Information contributed by Mark Turland,
Denbury Artificial Lift Specialist
During the week of February 16, Denbury and its Cedar Creek Anticline (CCA) operations made a little oilfield history by installing the first two strings of carbon fiber sucker rods in the world.
The installations were the culmination of over five years of research, development and testing by Megalex, LLC. Light weight carbon fiber, commonly used in aircraft and windmill blades, has high strength and durability properties.
There have been few major advances in sucker rod technology in the 30 years since fiberglass sucker rods were introduced in the early 80s. Carbon fiber could be the next major advancement in sucker rods.
CCA is a unique and very challenging area for sucker rod pumping systems. The high production rates from greater than 8,000 ft. depths in some wells pushes sucker rod pumping to the edge of its technological capability. In 2013, Mitchell Hale, one of the owners of Megalex and Lone Star ALS, contacted Matt Dahan, vice president of Denbury’s North Region. Hale informed Dahan he had been developing a carbon fiber sucker rod he believed would be the lightest weight, most durable sucker rod ever produced.
In mid-2014, Hale began working with the CCA Ops engineers to identify two candidate wells. Coral Creek and ELOB wells with a long history of sucker rod and associate pumping system failures were chosen.
Nabors CPS Rig #314 was moved in with Jerry Wyrwas, Workover Consultant – CCA, and his crew becoming part of the historic project.
Over six days Wyrwas and his crew worked long and hard in subzero temperatures. The crew’s input was valuable for determining the best practices for safe handling, make-up and running-in procedures.
After the rods were installed, the pumping units were activated and initial results were encouraging as both wells performed as their designs predicted.
The project and technology is now being overseen by Pat Gundlach, Production Optimization Foreman for Denbury, and the CCA Optimization Group to monitor the wells and learn more about how the carbon fiber rods perform.
The CCA Optimization Group and Lone Star ALS will continue to work together to evaluate the performance of the two wells. After an initial three month operation, the project will be evaluated and a decision made regarding how to proceed.
Denbury is an independent oil and natural gas company with operations focused in two key operating areas: the Gulf Coast and Rocky Mountain regions. The company’s goal is to increase the value of its properties through a combination of exploitation, drilling and proven engineering extraction practices, with the most significant emphasis relating to carbon dioxide enhanced oil recovery (“CO2 EOR”) operations. For more information, please visit: