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Can Engineers Prolong Oil and Gas Well Assets While Optimizing Costs?

By: , Posted on: March 16, 2016

Fundamentals of Gas Lift Engineering

In the latest Author Q&A we ask Ali Hernandez what makes his new book an invaluable read

Fundamentals of Gas Lift Engineering: Well Design and Troubleshooting

1. Why would readers want to read your book?

There is a clear lack of updated publications that can be consulted to understand, design, and troubleshoot gas lifted wells using today´s newly developed and proven technologies, such as new hardware and software, as well as highly precise troubleshooting tools and techniques. Additionally, the books that are available today are not suitable for readers that are not familiar with gas lift because these publications either lack substance (a problem usually found from authors with a strong academic background but with no hands-on experience with gas lift field applications) or are too cumbersome to read because the subjects are presented with very few figures and because highly complex design and troubleshooting techniques are not broken down into their simpler components.

The new book addresses each subject starting from its physical principle in a simple and easy to understand way and, as the subject is developed, the explanations are presented in increasing order of complexity, frequently backed by either a strong field experience in actual oil wells or by the results found from years working on research projects and joint industry research programs (all the time keeping in mind the fact that the reader is a potential user of sophisticated computer programs to design and troubleshoot gas lift wells). All these advantages will help keep the reader wanting read more.

There are several reasons for a person to want to read a book of this type: 1) Engineers (experienced or not) that are beginning to work in a gas lift field and have the urgent need to learn how to design gas lift wells as fast as possible to be productive in their jobs; 2) College students taking a sophomore or senior level production engineering course or are engaged in a research activity at a graduate level; 3) Operators and technicians that need to understand the reasons why the well is not producing as efficiently as it could; 4) Any engineer working for an company in the oil sector (including service companies or operating companies) that needs to expand his or her knowledge in artificial lift through either self education or specialized courses provided by companies; 5) Gas Lift instructors (either college professors or instructors of industry courses) that need to enhance their courses and/or provide a reading material for their students.

2. What subject areas and industries does this book directly relate to?

The upstream sector of the oil industry: Oil Production Engineering / Artificial lift.

3. What are the biggest pain points in the industry?

The high personnel mobility within the oil production sector and lack of economic incentives for young engineers to specialize in one particular area have contributed to the fact that the number of gas lift specialists with many years of experience is very small and an even smaller number of young engineers is ready to progressively take the place of current experts in the near future.

Young engineers everywhere are highly trained in the use of one, or several, specialized software to design and troubleshoot gas lift wells but with very little physical understanding of the gas lift process. This results in a dramatic inability to find opportunities to increase liquid production and in inefficient designs, abundant sources of instabilities and equipment failures, and many other problems that increase the cost of production (as the injection gas/liquid ratio is not optimized and surface facilities are operated outside their recommended operational limits).

With current low oil prices, managers are pressed to make drastic cuts on operating and capital expenditures. Economic decisions made on apparently cheap alternatives of surface facilities result in highly inefficient operations of gas lift wells. A classical example is the selection of higher inlet compressor pressures to save on power consumption; however, the back pressures that these high inlet pressures impose on gas lifted wells result in an increase of the injection gas/liquid ratio and a decrease in the liquid production. A highly educated artificial lift team can help management make the right decisions for a gas lift field during precarious times.

Low oil prices also increase the need for operating companies to improve the efficiency of the lifting process. Well educated gas lift engineers can find opportunities to increase production while reducing gas consumption at the same time.

4. What problems/challenges does this book address and what problem does it solve for your readers?

  • Selecting the right completion for a given gas lift well and operational condition. This can increase the liquid production, reduce the gas consumption, and stay away from complex and detrimental wellhead instabilities.
  • Identifying the right design technique for current and future operational conditions, as well as determining possible inherent flaws in different design procedures that are easy to overlook.
  • Identifying sources of instabilities in gas lift designs.
  • Quantifying the flexibility of a gas lift design to cope with changing operational conditions, such as an increase in the water cut of the production fluids.
  • Approaching gas lift troubleshooting in a systematic way to, by a process of elimination, find the root cause of many types of problems that are found in the operation of a gas lifted well. Gas lift is the most difficult artificial lift method to troubleshoot and, in consequence, troubleshooting analyses deserve to be explained in detail and from many angles.

5. What topics and subjects does this book uniquely address and what value does it add to the industry?

  • The results of many research projects on gas lift valve dynamics and intermittent gas lift have not been published in a book of this type.
  • Many limitations on the implementation of several types of completions are presented for the first time. The reader will find it very useful to know the limitations of inefficient completions to avoid investing on ideas that are not as good as they look.
  • A variety of gas lift design procedures for continuous gas lift are presented in a way that is unique and easy to understand.
  • A large number of troubleshooting examples that are simply not covered anywhere else.
  • Intermittent gas lift design procedures for simple type completions, as well as for different types of accumulation chamber, are presented for the first time.

6. Why did you choose Elsevier to publish this work?

Some colleagues recommended Elsevier to me because, based on their own experience, Elsevier facilitates the work of the author to get the job done (happily, I found this to be true).

Other colleagues pointed out to me the fact that Elsevier can reach a wide range of potential readers, in many places around the world, as compared to other options such as, for example, SPE, which was my original choice. (I found this to be true many weeks ago through a simple search that resulted in many sites that were offering the book for preordering on line).

The attitude of Katie Hammon (respectful, patient, persistent, etc) made it a reality! Thanks

You can download a sample chapter from the book below on “Total system analysis applied to gas lift design”

Want to read more? You can save up to 25% on your own copy of Fundamentals of Gas Lift Engineering when you purchase via the Elsevier store, simply enter STC215 at the checkout!

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