selection
process to make sure that reserve recovery is not significantly
affected by changing out the existing 2 3/8 tubing with 3 1/2(
tubing. Nodal Analysis was used to calculate the production
increase by changing the tubing. The method used in the Nodal
Analysis was the same as used in the model, From the seven
selected wells, a total of 50 MMCFD was gained compare to 52
MMCFD predicted. Fig. 12 shows an example of a prediction
and the actual results of one of the tubing change-out well.
Conclusions

Tubing size does not have significant effect on reservoir


abandonment pressure in high permeability thickness depletion
drive reservoirs. Above 2,000 md-ft, the reservoir abandonment
pressure for 2 3/8, 2 7/8, 3 1/2, and 4 1/2 tubing is not
significantly different.
In wells with completions below 2,000 md-ti the determination
of the proper tubing size is more complicated and it appears that
smaller tubing may be economically justified.
Nomenclature

Application

of the Model,

A database of340

VICO

wells was

analyzed to determine average parameters for the model,


Table- I shows data used for the model. Using this data, a model
was generated for the three different pressure systems (950 psig,
375 psig, and 150 psig) and four different tubing sizes (2 3/8,
2 7/8, 3 1/2, and 4 1/2) with varying net permeability
thickness to determine reservoir pressure at the Turner Critical

A
D
h
k
P
P,
Pwf

=
=
=
=
=
=
=

flow area of the conduit, Lz, ft~


Non-Darcy flow coefficient, t/L3, (MMscf/D)-l
net pay, L, tl
effective gas permeability, L*, md
flowing tubing head pressure, m/Ltz, psi
average reservoir pressure, m/Lt2, psi
flowing bottomhole pressure, m/Lt2, psi

RONALD GUNAWAN and GEORGE R. DYER

~
%
rW
r,

=
=
=
=

=
=
=
=

n
z
P

gas flowrate, L3/t, MMscf/D


critical gas flowrate, L]/t, MMscf/D
welIbore radius, L,tl
drainage radius, L,ft
skin factor, dimensionless
temperature, T,OR
terminal velocity ofaparticle, L/t, ft/sec
gasdeviation factor, dimensionless
gasviscosity, m/Lt, cp

Acknowledgments

We acknowledge the management of VICO Indonesia and


Pertamina BPPKA for their permission to publish this paper.
Special thanks to Mr. Rick J. Louden who initiated and support
this study and to Mr. Edison Napitupulu for his support in
preparing this paper.
References

1.

2.

3.
4.
5.

6.

7.

8.
9.

10

11

12.
13.

Turner, R. G., Hubbard, M. G,, Dukler, A. E. : Analysis


and Prediction of Minimum Flow Rate for Continous
Removal of Liquids from Gas Wells, JPT (Nov. 1969)
1475.
Coleman, S. B., Clay, H. B., McCurdy, D. G., and Norris
111,H. L. : A New Look at Predicting Gas-Well Load-Up,
JP7( March 1991) 329.
Brown, K. E : The Technology of Artificial LiR Metods Vol. 4, PennWell Publishing Company, Tulsa ( 1984) 249.
Oudeman, P. : Improved Prediction of Wet-Gas-Well
Performance; SPE PE (Aug. 1990)212.
Coleman, S. B., Clay, H. B., McCurdy, D. G., and Norris
111,H. L. : Understanding Gas-Well Load-Up Behaviour7
JPT( March 1991) 334.
Coleman, S. B., Clay, H. B., McCurdy, D. G., and Norris
111, H. L : The Blowdown-Limit Model,.JPT ( March
1991)339.
Coleman, S. B., Clay, H. B., McCurdy, D, G., and Norris
III, H. L. : Applying Gas-Well Load-Up Technology,
JPT( March 199 I) 344.
Greene, W. R. : Analyzing the Performance of Gas Wells,
~PT(July 1983)1378.
Ikoku, Chi U. : Natural Gas Reservoir Engineering, John
Wiley & Sons, Tulsa (1984)141.
Libson, T. N., and Henry, J. R: Case Histories : Identification of and Remedial Action for Liquid Loading in Gas
Wells - Intermediate Shelf Gas Play: .Wf( Apr. 1980)685.
Moltz, A. K. :Predicting Gas Well Load-Up Using Nodal
presented at the 1992
System Analysis, pape; SPE
Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, Washington,
Oct. 4-7.
Brown, K. E,, and Lea, J. F. : Nodal System Analysis of
Oil and Gas Wells,.lPT( Oct. 1985)175.
Upchurch, E. R. : Expanding the Range for Predicting
Critical Flow Rates of Gas Wells Producing from Normally
Pressured Waterdrive Reservoirs, JPT ( Aug. 1989)3 12.

370

SPE 37001

SPE 3700!

TUBING SIZE OPTIMIZATION

TABLE
Completion
Condensate
Condensate

IN GAS DEPLETION DRIVE RESERVOIRS

1 -AVERAGE

Depth
Yield
Gravity

Gas Specific

Gravity

DATA FOR MODEL


.

