Project Info

Design, construction and evaluation of subsurface valve for deliquifying horizontal wells

Luis Zerpa

Project Goals and Description:

At the Petroleum Engineering Department at Mines, we have developed a method to remove liquids from depleted horizontal wells, increasing the life and productivity of these petroleum production systems. The extension of the live of producing wells will increase the recovery of hydrocarbon reserves and delay the need of drilling new wells, minimizing the environmental impact and maximizing the economic benefit of petroleum extraction operations. This outcome of this project will advance the technology closer to commercialization, by enabling a field trial of the technology.

More Information:

Grand Challenge: Not applicable.
  • D. Croce, L.E. Zerpa. “Mechanistic model for the design and operation of an intermittent gas lift system for liquid loaded horizontal gas wells,” SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, September 2021, Dubai, UAE. [doi: 10.2118/205962-MS]
  • D. Croce, L.E. Zerpa. “Intermittent gas lift for liquid loaded horizontal wells in tight gas shale reservoirs,” SPE Artificial Lift Conference and Exhibition – Americas, 10–12 November 2020.[doi: 10.2118/201153-MS]
  • D. Croce, L.E. Zerpa. “Effect of Surface Tension on Sweeping Performance of Injected Gas During Intermittent Gas Lift in Liquid Loaded Horizontal Wells,” SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition. 27–29 October 2020. [doi: 10.2118/201601-MS]

Primary Contacts:

Luis Zerpa,

Student Preparation


Basic knowledge of mechanical drawing and 3D design, well organized, punctual, ingenuity.


3 to 5 hours per week.


design and construction of experimental facilities, computer modeling, economic analysis, oral and written communication.


The student will work with guidance from primary advisor and one postdoc. We will conduct weekly meetings, initially to define project goals and research tasks. The mentoring plan include coaching with design and construction of experimental facilities, preparation of oral presentations and technical writing.


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