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One of the largest operating costs, and often the largest, associated with sucker rod pumping is the expense of pulling and repairing the rods, pump and tubing. Many wells are pulled for repairs so often that they are marginally economic. This problem is made worse by the days of lost production associated with the downtime. Pumping slowly can resolve these difficulties, making marginal wells economic over a long period of time.
As reservoirs deplete, there comes a time when a sucker rod pump installation can lift more liquid than the reservoir can deliver. Excess pumping capacity results in excessive wear from shock loads caused by fluid pound, unnecessary friction and stress fluctuations. The customary method of limiting this damage is to pump intermittently. This is done by placing the unit on a time clock or by installing a pump-off controller. Both methods have at least four drawbacks.
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