Foam Flow Behavior in Horizontal Wells: “Foamer Delivery Location”

Carolina Barreto, Research Assistant, MSc Student

Liquid loading or lack of ability to remove produced wellbore liquids is a common issue in wet gas production systems.  This issue can lead to production reduction, and consequently, shortening well life and ultimate recovery.  Foam assisted lift is one of the artificial lift methods to unload liquid from gas wells. In this method, the liquid is transported by means of dispersed gas bubbles resulting in less gas slippage and lower mixture density.  A surfactant or foamer and agitation are required in order to generate foam. The surfactant will act by reducing the surface tension and facilitating the foam stability.  The surface tension reduction stops in a critical micelle concentration (CMC), where molecules begin to form micelles in the bulk.  It has been shown that the use of foam as an artificial lift method improves liquid removal.

The main objective of this study is to determine the ideal injection point for foam-assiste lift in horizontal wells. A 2-in. ID facility with lateral and vertical sections is used to evaluate flow behavior at different lateral configurations, including toe-up, toe-down, and one-undulation. An anionic surfactant with a concentration above the CMC (3000 ppm) is injected at different locations to generate the foam. Surfactant injection locations are beginning of lateral section with static mixer, beginning of lateral section, riser base, and the sump in one-undulation configuration.  Foam characteristics, liquid removal efficiency, and pressure gradient along the section are measured to evaluate foam-lift performance. Specific goals for this project are:

  • Conduct a literature review on previous foam studies.
  • Perform experimental studies to determine the ideal surfactant injection point in horizontal wells.
  • Analyze the experimental data and evaluate the performances of common predictive tools.

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