Permian Basin's Premier Diagnostic Well Analyst

Downhole Diagnostic is represented by the Downhole Dyno (AKA the Dyno King).

Applying Fluid Level Shots & Dynamometer Surveys for Rod Pumping Optimization

Howdy friend!  Thank you for visiting my site.  This is Shawn Dawsey and I am the Owner, Operator, Senior Engineer, Accountant, Web “Master”, Legal Counsel, and sole employee here at Downhole Diagnostic, LLC.  I graduated from Texas A&M in 2009 and worked as a Petroleum Engineer/Manager for 5-years for a Midland, TX, based oil company before breaking away and founding Downhole Diagnostic in 2014.


To get straight to the point….Downhole Diagnostic is your Downhole Doctor & Lease Nanny! 


I help oil & gas operators monitor, diagnose and optimize their Rod Pumping wells.  I do this by taking Fluid Level Shots & acquiring Dynamometer (Dyno) Surveys to determine what the downhole conditions in the well look like.  From these two tools I can determine:  how much liquid is above the downhole pump, how much gas is instantaneously producing up the backside, what the pump fillage is each stroke, if gas or solids are interfering with the pump, and (by means of a Valve Test) how much fluid is leaking back by the pump's plunger. In addition to this I can also raise or drop rod strings (to either remove a pump tag or drop the rods if the pump is fighting gas interference).  I am also familiar with all POC's (Pump Off Controllers) and I can validate, correct, & calibrate the POC programming (i.e. verify the POC has the correct rod/tubing details input and ensure the POC control parameters are optimally programmed) to ensure the POC is drawing the correct cards and properly running the well to maximize production while minimizing the damage from Fluid Pound.   


In addition to all the above, I am a Professional Petroleum Engineer with a wealth of knowledge on all things Rod Pumping related.  What differentiates my services from others in the business is that I am 3-in-1: a Well Tech, a Roustabout, & an Engineering Consultant.  I will acquire Fluid Level & Dyno Survey on the well (Well Tech), interpret what operational or downhole equipment changes should be made to remedy/optimize the well under current conditions (Engineering Analysis), and when necessary, I can raise or drop the rod string (Roustabout) right then and there and then verify the quality of the rod-string move with my Dynamometer.  (I might actually be 4-in-1 if you consider the fact I can troubleshoot many common POC problems and at least diagnose them, if not fix them).


I can guarantee I am the most knowledgeable Rod Pumping field hand you will ever have on your location.  I don't just send back reports that identify all the problems with your wells—I send back reports that diagnose your current well's status than recommend the most cost-effective solutions to remedy the situation.  I spent 5-years studying Rod Pumping systems by reading all the literature and boring white papers I could get my hands on; I have supervised countless pulling units and workover operations and so am knowledgeable in pulling operations; I spent the last 2-years with my former employer as the Production Manager and managed over 300+ wells and was able to cut our failure frequency almost in half; and since June, 2014, I have been helping other customers monitor and optimize their rod pumping wells with great success.  In addition, in December, 2014, I became a licensed Professional Engineer in the State of Texas.  So I have a level of experience and insight that is unparalleled, and all the work I do is performed with the level of quality and dependability you would expect to receive from a Professional Engineer.


I write all of this to say that, better than any other hand out there—I can help you save money in your field operations by helping you to manage and optimize your producing leases.  There is nothing quite as expensive as making poor decisions (or lack of making a good decision) due to having insufficient data or having to repeatedly pull wells for premature failures as a result of poor operating practices.  Here are a few examples of improper field operations I find regularly and can help you resolve:


  • The POC has not been updated since the well was pulled and rod/tubing design was modified, so now the POC Dyno cards are not correct:  they show 80% fillage every stroke when really the fillage is 65% and the well is pounding fluid.

