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Plunger Lift Overview

Plunger Lift can pay for itself in as little as a few weeks!*

Our extensive product line of Plunger Lift solutions are meticulously engineered and manufactured to efficiently lift and remove accumulated liquids to restore production in marginal or aging wells suffering from low bottom hole pressure and/or higher gas-to-liquid ratios. Pro-Seal lift Systems offers an array of Plunger Lift products to best address the requirements of your well. Since 1986, Pro-Seal Lift Systems has been the innovator in Artificial Lift Technology. Having developed the patented Disc Plunger and the original Ball & Sleeve Plunger in 1998, Pro-Seal Lift Systems has a combined dozen patents as well as current applications focused on environmental, safety, and production challenges.

Plunger Lift is a free moving piston within the tubing string of a gas well. It includes a down hole bumper spring set via a wire line service, a lubricator mounted bumper spring at the surface, a surface sensor, a method of ‘catching’ the plunger, a mandatory motor valve mounted in the flow line, and an electronic controller to close and open the motor valve in conjunction with the arrival of the plunger at the surface.

For proper control of the system, the sales line is re-routed through the lubricator. Plunger Lift works best with open-ended tubing, i.e. no packer. If a packer is present, then holes can be shot in the tubing. The exception to the open-ended tubing preference is the use of the shuttle ball plunger, a two-piece, continuous run plunger.
Because surfactants react primarily with water, the plunger lift method is preferred for those wells that have a high oil cut and little water.

Compared with the Soap Stick Launcher, Plunger Lift can be more expensive to move from one well to another, requiring a wire line and roustabout crew. Additionally, it is an operational challenge. It can be finicky and sensitive to changing conditions such as line pressure, Controller error or most commonly, human error.

A candidate well should be placed on plunger lift early while well conditions are more favorable for overcoming operator error and/or inexperience.

To learn more about the correct plunger lift option for various well conditions, please visit Plunger Lift Primer.

The purpose of plunger lift is to move the liquid at the bottom of the tubing toward the surface. Formation gas is the power source for moving the liquid. The plunger enables the gas to carry the fluid on its way to the surface. The control of time spent flowing, after-flowing and shut-in (closed) determines the action of the plunger. The amount of liquid to be carried and the volume/pressure of the gas are critical factors, also. Too much liquid can prevent the gas and plunger from making the trip up the tubing. Not enough fluid causes the plunger to rise too quickly, damaging the spring housing and plunger.

When the gas to liquid ratio is shifted toward liquid, then a more efficient plunger is required to conserve the gas supply. The goal is to make each MCF (thousand cubic feet) carry the maximum amount of liquid possible to the surface. An inefficient spiral plunger, for example, will let liquid slip downward, past the plunger, where it must be re-lifted a second or third time. When the gas available is below the critical rate, then a more efficient plunger is required. Efficiency is not the primary problem however, when there is sufficient gas available, hence the occasional use of the spiral plunger in an appropriate well.

Types of Plungers

*Assumes average Plunger Lift cost of $4500 with an increase of 50 MCF/day @ $2.00 per MCF.