Summary

Implementation of carbon dioxide (CO2) storage in geological media requires a proper assessment of the risk of CO2 leakage from storage sites. Leakage pathways may exist through and along wellbores, which may penetrate or be near to the storage site. One method of assessing the potential for CO2 leakage through wells is by mining databases that usually reside with regulatory agencies. These agencies collect data concerning wellbore construction, oil and gas production, and other regulated issues for existing wells. The Alberta Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB), the regulatory agency in Alberta, Canada, collects and stores information about more than 315,000 oil, gas, and injection wells in the province of Alberta. The ERCB also records well leakage at the surface as surface-casing-vent flow (SCVF) through wellbore annuli and gas migration (GM) outside casing, as reported by the industry.

The evaluation of a leakage pathway through wellbore casing or annuli and what causes these wellbore leaks are the first step in determining what factors may contribute to wellbore leakage from CO2-storage sites. By using available data, major factors that contribute to wellbore leakage were identified.

Data analysis shows that there is a correlation between these SCVF/GM and economic activity, technology changes, geographic location, and regulatory changes regarding well completion and abandonment. Further analysis indicates a relationship between low-annular-cement top, external corrosion, casing failure, and wellbore leakage (SCVF/GM). Other factors that could affect the presence of wellbore leakage, such as wellbore deviation, surface-casing depth, and wellbore density, were also investigated.

This paper presents the findings of the data analysis and a method to evaluate the potential for leakage along wells in an area where CO2 storage is intended. This information is useful not only for future operations of CO2 storage in geological media, but also for current operations relating to the exploration and production of hydrocarbons.

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