A major producer in South Texas had been using a competitive controller to operate their plunger lift wells. Production on one particular well was as low as 235 Mcf/d, which was below what was expected.
A major producer in the San Juan Basin was faced with recurring costs of replacing thousands of arrival sensors every year because of failures. Even when the sensors were working, they would routinely miss arrivals, which affected the production. They ran a detailed study to compare all of the available plunger arrival sensors to see which was the most accurate and reliable to help reduce their costs.
Producers are currently using the rise time of a plunger and the associated average velocity (v = well depth/rise time) for both safety and production optimization. Unfortunately, this assumes that the plunger started at bottom and that it travels at a consistent velocity towards surface. Without measuring the velocity at surface, the operator is unaware of the actual velocity of the plunger as it strikes the spring inside the lubricator. In many cases, plungers, springs, and lubricators can sustain damage or even fail altogether causing increased equipment costs, lost production, and additional safety concerns.