Often, it is the thermal performance of the well that is of primary interest. This paper presents two extreme field cases where the well temperature profile was of critical importance to operations. In the first case, simulations were performed for a high-rate, gas-condensate well to determine the highest possible wellhead temperature that could be expected during operations. If the wellhead temperature was excessively high, then special materials would be required, adding $100s of millions to the project cost. In the second case, the purpose of the modeling was to determine the impact of installing vacuum-insulated tubing for an oil well with high waxing potential. The objective was to keep the oil above its wax appearance temperature by lowering heat loss to the surroundings, and thus preventing wax deposition downhole. In both cases, the heat transfer coefficient governing heat loss from the well to the surroundings was considered to be a key parameter. However, it turned out that the overall heat transfer coefficient was of, at best, secondary importance, and – for some operating conditions – negligible. By far, the most important contributor to the temperature change in both cases was Joule-Thompson cooling and other energy effects.

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