To maximize the value of aging assets, workover operations are often required to extend the producing life of the wells within a given field. In many of these cases, symptoms such as sustained casing pressure (SCP) and lost production arise indicating a loss of wellbore integrity. Regardless of the root cause, industry regulations or internal, operator-specific requirements routinely mandate that wellbore integrity is reestablished for the remaining life of the well. These operations can often be extremely challenging as there is typically a high level of uncertainty in regards to the condition of the casing, cement, and other downhole components.
Many field assets have exceeded the original anticipated life span. Wells are typically designed for a 25- to 30-year lifespan with an expectation they will no longer be economically viable after that amount of time. As recovery technology has advanced, many of these fields still have profitable volumes of oil in place if the well integrity and infrastructure of the asset remains viable. Extending well life by 15 – 25 years is not uncommon now for some operators (1). There are typically some number of wells in the inventory which have integrity issues. To extend the life of the asset and allow continued production, an investment in well integrity and/or alteration of well design must be addressed. This paper will provide examples of real challenges operators have faced to ensure well integrity in order to extend the life of a well in aging fields.