Colorado Patent of the Month – October 2023

Well Master Corporation, innovators in plunger lift systems for the oil and gas industry, has been granted a patent for their multi-stage downhole tool movement control system. This cutting-edge system is designed to control the speed of downhole tools, particularly plungers, as they move within a wellbore’s production string. 

Plungers are common downhole tools which operate the entire length of the production line. Its job is to help lift fluids from the well to the surface, but doing so efficiently is no easy task. The speed at which the plunger moves can greatly affect its effectiveness. Too slow, and it won’t capture all the fluids; too fast, and it may cause damage. That’s where the multi-stage downhole tool movement control system comes in.

Well Master Corporation’s system comprises a system controller with a powerful processor and a system control device that communicates with the production string. This design creates the ability to control the velocity of the downhole tool (in this case, a plunger) within a precise and selectable velocity range, ensuring it operates optimally.

The system processor determines the plunger’s velocity at various locations within the production string and calculates the ideal control settings for the system control device at each location. As the plunger moves through the string, the system controller adjusts the control device accordingly to maintain the plunger’s velocity within the desired range.

This innovation matters for several compelling reasons. First and foremost, it enhances the efficiency of fluid extraction from wells. By optimizing the plunger’s speed, it ensures that no valuable fluids are left behind. This translates into increased well productivity and higher yields of oil and gas.

The system’s ability to control plunger speed prevents potential damage. Plungers that move too fast can cause harm to wellhead equipment, risking safety and costly repairs. Conversely, plungers moving too slowly can lead to inefficiencies and reduced overall production.

In addition to improving efficiency and safety, this technology also extends the lifespan of downhole tools, reducing maintenance costs and downtime.

Are you developing new technology for an existing application? Did you know your development work could be eligible for the R&D Tax Credit and you can receive up to 14% back on your expenses? Even if your development isn’t successful your work may still qualify for R&D credits (i.e. you don’t need to have a patent to qualify). To find out more, please contact a Swanson Reed R&D Specialist today or check out our free online eligibility test.

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