CAM20-MT Choke Valves Eliminate Frequent Erosion of Heater Chokes on Gas Production Units, Utica Shale | ProductsSLB
Tech Report
Utica Shale, United States, North America, Onshore

Initial choke inlet pressure
6,500 psi [45 MPa]

Choke outlet pressure
350 psi [2 MPa]

Natural gas flow rate
10.5 MMcf/d
[300,000 m3/d]

Water flow rate
25–350 bbl/d
[3.97–55.65 m3/d]


An operator was using traditional long-nose needle-and-seat-trim heater chokes supplied by a third party on natural gas production units (GPUs) in the Utica Shale to control flow rate and pressure. Gas was heated before entering the choke welded to the outside of the heater vessel; the long nose enabled positioning of the choke trim inside the heater. These measures counteracted the Joule-Thomson cooling effect produced at the choke trim by the gas as it expanded because of the pressure drop through the choke. Thus, ice and hydrate formation and the consequent blockages were prevented.

The large pressure drop and sand in the flow were causing the chokes to erode in a matter of weeks, resulting in loss of well control and frequent shut-ins to repair the chokes. The operator required a more robust solution.

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CAM20-MT Choke Valves Eliminate Frequent Erosion of Heater Chokes on Gas Production Units, Utica Shale

Operator uses external floating sleeve trim to extend choke life and prevent ice and hydrates from forming blockages

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Cameron recommended replacing the welded heater chokes with 2 1/16-in flanged CAM20-MT choke valves with external FS trim in a standard production choke configuration. The FS trim geometry resists erosion extremely effectively. The same flow characteristics also flush solid hydrates and ice through the choke outlet into the heated vessel, preventing any blockages; there is no need to heat the trim. The Cameron choke valves were installed on four heaters and have performed flawlessly for more than 3 months—including through winter and early spring—compared with third-party chokes' life span of 2–4 weeks. The operator plans to retrofit all its GPUs and line heaters in the Utica Shale with CAM20-MT choke valves with external FS trim.
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