Automating the Rod Pump Wellhead: Chasing Uptime

Recorded On: 09/19/2022

Our industry faces new challenges and demands in operating wells with rod pump artificial lift systems. Little attention has been focused on either the mechanisms that seal the wellbore at the surface from the environment or the changing needs of the operators. Every well with a rod pump has a stuffing box of some design. Failure to properly maintain the stuffing box is a leading cause of downtime. Traditionally, pumpers visit wells on regular periodic intervals, during which they lubricate and adjust stuffing boxes, verify rod rotator units are functioning, and (if necessary) shut the well in sealing the wellbore at the wellhead. Changing environmental regulations increase the responsibilities on field operations staff. As there are now fewer available experienced field personnel, there is a pressing need to transition seemingly mundane tasks from field personnel and onto automation equipment.

This talk will discuss applying automation technology to the Artificial Lift problem of stuffing box and associated seal maintenance. An exploration of the design criteria for cost effective automation of the deceptively simple stuffing box will be presented, with examples and best practices for proposed systems. Condition based monitoring of seal packs allows for precise on demand lubrication coupled with automatic seal compression systems. This can prevent premature seal failure and increase the longevity of seal packs. Applying simple concepts and the increasing prevalence of real time automated monitoring can lead to substantial Artificial Lift uptime gains for field operators and operations.

The discussion further expands this theme to Rod BOP automation, with an examination of why this area of design is becoming increasingly important in the areas of producing oil in populated areas. Automating and controlling artificial lift specific BOPs via local exception safeguards wells during routine operations. The abundance of simple edge processors and ubiquitous connectivity can transform labor intensive Artificial Lift related processes. This reduces or eliminates the possibility of errors that can cause substantial Artificial Lift downtime.

This webinar is categorized under the Production and Operations technical discipline.

All content contained within this webinar is copyrighted by Jason Pitcher and its use and/or reproduction outside the portal requires express permission from Jason Pitcher.

Jason Pitcher

Jason Pitcher is the CEO of North American Automation, where he is actively involved in developing automation solutions for onshore oil and gas operations. He has 30 years of experience in the upstream oil and gas industry, beginning in the drilling discipline and working in research and development for drilling, completions and production. Jason has served twice as a DL and is currently a member of the SPE DL committee and has published over 20 SPE papers and articles related to technology. He holds a degree in geology from the University of Derby and a masters degree in Mineral Exploration from Imperial College, London.

Anthony Allison (Moderator)

Anthony Allison is a Senior Artificial Lift Advisor for Occidental Oil & Gas, where he provides in-house support for the analysis, optimization, and troubleshooting of sucker rod pumps globally.  He has thirteen years of experience with sucker rod pumping systems, and currently serves as chairman of API Subcommittee 11, which oversees standards related to artificial lift equipment.  Anthony has previously served as chair of the SPE Artificial Lift Conference and Exhibition-Americas and as an SPE Distinguished Lecturer.  He holds a bachelor's degree in Electronics Engineering Technology and master's degree in Petroleum Engineering, both from Texas A&M University.

SPE Webinars are FREE to members courtesy of the



Automating the Rod Pump Wellhead: Chasing Uptime
09/19/2022 at 10:30 AM (EDT)   |  90 minutes
09/19/2022 at 10:30 AM (EDT)   |  90 minutes
20 Questions
Live and Archive Viewing: 0.15 CEU/1.5 PDH credits and certificate available
Live and Archive Viewing: 0.15 CEU/1.5 PDH credits and certificate available