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The gas lift design technique is the result of empirical evidence gathered at the wellhead. Because the design technique is generally successful it is believed the theories of valve performance are also correct. Flow testing of gas lift valves has provided more accurate performance models but those models have not been incorporated into the design technique.
The annulus gas balance concept will be introduced and used to explain how tested valve performance models can be used to perform analysis on gas lift wells. Data collected from an unconventional well be analyzed and compared to traditional analysis methods.
Standard practice for gas lift was developed decades ago without the benefit of modern tools and test data. We now have the tools and data to perform more accurate design and analysis. We should begin to change ‘standard practice’ to reflect our new understanding of how gas lift works.
Ken has spent his professional career working with Gas Lift and particularly the flow performance of gas lift valves. That career has spanned 40 years working with Merla, Otis, and finally Decker Technology, Inc.
He served as the chairman of the original API 11V2 RP document that defined how gas lift valves are to be tested. The Valve Performance Clearinghouse (VPC) was created and administered by Ken for 17 years before being donated to Louisiana State University. He has consulted on gas lift projects around the world, wrote computer programs to simulate and analyze gas lift wells, written numerous SPE papers, is a regular presenter for the Gas Lift Workshop, and was named an SPE Artificial Lift Legend in 2018.