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Intermittent Gas Lift Used in Hydrate Mitigation and Flare Reduction in Algeria

Hassi Messaoud is a mature oil field with more than 1,100 production wells. Approximately half of the wells are natural flow and the other half use continuous gas lift (CGL) with concentric (CCE) strings. To reduce the usage of the high volume of lift gas, intermittent gas lift (IGL) was selected in a pilot project to evaluate its applicability in the field for wells characterized by high gas/oil ratio (GOR) and without continuous concurrent water injection (with lift gas) to dissolve salt deposited downhole.

Production Overview

Field production began in 1957. During the first 20 years, all production wells were naturally flowing; in 1980, gas lift was introduced into the field development and has remained the only artificial-lift method. Electrical submersible pumping systems have been introduced into the field recently. Of the production wells, 795 are flowing while 376 are shut in for a variety of reasons. Among the flowing production wells, 409 are naturally flowing and 386 are artificial-lift wells.

Production fluids are processed by 25 separator stations throughout the field. Gas usually is compressed first at the satellite level; then, at the central processing facilities, the gas is further compressed to the pressure required for injection into the reservoir. Water is treated by the addition of surfactants. The treated water is pumped into the water-injection network to be used in both reservoir-pressure maintenance and salt wash in wells.

In the field’s first years, the oil-production rate increased quickly as the number of wells grew. Since 2007, oil production has declined quickly in naturally flowing wells. The steady increase in oil production from gas-lift wells offset the fast production decline in the full field. However, the oil production from gas-lift wells has leveled off during the past 2 years, while the production from naturally flowing wells recovered slightly. The gas lift wells contribute approximately 40% of the field production.

This article, written by JPT Technology Editor Chris Carpenter, contains highlights of paper SPE 191542, “Hydrate Mitigation and Flare Reduction Using Intermittent Gas Lift in Hassi Messaoud, Algeria,” by Ala Eddine Aoun, SPE, Faouzi Maougal, and Lahcene Kabour, Sonatrach, and Tony Liao, SPE, Brahim AbdallahElhadj, and Sabrina Behaz, Halliburton, prepared for the 2018 SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, Dallas, 24–26 September. The paper has not been peer reviewed.
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Intermittent Gas Lift Used in Hydrate Mitigation and Flare Reduction in Algeria

01 November 2019

Volume: 71 | Issue: 11

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