Maximizing Plunger Performance: Optimizing Operations with OnPing

Plunger systems have long been a crucial component in the oil and gas industry, providing efficient and cost-effective solutions for well optimization. Although these systems haven’t evolved much over time, continual efforts are being made to increase their capabilities. This blog article examines how the Willamette 11-1 field’s operations were expanded and optimized with the integration of OnPing and a legacy Ferguson plunger. By leveraging OnPing’s advanced features, the plunger system was able to overcome overlooked limitations and improve overall efficiency.


The Power of Time Clocks and Pressure/Flow Based Systems:

Time clocks have traditionally been a reliable tool for regulating plunger operations. Pumpers can readily control the plunger’s behavior by setting up specified arrival and after-flow times. For instance, if a plunger fails to arrive within an expected time frame, it indicates a potential issue that can be troubleshooted. Although, there are some circumstances that call for a more sophisticated strategy. Pressure or flow-based systems provide more control in specialized conditions, enabling operators to maximize plunger performance. These systems enable more accurate and quicker plunger operation by taking real-time variables like tubing pressure into consideration.

Willamette 11-1 Plunger Box Case Study:

The main goal of this study was to find the ideal balance between increasing capabilities and reducing expenses. The Willamette 11-1 field served as the backdrop for a case study in improving plunger box operations through the integration of OnPing. An existing Ferguson plunger was used as an example, illuminating the never-ending need to accomplish more with less. 

Addressing Critical Phases with OnPing:

While the time clock-based strategy worked adequately in the majority of circumstances, specific critical phases demanded a more nuanced solution. One such scenario arose when the plunger failed to arrive for three or more consecutive cycles, leading to mandatory shut-in mode. In this situation, the team leveraged OnPing’s control parameters to adapt the plunger’s behavior. Instead of relying solely on time-based settings, they utilized tubing pressure as a critical indicator. The plunger remains in shut-in mode until the tubing pressure reached a critical point around 800 psi in this particular field. Once the pressure reached the desired level, the shut-in time was quickly reduced to a low value, causing the plunger to restart. By ensuring that the plunger only restarted when the right conditions were met, this dynamic adjustment increased overall efficiency and reduced unproductive downtime. The device smoothly switched back to timer mode after the plunger arrived successfully, assuring consistency and ease of use in daily operations.

Unlocking Plunger Box Potential:

The Willamette 11-1 integration of OnPing and the venerable Ferguson plunger controller demonstrated the potential for enhancing and increasing plunger system capabilities.


The integration of OnPing produced valuable insights into plunger behavior and system performance. Pumpers could access data and analytics, allowing them to identify patterns, optimize parameters, and make informed decisions to further enhance efficiency. By continually fine-tuning the plunger system using OnPing’s capabilities, operators can achieve the goal of a delicate balance.

Useful Links:

Plunger Lift Analysis, Troubleshooting, and Optimization 2007 Paper