  • For the Lufkin/Sam POC, the "Bottom Dead Center" of the stroke is incorrectly marked (causing the POC position data to be skewed relative to the load data) meaning the POC Dyno cards are wrong.  The POC might show a current pump fillage of 80% when in reality the fillage is 70% (or it might show 80% when the fillage is really 90%).  If the pumper could interpret Dyno cards he would notice the unusual nature of the pump card shape and something is wrong, but few pumpers can recognize this.

  • The POC has pump Fillage Set Point of 70%, yet the well pounds fluid with 80% fillage every stroke. Since it never crosses below the 70% threshold, the POC never turns off (...and the well might as well be on Hand running 100%).

  • Wells that don't have POC's need to be checked to see how the fillage looks at the end of the Run Cycle on the time clock to ensure the unit is not over-pumping (and Pounding Fluid) or under-pumping (and loosing production).

  • Wells that have hard tags on the pump, we should lighten (or remove that tag) by picking up the rods.  

  • Wells that have bad gas interference, we can drop the rods to achieve a closer pump spacing between the valves to maximize the pump's Compression Ratio to help compress the gas and push it through the pump.  If that doesn't solve it, we might need to slow the SPM and/or create a pre-pull plan for what downhole equipment design changes need to be made to the downhole gas separator the next time the well is pulled.

  • ALL THE TIME, I find wells on continuous chemical treatment that have their slip-stream plugged up (or closed off) meaning no flush fluid is circulating back from the tubing to the casing to help carry the chemical downhole to the pump.  This drastically will reduce the chemical treating efficiency as most of the chemical will drool down the casing walls and probably gunk out there.  This is such an important factor that I record the status of slip-stream condition on my reports.

  • On new wells that flow up the backside, you need to know where the Fluid Level is and what the backside condition looks like before you try to put it on continuous chemical treatment (or to determine how much flush water to use if you are using Truck Treatments to chemically treat the well), or how do you expect the chemical to make it down the backside when the Fluid Level is at surface and the well is making 300 MCFPD up the backside while periodically heading fluid up and out???

  • I find all sorts of other valuable information, such as:  the pumper turned the POC off, or the POC is in an error state and reverts to a secondary time-clock control method, or the pulling unit left the casing gate valve closed after they pulled it (so the casing has 500# SICP) and with the CP being greater than the TP, the casing gas is flowing from the backside through the slip-stream (taking the chemical with it) and flowing into the tubing.  I've seen that last example 3-times.  I have many more examples of operational issues I find, but I will not bore you.  


Just like your beloved children have annual doctor exams, your wells should have at least an annual check-up with a Downhole Doctor to make sure the POC is up to date and properly controlling the well as desired.  When you consider the financial cost of the check-up versus having an improperly operating POC, or ineffective chemical treatment program, then I think a diagnostic well analysis between 2 - 4 times a year is more appropriate and a good investment.  


The Fluid Level/Dyno data is crucial for making both decisions NOW and in the FUTURE.  For example:

Now Decisions:  adjust the run-time, recalibrate the POC's fillage Set Point, raise or drop the rods, increase/decrease the SPM, or open up the casing choke and/or increase the tubing back-pressure.


Future Decisions (these typically fall under the category of planning on what changes to make the next time the well is pulled), including:  changing the pump size or design; dropping the SN; modifying the downhole gas separation design; or maybe even installing an ESP (for example, if you cannot pump the well down).


Simply put, Fluid Level & Dyno Surveys are nothing more than a means of acquiring FEEDBACK from your well (...and feedback is the Breakfast of Champions).  Both tools allow you to determine the downhole producing conditions in a nonintrusive manner (i.e. no equipment is lowered into the well) while being very cost effective compared to the alternatives (e.g. pulling the pump to see how worn it is, or pulling the rods/pump to run a wireline deployed pressure gauge down the tubing to determine the bottomhole pressure, etc.).


Here are a few questions I can help you answer using the diagnostic data from the FL Gun + Dyno:


  • Are we pumping the well too hard (causing Fluid Pound or creating excessive Gas Interference by overrunning the downhole gas separation capacity)?  Or are we not pumping it hard enough, holding a high fluid level, and thus loosing production/revenue?

