Performance testing of gas lift valves is needed in order to verify valve operation and measure flow capacity. Achieving field-like pressure conditions is crucial for accurate testing. Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) replicates these conditions 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 (API 19G2 Annex G) is performed in the gas blowdown facility for test pressures less than 3,000 psi. The Gas Lift Test Facility is capable of pressures up to 10,000 psi and temperatures up to 300ºF. A universal test section is designed so that a variety of gas lift valve sizes (1", 1.5", 1.75") can be accommodated up to a limited pressure range.
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
- Differential pressures over 2,500 psi
- Temperatures up to 300 ºF
- Gas specific gravity of 0.55 – 0.97
The full-scale gas flow test required by API 19G2 V0 is performed at the GLTF. The test includes in-situ back-check integrity testing, flow performance testing in stepped flow rate increments, automated valve cycling, and long-duration continuous flow testing. The GLTF operates with methane gas or nitrogen gas, in accordance with the API 19G2 V0
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
Back-check testing, as required by API 19G2 Annex H and I, 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.
Other gas lift valve testing, such as probe and load rate testing (Annex F), bellows actuation lifecycle testing (Annex J), erosion testing (Annex K), 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.