Reducing Costs of Well Plugging and Abandonment While Verifying Risk

Fig. 1—Well-abandonment Design C1. Blue=primary barrier, red=secondary barrier, green=surface barrier.

A risk-based approach to well plugging and abandonment (P&A) has been developed and successfully applied. The recommended method is based on research that allows the modeling of fluid flow through microcracks through a range of failure modes in downhole components, the determination of the effect on the environment through dispersion modeling, and identification of the basis for acceptance criteria. The complete paper describes how various P&A designs can be compared by use of a risk methodology that takes account of degradation mechanisms, potential flow rates, and the effect on the environment.


The application of the proposed method to fields suggests that alternative plugging solutions with fewer barriers than prescribed by the standard NORSOK D-010 guidelines result in the same low level of environmental risk. The method accounts for uncertainty related to input parameters and can be refined further if these uncertainties are reduced over time by field observations and testing.

The proposed approach to quantifying the environmental risk associated with minor, long-term leakage from P&A barriers, overburden formations, and natural seepage is to frame the issue in terms of potential modifications to valued environmental resources. This permits a degree of differentiation between alternative plugging designs, none of which may be physically capable of leading to the type of major leakage treated by standard environmental-risk-analysis approaches.

This article, written by JPT Technology Editor Chris Carpenter, contains highlights of paper OTC 27921, “Risk-Based Approach to Well Plugging and Abandoning: Reducing Costs While Verifying Risk,” by Pedram Fanailoo, David Buchmiller, Simon Ouyang, and Eric Allen, DNV GL, prepared for the 2017 Offshore Technology Conference, Houston, 1–4 May. The paper has not been peer reviewed. Copyright 2017 Offshore Technology Conference. Reproduced by permission.
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Reducing Costs of Well Plugging and Abandonment While Verifying Risk

01 January 2018

Volume: 70 | Issue: 1


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