There are 3 common vertical back pressure valve lubricators in today’s market. Heshka Oil designs manufactures and runs all 3 of these types here in the USA and sells them around the globe. In this article, we will describe the different kinds of wellhead lubricator units and go over all the pros and cons, as well as proper and improper operation and storage.
The three styles of wellhead lubricators are:
1. Pressure Balanced Manually Operated Lubricator or “PBMO Lubricator”
2. Manually Operated Hydraulic Assist Lubricator or “Hydraulic Assist Lubricator”
3. Pressure-balanced hydraulic Operated Lubricator or “PBHO” or “Snubricator”
a. The Snubricator is the only patented lubricator that brings the best of a PBMO and Hydraulic Assist into one package and then automates it.
The pressure-balanced manually operated (PBMO) back pressure valve lubricator is our first type on the list. The PBMO is the most common and widely used in the industry. The PBMO consists of a lower and upper yoke with an access window splitting the two. The upper yoke has a closed-top upper barrel that houses the polished rod. The unit becomes pressure-balanced when you connect a manifold on the lower yoke's outside port to the upper yoke's external port. This allows pressure from the tree to be routed up the manifold to the top yoke and “jumped” into the upper barrel. This allows the access window to be open to the outside elements where an operator can manipulate the rod up and down and rotate the rod clockwise and counterclockwise.
Let’s talk about Heshka Oil’s PBMO versus the competitor's PBMO.
Common issues with PBMO Lubricators.
Almost every issue we encounter with a PBMO is from one of three errors: improper storage, operation, and/or job preparation.
o Needle valves should not be used to “float rods” up and down. This is dangerous and causes an imbalance of pressure between the well and the lubricator.
o Jumper lines between the lower yoke and the tubing head should be utilized to ensure balanced pressure.
The hydraulic assist lubricator is made up of the same components as the PBMO; in the hydraulic assist, the upper barrel contains a piston mounted on top of the polished rod with seals that split the upper barrel into two sections, the hydraulic section, and the well pressure section. To manipulate the rod in the hydraulic assist, you must pump in hydraulic fluid, at a pressure capable of overcoming the pressure end load caused by the well pressure on the system, into the upper section (hydraulic section) of the upper barrel. This pushes the piston down, which, in turn, runs the polished rod into the well. A hydraulic assist lubricator is NOT PRESSURE BALANCED; particular attention must be paid to the hydraulic and healthy pressure while running a job in the field.
I am sure you can begin to picture the problem with this setup in your head. You’re pressuring up the top side of a piston that has good pressure acting against it on the bottom side. This hydraulic assist type lubricator can have some hazardous situations arise if not operated correctly.
You can have the best of both worlds with The Snubricator Hydraulic Lubricator! You maintain the pressure balance of the PBMO and gain the pushing and pulling strength of a hydraulic system. Enter the only available pressure-balanced hydraulically operated lubricator on the market, The Snubricator! As if that was not enough, the Snubricator is semi-automated and will allow the technician to run the hanger or BPV into the well without being in the red zone. Maintaining the traditional two-yoke system, Heshka Oil adds proprietary upper and lower clamps with the hydraulic traverse cylinder to make the safest hydraulic lubricator on the market.