Low Producing Well

September 6, 2023

Provided by Desert Pump

Desert Pump has been servicing low producing wells since 1972.

Importance of understanding and managing low producing wells

The significance of comprehending and effectively managing low producing wells cannot be overstated. Not only do these wells pose financial challenges due to reduced revenue generation, but they also present technical hurdles that require astute problem-solving skills. In an industry where efficiency and profitability are paramount, neglecting underperforming assets can severely impact overall production levels, hinder return on investment, and compromise the long-term viability of oilfield operations.

Understanding low producing wells is crucial for several reasons:

  • Optimized resource allocation: by identifying and addressing well(s) with suboptimal production rates, operators can allocate resources more judiciously - focusing efforts on maximizing output from high potential areas while minimizing expenses in less productive zones.
  • Economic benefits: Managing low producing wells efficiently can lead to cost savings by avoiding unnecessary investments in drilling new wells or undertaking extensive interventions. By adopting appropriate strategies, operators can enhance the profitability of existing assets.
  • Reservoir management: Low producing wells provide valuable insights into the characteristics and behavior of the reservoir. Analyzing these wells can help engineers better understand key reservoir parameters, such as permeability, fluid properties, and damage mechanisms, which in turn aids in developing effective field development plans.
  • Risk mitigation: By proactively managing low producing wells, operators can mitigate potential risks associated with prolonged underperformance. Early intervention not only minimizes financial losses but also reduces potential environmental and safety hazards that may arise due to unstable production conditions.

Given the profound impact that low producing wells have on operational success and overall profitability, it becomes imperative for industry professionals to delve deeper into understanding the underlying causes and implementing appropriate strategies to manage these challenging assets effectively.

Understanding Low Producing Wells

Factors contributing to low production rates

Low production rates in wells can be attributed to various factors that affect the overall productivity. It is crucial to understand these factors comprehensively in order to effectively address and mitigate the issues associated with low producing wells.

Reservoir characteristics play a significant role in determining the productivity of a well. Porosity, which refers to the amount of pore space within a rock formation, affects how much fluid can be stored and flow through the reservoir.

Permeability, on the other hand, measures how easily fluids can flow through the rock. Both high porosity and permeability are ideal for maximizing production rates.

Reservoir characteristics (porosity, permeability)

Porosity is directly related to the volume of void spaces in a rock formation and is typically expressed as a percentage. High porosity indicates greater potential for fluid storage within the reservoir rocks, allowing for higher production rates. Permeability refers to how easily fluids can flow through these void spaces in the reservoir rocks.

It is measured in darcies and represents the ability of fluids to move within a porous medium under applied pressure gradients. Higher permeability facilitates better fluid mobility, resulting in increased production rates.

Fluid properties (viscosity, pressure)

Fluid properties also have a significant impact on well productivity. Viscosity refers to a fluid's resistance to flow and is influenced by factors such as temperature and composition.

Higher viscosity fluids tend to impede fluid flow within reservoir rocks, leading to lower production rates unless appropriate measures are taken for artificial lift or stimulation techniques. Pressure plays a vital role as well since it determines how effectively fluids can be pushed out of the reservoir into the wellbore and eventually up to surface facilities.

Wellbore conditions (damage, scaling)

The condition of the wellbore can greatly affect production rates. Damage to the wellbore, such as formation damage caused during drilling or completion operations, can hinder fluid flow and reduce productivity.

Scaling, which occurs when mineral deposits accumulate in the wellbore or downhole equipment, can also impede production by narrowing flow channels and reducing permeability. It is essential to monitor and manage wellbore conditions to prevent or mitigate these issues effectively.

Types of low producing wells

Low producing wells can be classified into three main types based on their underlying causes: naturally low productivity wells, declining production wells, and those affected by mechanical issues. Naturally low productivity wells have inherently limited reservoir characteristics, such as low porosity or permeability, resulting in lower initial production rates. Declining production wells experience a decrease in productivity over time due to reservoir depletion or other factors like increased water cut.

