Plunger lift is a form of artificial lift popular in both Canada and the United States for natural gas wells due to its low installation and operating costs.
Despite the simplicity of a plunger lift system, optimization can be difficult due to a number of challenges, including varying degrees of operator knowledge, availability of time, large numbers of wells, changing well conditions, data quality, data accessibility, varying plunger lift
controllers, limited understanding of downhole conditions, etc.
The Montney asset team for a major Canadian oil and gas company had long experienced many of these challenges with their plunger lift wells in the Montney shale play in British Columbia, Canada.
The client team worked with Ambyint to deploy its InfinityPL plunger lift optimization solution to improve the performance of its plunger lift wells and reduce the time required for the client team to manually analyze and optimize wells.
The client team began its engagement with Ambyint through a pilot on 30 plunger lift wells. Over the 3-month pilot, the client team manually implemented setpoint recommendations generated by Ambyint’s InfinityPL solution on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. By the end of the 3-month period, the pilot wells demonstrated a 3% increase in gas production and a 14% increase in normal arrivals, a key indicator of well reliability. Additionally, the pilot wells realized a 64% reduction in venting events and methane emissions related to venting.
Based on the success of the pilot, the client team moved forward with a commercial deployment of the Ambyint solution, which involved direct integration with the existing SCADA system and the implementation of write-back capabilities for autonomous control of plunger lift RTU setpoints. Within 90 days, working closely with the client SCADA team, Ambyint moved the first well into fully autonomous control mode. Within another 90 days, the teams had deployed over 90 wells into autonomous control mode.
The performance of the 93 wells, since deployment of autonomous control mode, has been impressive. Gas production has increased by 6% relative to Plan since deployment of autonomous control mode. Normal arrivals have increased by 27%, and methane venting events have decreased by 75%. In addition, the client team estimates that deployment of Ambyint has reduced annual time by field staff spent manually analyzing and optimizing wells by 2,200 hours.
Ambyint would like the customer to walk away with the following key points:
- Ambyint can improve gas production from plunger lift well by as much as 6%
- Ambyint can reduce venting of methane from plunger lift wells by as much as 75%
- Ambyint can improve workforce scalability by heavily automating manual well optimization time
- Deployment of Ambyint's InfinityPL solution can be completed in 90 days
- The business case for deployment of Ambyint's InfinityPL solution is compelling