Decommissioning: A Changing Landscape


Mar 12, 2024

Decommissioning: A Changing Landscape

Making the decision to plug a well is based on a variety of factors, many of which cannot be determined absolutely. Choosing when and how to plug wells safely is both art and science, but recent advances in evaluating well integrity using readily available data can guide the plugging process to optimize operations.

Considerations for plugging/remediation:

  • Regulations
    • State
    • Federal
    • Industry
  • Environmental Impact
    • Methane/VOC Emissions
    • Fluid Leakage
    • Water Source Proximity)
    • Wildlife
    • Crops/Vegetation
  • Well Data
    • Age
    • Construction
    • Geology
    • Equipment
    • History
    • Diagnostics
  • Location
    • Potential for Communication
    • Community Impact
    • Access
  • Use
    • Production Levels
    • Future Utility for Alternate Use

Plugging technologies and materials have vastly improved: from sand, rock sediment, and wood plugs in the late 1800s, to API cement standards in the 1950s, to regulated environmental plugging in the 1970s, to novel materials for barriers and sealants including micro-fine cements, resins, metals, and biocements.

Diagnostics: Critical to Effective Operations

Information specific to each well is crucial to maximize effectiveness and minimize time and costs.

Downhole diagnostics in particular are extremely helpful to make informed decisions that reduce risk and increase efficiency:

  • Cement Bond Logs
  • Acoustic Logging
  • Ultrasonic Logging
  • Fiber Optics
  • CBL Post Processing

One such new technology, Advanced Cement Imaging (ACI™), utilizes innovative analysis techniques to reprocess existing cement bond logs to provide greater insight into the integrity of cement and bonding issues to inform downhole remediation.

Well calculated

While often straightforward, decommissioning can take anywhere from three days to several months depending on a variety of complicating factors. The cost of plugging can be estimated initially based on the location, age, depth and other factors, but unseen issues and poor downhole conditions can quickly complicate remediation and cause costs to skyrocket.

Another consideration companies must also consider now are the costs of not plugging unproductive or marginally productive wells. New regulations, heightened public awareness, and scientific concern about methane emissions, potential water contamination, and climate impact are rapidly changing the landscape for decommissioning.

Sealed Well

For difficult to remediate wells with casing vent flow/casing pressure and gas migration BioSqueeze Inc. provides a turnkey solution to ensure leaks are sealed efficiently, keeping decommissioning campaigns on track. Our pre-treatment job design process involves a comprehensive analysis of the well complete with insights from our Advanced Cement Imaging (ACI™) software provided complimentary for any well we treat. Our novel biomineralization technology has been used to eliminate methane in over 150 wells to date, continuing to revolutionize well integrity and abandonment by delivering a permanent and effective solution for micro annuli, channels, and debonding.

Have a well you'd like us to take a look at? Fill out the form below and our team will conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the well and recommend next steps to eliminate annular leaks/gas migration free of charge.
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