Moving into 2023, perhaps it will be safe to say that the era of the low-carbon energy mix has begun as the primary energy production landscape is changing fast. Until now, fossils fuels have dominated, and may still for the next few years dominate, the energy mix; however, a shift is taking place that will gain momentum, driven by global efforts toward addressing climate-change challenges and the large cost to human health caused by fossil fuels. Several cleaner energy solutions such as renewables are expanding global footprints. Some of these mix options require wells similar to those for oil and gas but with convoluted integrity challenges. This means that in the future, well integrity will become even more important and will continue to be part of the energy-mix solution. It is time to double down on how we, as part of the energy-mix industry, understand the many aspects of well integrity.

Repurposing of existing oil and gas wells for carbon storage driven by cost optimization currently is under discussion in many parts of the world. While this makes sense commercially, it is critical to assess the in-situ state and, more importantly, the suitability of the existing flow-wet well barriers’ metallurgy for repurposing because failure conditions and risk envelopes change. A holistic review of flow-wet material conformance for repurposing is currently a subject of low focus, but due diligence on a case-by-case basis is imperative lest these wells present well-integrity issues with consequences when operational.

As the well-integrity role grows, well surveillance and complete monitoring with artificial intelligence also will play a crucial role in the journey ahead.

Recommended additional reading at OnePetro:

IPTC 21472 Features, Events, and Processes-Based Model Development for Assessing Well-Integrity Risk Related to CO2 Storage in Central Luconia Gas Fields in Sarawak by Parimal A. Patil, Petronas, et al.

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