The goal of Subsurface Containment Assurance (SCA) is to ensure that no adverse environmental impact, damage to operated assets, or impacts on well operations (drilling or production) occur due to leakage of production or injection fluids from reservoir intervals. Subsurface Containment Assurance involves the integrated efforts of subsurface (reservoir and overburden characterization), wells (planning, construction, well integrity and abandonment), operations (process safety and well operations and management of change) and HSE (health, safety and environment) teams. Disciplines must act together to develop and implement a surveillance plan to proactively monitor containment during well and injection operations in offshore fields.

The paper will describe the elements of a Subsurface Containment Assurance Program (SCAP) that are required for business units operating offshore across the entire life cycle from exploration to mature developments. The program is designed to be comprehensive, yet flexible; and focuses on the critical elements and risks for individual operating units. A consistent framework needs to be created and implemented that draws from existing tools for reservoir and overburden characterization and field management, and combines these tools to reduce the risk of unintended subsurface fluid containment loss. Specific assessment criteria and ranking approaches and tools for qualitative and quantitative estimation of containment risks will be discussed. Finally, surveillance programs focusing on containment using both direct and indirect measurements will be highlighted with a focus on offshore data gathering.

Loss of containment puts the environment, operating equipment and personnel at risk. Proactively identifying and mitigating containment risks is critical to operate safely. Containment assurance, particularly offshore, needs to be a key element of any asset and subsurface management plans.

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