Worldwide, many strategies for producing unconventional plays are being executed currently, in multiple cases production acceleration is used. In the Eagle Ford (EF) play it has been necessary to learn from different strategies until establishing a process that promotes operating by exception and is economically sound. The life cycle in an Eagle Ford well begins with casing flow during initial production (IP) phase until pressures have depleted enough for installing tubing. During this period wells flow against the High Pressure (HP) system which usually operates between 950 to 1050 psig with the objective of minimizing compressor needs. After installing tubing with a retrievable packer (standard size is 2-3/8” in 5-1/2” casing), wells are switched to the Low Pressure (LP) system, normally operating between 60 to 75 psig. Once the wells are no longer capable of sustaining flow, they are switched to artificial lift (continuous gas lift) and from that point forward are operated until rates dictate a different artificial lift method is required (normally gas-assisted plunger or intermittent gas lift).
In this presentation, we will discuss the strategy for producing wells during the LP phase, using automated choke control along with guidelines around timing for initiating gas lift. In addition, advantages of this standard operating philosophy and the process for determining when the critical rate for each well is achieved will also be discussed.