Performance testing of gas lift valves is needed in order to verify valve operation and measure flow capacity. It is also important to be able to conduct the testing at pressures that are typical of those encountered in service. Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) meets these testing requirements using existing infrastructure including the gas blowdown facility, high pressure test cells, low pressure water flow loops, and the new Gas Lift Test Facility (GLTF).
Gas flow testing is performed in the gas blowdown facility for test pressures less than 3,000 psi, and in the Gas Lift Test Facility for test pressures up to 10,000 psi. Both flow facilities meet the guidelines given in API Recommended Practice 19G2 and ISO 17078-2, Annex H and Annex O. A universal test section is designed so that a variety of gas lift valve sizes (1", 1.5", 1.75") can be accommodated.
Specific Gas Lift Valve Flow Testing Capabilities
- Flow rates in the range of approximately 0.2 to 15 MMScfd (million standard cubic feet/day)
- Upstream pressure controlled up to approximately 10,000 psig (depending on flowrate)
- Differential pressures over 2,000 psi
Back-check testing, as required by API 19G2 Annex I and J, is performed in one of two high pressure test cells. The test cells are equipped to supply high pressure nitrogen gas or water to a custom-made test stand. Heating or cooling of the stands is performed locally using a convection oven, heat trace, or exposure to chilled water. All application of pressure is applied remotely for safety.
Specific Gas Lift Valve Static Testing Capabilities
- Nitrogen or water pressures up to 30,000 psi
- Test temperature control from cryogenic to 400ºF
- Custom gas lift valve test stands accommodate up to 4 valves simultaneously
Other gas lift valve testing, such as probe and load rate testing (Annex G), bellows actuation lifecycle testing (Annex K), erosion testing (Annex L), and custom tests are performed in other facilities at the Flow Component Testing Facilities. Mandrel qualification, required by API Recommended Practice 19G1, is performed at SwRI using an inclinable 100' test section. All testing is performed with calibrated instrumentation.