American Oil and Gas Reporter - June 2020 - 59

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SpecialReport: Artificial Lift Technology
tonomous capabilities will be a true differentiator."
To illustrate the point, Cueto references
a pilot project consisting of fewer than
100 wells in which Production 4.0 and
ForeSite solutions were installed. "The
total savings were on the order of $17
million annually," he reports. "The investment in the technology becomes minimal compared to the savings provided
by maximizing performance and minimizing downtime."
Integrating autonomous well operations with high-frequency data also has
several secondary benefits, including
improved equipment reliability and enhanced safety and environmental performance. Moreover, the insights delivered give operators big-picture perspectives on critical operational questions,
such as determining the optimal lift solution for every stage of a well's life.
"This technology is all about answering
those kinds of questions and taking the
most effective action," Cueto avers.
He envisions autonomous well control
evolving similar to autonomous vehicles.
"The technology will continuously make
optimal decisions in real time to ensure
uptime and safety," Cueto remarks, adding
that autonomous workflows one day may
be combined with advancements such as
Weatherford-patented rigless intervention
techniques. Just as an autonomous vehicle
makes a decision to turn a certain direction
to reach a designated destination and
then executes that action, autonomous
well control systems could make a decision
such as when is the right time to change
out a downhole pump and then seamlessly
program the execution of such task.
"That is the path forward," he envisions.
Filling The Gap
With prices making a gradual recovery
since bottoming out in late April, producers
across the country are looking at the economics associated with restarting wells.
As they do, they also are re-evaluating
the possibilities of more fully leveraging
existing technology to drive as much
value as possible to the bottom line.
There is no better case in point than
fiberglass sucker rods, asserts Russ Rutledge, chief executive officer at Superod.
According to Rutledge, operators are
taking advantage of the unique weight,
strength and elasticity attributes of fiberglass rods to not only lower production
costs, but also expand the application

wheelhouse of beam pumping to higher-rate wells. Specifically, he says fiberglass rods provide a new option for
wells in which rates have declined below
the levels where ESPs achieve maximum
efficiency, but above the operating range
of beam pumps equipped with conventional steel rods,
"Fiberglass rods allow beam pumps
to fill a significant gap between ESPs
and traditional beam pumping technology,"
he remarks. "These are wells that have
declined to between 500 and 1,000 bbl/d
of fluid. Fiberglass rods are lighter and
stronger than steel, so they can move
more fluid using the same or smaller size
pump, and they do it at much lower cost
than an ESP."
In Permian Basin tight oil wells, initial
daily production rates as great as 5,000
barrels require an ESP, but production
declines quickly, and wells invariably
cycle through different ESPs before ending
up on rod lift, Rutledge notes. "Fiberglass
rods let producers move to beam pumping
sooner, which saves money, reduces downtime and recovers more oil," he remarks.
Installing fiberglass rods in Permian
horizontals that previously produced with
ESPs has kept Superod busy the past few
months, Rutledge reports. "Now, as operators start to figure out which wells to
restart and how to accomplish that, they
are recognizing that there is no better
nor more efficient way to move fluid to
surface than fiberglass rod pumping."

Getting the fluid column lifted off the
perforations as quickly as possible can
be important when restoring shut-in wells,
Rutledge adds. "Because the wells have
not been produced for some time, they
have high fluid levels that need to be
produced to restart production. The faster
water can be moved off, the sooner they
can get to oil," he says.
For wells with fiberglass rods, the
restart process is enhanced by the rods'
inherent corrosion resistance and high
lifting capacity. And once they are back
on line, those same attributes reliably
keep production flowing to the tank
battery. "The composition of the fiberglass
rod body and the patented steel end fitting
creates a product that will last longer
and handle more load than any other
sucker rods on the planet," he claims.
Failure-Proof Design
The life cycle cost and performance
metrics of fiberglass rods have been
further augmented by new automated assembly procedures that ensure "every rod
is perfect every time," as Fred Morrow,
Superod's vice president of engineering,
puts it.
"What is an acceptable failure rate?
Is it 1%? How about 0.1%? At 0.1%, one
in every 1,000 rods fail," Morrow observes.
"If wells average 100 rods apiece, every
tenth well will have some type of rod
failure. That is unacceptable. We have to
be 100% failure-proof, 100% of the time.

The material properties of fiberglass rods-including light weight and high strength-
allow them to move more fluid than steel rods with the same size of pump, giving operators a new option for filling the operational gap between electric submersible pumps
and beam pumps as initial IPs decline. Operators in the Permian Basin are successfully
using Superod fiberglass strings in horizontal wells producing up to 1,000 bbl/d, saving
cost and minimizing potential downtime.

JUNE 2020 59



American Oil and Gas Reporter - June 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Oil and Gas Reporter - June 2020

Contents
American Oil and Gas Reporter - June 2020 - Intro
American Oil and Gas Reporter - June 2020 - 1
American Oil and Gas Reporter - June 2020 - 2
American Oil and Gas Reporter - June 2020 - Contents
American Oil and Gas Reporter - June 2020 - 4
American Oil and Gas Reporter - June 2020 - 5
American Oil and Gas Reporter - June 2020 - 6
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