Plunger Lift - PLS

Discipline: Production and Completions Engineering
Level: Intermediate
Instructors who teach this course:
  • Dr. James F. Lea


  • About the course
  • Designed For
  • You will learn
  • Course Content
There are about 400,000 gas wells in the USA and most are liquid loaded. Solving this problem may increase production as much as ~40%. Plunger lift is a very popular method of gas well dewatering as it is initially inexpensive and can last a long time with no outside energy required for most wells. The components of plunger systems are described and the cycles of each method are shown in detail and tools for analysis are provided to participants. Methods of analysis include analysis by shape of the SCADA traces of CP, TP, rate, and LP. Also, analysis of the cycles is facilitated by use of a provided spreadsheet that allows determination of the cycle slug size, the CP required to lift it at the correct speed, the minimum time for shut-in for the plunger to fall, the maximum liquid possible, the cycle times, and other information on the plunger cycle.

Proven methods of how to adjust cycles to increase production is presented. Other details of plunger lift operation are presented with the focus on trouble free cycles and more gas production. Continuous (bypass), conventional, gas assisted and casing plunger lift are presented. Special equipment and techniques used in unconventional or horizontal wells are discussed. The course will consist of slide presentations, example problems, and discussion. A few videos will be shown. Some programs and SS will be distributed to the participants. Effects of deviation on operation are presented. One personal computer is provided, at additional cost, for each two participants.
Engineers and field technicians that design, operate, monitor, and optimize plunger lift operations.
How To:
  • Recognize liquid loading in a gas well using field symptoms, using critical velocity, and nodal analysis. Use of decline curve is presented.
  • Understand the advantages and disadvantages of various methods of solution, including plunger, and under what conditions each one works best
  • Apply, design, and diagnose continuous plunger lift and conventional plunger lift
  • Increase production when operating plunger lift
  • Know when conventional plunger ceases to work, what are other workable plunger related systems to switch to for continued production
  • Recognize important considerations for unconventional and horizontal wells
  • Introduction of loading, solution methods
  • Comparison of various AL methods to drawdown capabilities
  • Continuous Plunger Lift: cycle, components, types of plungers used for well conditions, when to use and when switch to conventional, benefits/problems, diagnostics, safety
  • Conventional Plunger Lift: cycle, components, types of plungers used for well conditions, when to use, diagnostics using CP/TP plots and SS, methods of tracking plungers from surface, other troubleshooting, evaluating effects of compression, effects on production of wear, setting EOT, safety
  • Trouble shooting using decline curves, SCADA traces, and cycle set points
  • Drawdown capability of plunger lift
  • IPRs for plunger lift
  • Systems used to track plunger in the well
  • What systems to use when conventional plunger no longer works