Troubleshooting - Mechanical or Operational
1. Pump will not pressure up
If the pump will not pressure up (the basic assumption is the wing valve on surface has been closed and the pumping unit was left pumping), there are several things to check to determine where the problem may exist. In no order of preference, the following things should be checked:
a) check the fluid level in the well to ensure there is fluid available to pump
b) space the plunger in the pump to ensure that it is as close to tapping as possible
c) flush fluid or hot oil with clean fluid to circulate any debris off the valves in the pump
d) shut the well in for a minimum of 2 to 4 hours or overnight and start the well back up after being shut in. This will allow for fluid inflow into the well-bore.
e) perform a dynamometer to check the condition of the pump
f) if the wing valve on surface is closed and the pump pressures up on the upstroke, but loses the pressure on the downstroke, it is possible that the standing valve is damaged (washed, plugged, worn, etc.)
g) ensure that the check valve is in place and not leaking, as this would cause the fluid to circulate up the tubing and back down the casing
h) watch carefully if the casing pressures up while pressuring up the tubing. This is an indication of a hole in the tubing.
i) if the casing is full of fluid, but the pump can not pressure up, it may be an indication that the strainer nipple or standing valve is plugged/scaled off and no fluid is entering into the barrel (starved pump)
j) if the pump pressures up very slowly may be an indication of a worn traveling valve and/or plunger, or no fluid in the well, or the fluid is very gassy and it takes a long time to compress this mixture
k) if the pump will not pressure up or only marginally, it could indicate that a very deep rod part has occurred and the only displacement in the well is from rod displacement
l) check the pump description and calculate the stroke length and confirm the surface unit stroke. It may be that the pump stroke is too short for the surface stroke length and the pump is unseating itself. You would see a sudden drop in pressure near the end of the upstroke as the pump unseats itself.
m) if the pump pressures up and then loses pressure at or near the end of the upstroke, check what jewelery is in the pump. It could be that a Side-Kicker was installed in the pump and the action of the mandrel pushing the traveling valve off the seat will cause the pressure loss at the end of the upstroke.
n) If the fluid level is high and the pump will not pressure up, confirm gradient of the fluid in the annulus. It could be that the "fluid" is in fact foam and the pump cannot pump this mixture.
o) Check on the downhole configuration in the well. The pump may be landed up-hole or no separation is occurring at the pump, causing a very foamy mixture to enter the pump
p) Monitor the existing tubing and casing pressure. If the casing pressure is regulated with a Baird valve, it could be set so high that the additional back pressure on the reservoir is preventing inflow of fluid into the wellbore.
q) If a seized pump is suspected, depending where the pump plunger is seized in the barrel will exhibit different symptoms. A hot polished rod may be evident, the prime mover will be excessively loaded at one point in the stroke, no production, or the biggest tell-tale is the polished rod clamp will separate from the carrier bar of the pumping unit on the downstroke.
r) A hot polished rod could be due to no fluid in the well, a gas locked pump, a scaled off pump strainer nipple and the pump is starved for fluids, or pumping too fast.
s) If the pump pressures up OK and the the well is still not making any production, it could be due to either a plugged or broken flowline. Paraffin, a hydrate or a stuck pig all could cause a plugged flowline. The broken flowline is the worst possible scenario for the producer and they should be looking for fluid on surface, or monitor pressure drops along the flow line.
t) if the bottomhole pump must be on tap, it is recommended that a light tap be set. What is meant by a light tap is the pump is lowered 2 to 3 inches until a tap is felt or by speeding up the gas prime mover the well goes from not tapping to just tapping.
Ph. (403) 347-1128
Fax (403) 343-3210