Production packers are an integral part of the completion process of an oil or a gas well. These are devices that seal the tubing to casing annulus and force the produced fluids from the wellbore into the completion tubing. Production packers consist of “Slips” that prevent packer movement and a “Sealing Element” that provide the sealing cushioning. There are various types of production packers available out of which prominent ones are:
- Permanent Packers
- Retrievable Packers
- Hydraulic Set Packers (also called as Mechanical Set Packers)
Other uses of production packer apart from providing sealing between tubing and casing are:
- Prevent downhole movement of the tubing string.
- Supports tubing weight.
- Helps in improving production and well flow rate.
- Prevents the metal annular casing from corrosion.
- Limit well control to the tubing at the surface for safety purposes
- Hold packer fluids in the casing annulus which can be used during well servicing and maintenance operations.
Production packer operates on the basis of its four key features i.e. a) Slips; b) Cone; c) Packing Element; d) Mandrel.
The slip is a wedge shaped device with wickers on its face. Because of this design, the slips can easily penetrates and grip the casing wall when the production packer is set at its position. The cone is bevelled in such a way that the inner portion of the slip can rest on the cone. Once the inner portion of slip sits on the cone, with the help of setting force, the cone pushes the slip outward making a firm grip and penetration of outer portion of slip into the casing wall. Once the slips have anchored into the casing wall, additional applied setting force energizes the Packing Element System and creates a seal between the Mandrel (packer body) and the inside diameter of the casing.