(ft)
( BbllMMscf

9166
8.2

dimensionless

45

dimensionless

Water

Yield

( Bbl/MMscf

0.7
3.6

Water

Gravity

dimensionless

1.01

dimensionless

=
=

0.51

2000

0.05

Skin

Factor

Wellbore
Drainage

Radius
Radiua

Non Darcy

Fig.

1-

(ft)

Coefficient

East

(ft)
( d/MMscf

Kalimantan

371

Oil and

Gas

18.5

Fields

RONALD GUNAWAN and GEORGE R. DYER

<.-

A
.-

.. .-

..,*

.
,.
%
,
.
.,-.
---/

..*

m
.

SPE 37001

.:

..

0,1

Calculated Mlnimu;

Fig. 2- Critical

10
Flowrate [MMacfd)

Rate Database

..
Iu

Gas

gravity

= 0.7

a
7
6
5
4
3
1
1

250

Soo

750

1000

FTHP

Fig. 3- Critical

Flowrate

372

12s0

1S00

17S0

2000

2250

2S00

(psig)

for different

tubing sizes

TUBING SIZE OPTIMIZATION


.

SPE 37oO1

IN GAS DEPLETION DRIVE RESERVOIRS

500
L

Turners

critical

rate

<

original

interpretation

1.. . ~.,

1501

0.0

200

400

x.,

.
600

. ........
1000

800

GAS RATE (Mscf/d)

Fig. 4-

I&x

Determination

of Reservoir

Abandonment

Pressure

.0
a

4C0
2C0 .

lax

Zom

4CJ20

woo

6JXQ

7000

Eml

k h ( md-ft)

Fig. 5-

Effect
Case

of Skin Factor on Abandonment


: 3-1/2 tbg, Low Pressure
Gas

373

Pressure
System
(150

psig)

9m

RONALD GUNAWAN and GEORGE R. DYER

SPE 37001

%00

...........EEEEl
.-..............

1400

lzoo
~

woo

2
n

no

800

600
400
200

Oi

moo

2000

3000

4000

6000

5000

7000

8000

9000

k h ( md-ft)

Fig. 6-

Effect
Case

of Well Depth on Abandonment


: 3-1/2 tbg, Low Pressure
Gas

Pressure
System
(150

psig)

600
!400

g
w
n

1300
--.

----

W@w YIe1d=lWBBUMM8d

800

n
CL

600

--------

. . --------

--------

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . -----

400
200
0
0

woo

2000

3000

4000

5000

6000

7000

8000

k h (md-ft)
Fig. 7-

Effect
Case

of Water Yield on Abandonment


: 3-1/2 tbg, Low Pressure
Gas

374

Pressure
System
(150

psig)

9000

TUBING SIZE OPTIMIZATION

SPE 37oo1

IN GAS DEPLETION DRIVE RESERVOIRS

2-3/8

u
Zm

(199S ID)

2-7/8 (2 447 ID)

312

-..

(2.992 ID)

- 4-K? (3.9W

Iq

a
!03,

-------

k h ( md-ft)

Fig. 8-

Abandonment

Pressure

Case : Low Pressure

2m

for different

tubing

sizes

Gas System (150 psig)

2-?W(l

SQYID)

2.7/8 (244 flD)

&

V2(29WlD}

------

4- VZ(39WID)

El
txo.

tire.

o
0

a-n)

Uml

am

k h ( md-ft)

Fig. 9- Abandonment
Pressure for different tubing sizes
Case : Medium Pressure Gas System (375 psig)

375

L?mJ

RONALD GUNAWAN and GEORGE R. DYER

10

SPE 37001

4000
2-3/8

I
I
I

3%)0

3000

\:

(1.99S ID)
-

2.7/8 (244~

3.
----

K? (2.992
.--4

ID)
ID)

-W(3958ID)

2530

2000

ao

2000

4000

6000

8000

Qooo

moo

k h ( md-ft)

Fig.

10-

Abandonment
Case : High

MP Gas System

Pressure
for different
tubing sizes
Pressure
Gas System
(950 psig)

(375

pslg FTHP)

P-

c9ia3v2,

&

ActW4Daa3-v2

Mualc91a2-38

msl

mm

4(J3I

em

12col

KoM

k h ( md-ft)
Fig. 11 -Abandonment
Theoretical

Pressure
vs Actual

376

for2-3/8
Field Data

and

3-112

tbg

TUBING SIZE OPTIMIZATION

SPE 37001

IN GAS DEPLETION DRIVE RESERVOIRS

11

..-

Boo
9000

4 Eao

8000

4000

moo

3520

6000
5000
4000

\
\-

two

3000
-%
2000

moo

XIO

moo .

0,
3

Yea r

R,te@cur

Fig. 12-

(m!

tb, ng

Well

Rale

L43

Deliverability

l/~Tub,

ng

Forecast

377

Aclu,lf

late,

2 3/8

--

. --

WHPd,

vs 3 1/2

urren!tbo

tubing

flHPrJf3

(Well

1{2 TLw

A)