Release Date: March 7, 2000
|DOE Selects Second Round of Projects to Boost
Low-Cost Stripper Gas Production
The U.S. Department of Energy has selected two research projects that could help sustain, or perhaps boost, production from many of the nation's 192,000 "stripper" natural gas wells.
More than half of the onshore natural gas wells in the lower-48 states are classified as "stripper" wells, meaning that they produce a very low volume of natural gas. Each year more and more wells are added to this category -- the number is up by more than 30,000 in the last seven years -- and a growing number of these wells are being plugged and abandoned.
To develop ways to reduce operating costs and keep gas flowing from the wells, the department has chosen: [Click on company name for more details]
The two projects were the second group selected by the Energy Department in its program to keep low-volume natural gas wells in production. Last September, the department chose James Engineering, inc., Marietta, Ohio, and Holditch Reservoir Technologies Consulting Services, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to develop special software programs to help operators prolong production from stripper gas wells.
Stripper gas wells are defined as those that produce 60,000 cubic feet or less of natural gas per day. These wells account for about 8% of natural gas produced domestically, excluding Alaska and offshore sites.
Although gas stripper wells account for a relatively small portion of gas supply, preserving their production can be a key factor in meeting future domestic gas demands. The United States is projected to increase its demand for natural gas by more than one-third during the next 10 years.
The department's National Energy Technology Laboratory will manage these projects. The Laboratory is the major research arm of the department's Office of Fossil Energy.
DOE Stripper Well Round Two Selections - Public Abstracts
Advanced Resources International, Inc.
Stripper gas wells are an important source of domestic energy supply and under constant threat of permanent loss due to marginal economics. In 1998, 192 thousand stripper gas wells produced over a Tcf of gas, at an average rate of less than 16 Mcfd. This represents about 57% of all producing gas wells in the onshore lower-48 states, yet only 8% of production. Reserves of stripper gas wells are estimated to be only 1.6 Tcf, or slightly over 1% of the onshore lower 48 total (end of the year 1996 data). Obviously, stripper gas wells are at the very margin of economic sustenance. As the demand for natural gas in the U.S. grows to the forecasted estimate of over 30 Tcf annually by the year 2010, supply from current conventional sources is expected to decline. Therefore, an important need exists to fully exploit known domestic resources of natural gas, including those represented by stripper gas wells.
This project will develop an efficient and low-cost methodology to broadly categorize the well performance characteristics for a stripper gas field, identify the high-potential candidate wells for remediation, and diagnose the specific causes for well under-performance. A further objective is to identify/develop, evaluate and test "new and novel," economically viable remediation options. Finally, it is the objective of this project that all the methods and technologies developed in this project be widely applicable to stripper gas wells of all types across the country.
The proposed technical approach involves the application of various "new and novel" analytic and remediation technologies that are believed well suited to achieving the project objectives. On the analytic side, it is proposed to utilize customized, variable compressibility type curves for analyzing well performance, and hence for selecting remediation candidates. It is also proposed to use artificial neural nets for identifying patterns in well performance, and hence diagnose the causes of well under-performance in a universally applicable yet customized fashion.
On the remediation side, several diverse "new and novel" technologies are proposed, each targeting a different well under-performance problem. In the case of tight reservoirs, the treatment of previously unstimulated horizons is a high-potential objective, and the use of a new, low-cost single-state fracture treatment is proposed. For damaged completions, where near well damage bypass is needed, low-cost propellant stimulation technology is proposed. Where fluid buildup is a problem, a new telescoping velocity string to uncover perforations from standing water is proposed. For the field demonstration, it is proposed to focus this aspect of the project in Texas and Oklahoma. Finally, in terms of a final product and technology transfer, the proposed approach is to prepared a "Stripper Gas Well Enhancement" manual, inclusive of analytic tools, to be distributed free of charge to stripper gas well operators. Dissemination of this technology would be accomplished via traditional methods such as workshops, technical symposia and journal articles.
Advanced Resources International would be the lead R&D contractor for the project, providing technical expertise in the areas of reservoir engineering, artificial neural net technology, and well remediation technology. ARI would also manage the field demonstrations, and be responsible for technology transfer and overall project management. In addition to ARI, the project team consists of Union Pacific Resources, NSI Technologies, and J Integral Engineering.
Petroleum Asset Management Company
Project Objectives: The principal benefits to be established through this grant include the following results for coal bed methane stripper wells:
Technical Approach: Utilization of proprietary Petroleum Asset Management Company (PAMCO) pumping technology, using a computer controlled "pump-on-demand" feature to sense water in the bore hole and remove the water more efficiently than currently possible. With only one moving part below ground (a ball valve), PAMCO expects to significantly reduce operating and maintenance costs. Remote monitoring and control of the well will be accomplished through a built-in satellite uplink connected to the well site by proprietary web-based software, with access to the well site over the Internet from any computer, anywhere in the world, 24-hours-a-day. Remote, near-real time alarm and messaging will be available at low cost through an existing low earth orbit satellite system (Orbcomm). R&D includes operating the pumping system off of bore hole gas (with or without an air compressor) and powering the controller/communicator with solar power, thereby eliminating the need for external power.
Grant Participants: PAMCO, Nashville, TN, and a select industry partner and in additional collaboration with Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, KY.
|Contact: David Anna, DOE/NETL, 412-386-4646|