Sucker rod pump downhole dynamometer card determination based on a novel finite element method

Patrick Eisner, Clemens Langbauer, Rudolf Fruhwirth

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An advanced dynamic finite element model is presented that diagnoses the downhole pump performance of sucker rod pumping systems, applicable for any pumping conditions and equipment used. The results are compared to downhole measurements and other evaluation techniques. Buckling is an undesirable phenomenon occurring in sucker rod pumping. It essentially depends on the plunger load, which is a function of time and typically not measured but evaluated by diagnostic tools. Existing diagnostic tools exhibit specific limitations that reduce their applicability and output quality. This paper introduces a diagnostic tool, which can predict the rod string's stress field and its movement not only at the pump plunger but all along the rod string. Moreover, this tool can account for the interaction between rod guides and tubing as well as rod string and tubing. To this end, innovative tube-to-tube contact modeling is applied. The high precision results are accomplished by running a dynamic finite element simulation. The basic principle is to evaluate the plunger load incrementally by consecutively applying restarts of each time step, fully automated and computation time optimized. This publication shows that both the plunger load and the rod string’s dynamic behavior can be determined for any given wellbore as long as the borehole trajectory and surface dynamometer measurements are known. The dynamic finite element model is evaluated for a deviated system and a vertical system equipped with two different downhole pump types. Comparing the simulation results with the available downhole measurements and the analytical solution shows an excellent match, whereas the proposed solution provides a considerable amount of details about the overall system’s behavior. The evaluation has shown that the performance of standard and novel downhole pump types can be successfully diagnosed in detail, which is just possible under limitations with commercial software solutions. This tool can correctly predict whether or not the sucker rod string is subjected to buckling during the downstroke, which has a considerable effect on increasing the mean time between failures of a sucker rod pumping system. From the economic point of view, this means that the economic limit of a wellbore can be postponed. The novelty of the shown technique is the consideration of the full 3D trajectory and the implementation of only physical properties, result in an excellent accuracy of the output.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2-220
Number of pages19
JournalLiquid and Gaseous Energy Resources
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jun 2021

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