Wells affected by mechanical issues may encounter problems such as equipment malfunction or damaged well infrastructure that lead to reduced production rates. By understanding these factors contributing to low producing wells and recognizing the various types of low producing wells that exist, operators can employ targeted strategies and interventions to optimize well performance and overall field economics.

Diagnosing Low Producing Wells

Production data analysis techniques

Production data analysis techniques play a crucial role in diagnosing low producing wells and formulating effective solutions. Among these techniques, decline curve analysis (DCA) stands out as a valuable tool. DCA enables reservoir engineers to estimate reserves and predict future production potential by fitting mathematical equations to historical production data.

Furthermore, it helps identify decline patterns such as exponential or hyperbolic, which provide insights into the well's performance over time. By understanding the decline behavior, engineers can make informed decisions regarding interventions and optimizations.

Pressure transient analysis (PTA)

Another indispensable technique for diagnosing low producing wells is pressure transient analysis (PTA). PTA involves analyzing pressure measurements taken during well tests to determine crucial reservoir properties and boundaries.

By examining pressure behaviors over time, engineers can assess factors such as permeability, skin damage, or interference from neighboring wells. This information allows for targeted interventions and helps optimize production strategies.

Fluid and rock sampling techniques

Fluid and rock sampling techniques provide essential insights into the characteristics of low producing wells. Downhole fluid analysis (DFA) involves collecting fluid samples from various depths using wireline tools or downhole samplers. These samples are then analyzed to evaluate fluid composition, properties (such as viscosity), and potential issues affecting productivity (such as gas locking or water coning).

Additionally, core analysis and petrophysics studies involve extracting core samples from the formation surrounding the wellbore to assess reservoir quality, connectivity between different layers, and fluid flow mechanisms. These detailed analyses help identify areas of improvement that can enhance productivity.

Managing Low Producing Wells

Remedial actions for naturally low productivity wells

For naturally low productivity wells that suffer from inherent limitations due to reservoir conditions, various remedial actions exist. Artificial lift methods, such as Electric Submersible Pumps (ESP), gas lift systems, or sucker rod pumps, can be employed to increase the flow rate by reducing bottomhole pressure and improving fluid lift. Additionally, reservoir stimulation techniques like acidizing or hydraulic fracturing can help enhance permeability and stimulate production.

Strategies for declining production wells

Declining production wells require strategic approaches to maximize output. Enhanced oil recovery (EOR) methods are often implemented in these cases.

EOR techniques, including thermal methods (such as steam injection), chemical flooding (using polymers or surfactants), or gas injection (CO2 or natural gas), help mobilize trapped oil and improve sweep efficiency in the reservoir. By adopting appropriate EOR methods based on reservoir characteristics, declining production wells can experience a significant boost in their productivity.


In the intricate world of low producing wells, diagnosing issues accurately is crucial for implementing effective strategies that maximize productivity. Through advanced data analysis techniques like decline curve analysis and pressure transient analysis, engineers can gain profound insights into a well's behavior and potential challenges it faces. Moreover, fluid and rock sampling techniques provide detailed information about fluid composition and reservoir properties that aid in identifying issues affecting productivity.

By employing remedial actions such as artificial lift technologies and reservoir stimulation techniques for naturally low producing wells while implementing enhanced oil recovery strategies for declining production wells optimally, operators have a real chance at turning their well's performance around with positive results. With careful diagnosis and diligent management practices, low producing wells hold the potential to become productive assets that yield sustained benefits for operators while contributing positively to energy demands worldwide.

Contact Us

Have questions, need assistance, or are ready to explore your water solutions with Desert Pump Company? Reach out to their dedicated team today to get the expert guidance you deserve. Whether you're looking for advice on pump selection, require well repair services, or want to discuss your unique water needs, Desert Pump's friendly experts are just a click or a call away. You can find their contact information, including phone number and email, on our website. Don't hesitate to get in touch and take the first step towards reliable and efficient water solutions.

Hire Us!
White X