  • Is the Run Timer (or POC) properly calibrated so the pumping unit turns off when the pump ceases to be completely full of fluid?  What are the best settings for the POC Control Parameters (Fillage Set Point, Down-Time, Number of Pump-Off Strokes, etc)?

  • If the well is Pumped Off, is it time to:  slow the SPM down, drop the SN below the perfs and/or downsize the pump to reduce the rod loading?

  • Is the new downhole gas separation design working adequately?  If not, what are the possible remedies to relieve the inefficiency and improve the pump fillage?

  • What is the cause of the well continually loosing Pump Action?  Is it due to the well being pumped-off, gas interference, or trash in the pump valves?  Or is the pump so worn that it cannot effectively displace the fluids?

  • Is the well operating under with “Destructive Pumping Practices” that are unnecessarily increasing the failure frequency, like Pounding Fluid, or chronically inefficient each stroke due to continuous Gas Interference, or does it have a hard pump tag each stroke?


With my experience and knowledge of rod pumping systems, I can help you answer these questions plus many more.  In a similar way that “drilling blind” (when you lose all returns while drilling) can be a Drilling Engineers worst nightmare, in an economic senseI think the same can be said of “operating blind” for the Production Engineer/Foreman. 


Nothing is cheap out here in the oilfield (...except for the current oil price!).  Rig time, consultants, pump trucks, remedying stuffing box leaks, etc. all add up very quickly.  Also, when you pull the well for a tubing leak and you miss the opportunity to upgrade the downhole gas separation design (because you had assumed it was working just fine)—this is also a lost opportunity that is very costly.  When a well's production is down and it is assumed the pump is worn and thus a pump change is performed, you might just find out the same production inefficiencies exist with the new pump because the real cause of the lack of production was that the well was pumped off.  Or, maybe the whole time the well's production was limited by gas interference and that was the real cause of the well's production drop, so pulling the well to change the pump was nothing more than throwing money to the wind.  Making informed decisions is KEY to efficient operations, and keeping you informed on the downhole status of your pumping wells is my job.  


When you call Downhole Diagnostic, you will be speaking and working with me.  Due to my technical engineering background (and love for all things rod pumping!) I guarantee you will be more than satisfied with the quality of my work and the value of the insights I return back to you.  So give me a call and let me know how I can help.  You can find my 1-page sales brochure posted at the bottom of the Services page, so if you have time take a look at it and don't forget...


                “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”   -Benjamin Franklin


Best regards,

Shawn Dawsey, P.E.

West Texas Well Tech:  Fluid Level Shots & Dynamometers for the oilfield in Midland, Texas
Downhole Diagnostic Puts Downhole Interpretation into Context for West Texas

Side Note:  Website Resources


When I was a fresh whipper-snapper coming straight out of college I was hungry to learn and apply myself as quickly as possible. However, I was quickly disappointed at the lack of quality information I could find on the internet about petroleum industry topics, especially those relating to Rod Pumping.  So when I started Downhole Diagnostic, I decided I would to be part of the solution.  So take a look around on my website as you can find lots of good information about Echometer Fluid Level & Dynamometer Surveys and other Rod Pumping topics.  (I am only a one man show over here, yet sadly—I tend to have more helpful information posted on my website than you will find on the websites for the other big name companies in the Rod Pumping industry!  Maybe that is why I show up on the front page of Google when searching for Fluid Level or Dynamometer information...?)  Anyways, I have dreams of adding more information when time permits, but for now, I hope you find something of value on my site!  Any feedback or requests for additional information is highly welcomed.  Thanks again for visiting!   -Shawn  :^{P


You can find lots of helpful reference information on my site.  Here are a few links to get you started:

Downhole Diagnostic – Service & Price Sheet

Free 6-Page Rod Pumping Reference:  Sucker Rod Pumping Short Course

Dynamometers & Dyno Cards

Fluid Level Shots

Additional Rod Pumping References

More to come (soon)…