Considerable number of producing and abandoned wells with sustained casing head pressure (SCP) constitutes a potential new source of continuous natural gas emission from failed casing heads due to leaching cement sheath and external gas migration. Present regulations require assessment of SCP severity based upon a testing procedure that involves casing pressure bleed-off followed with pressure buildup. The test analysis, however, is qualitative and risk qualification – arbitrary, with no insight of the gas migration process.
The objective of this work is to consider SCP an environmental hazard and analyze the Bleedoff-Buidup (B-B) tests quantitatively to determine maximum possible emissions and their probabilistic risk. The maximum SCP is directly related to the potential failure of the well’s containment and breaching of the gas outside the well. Probabilistic approach is used to analyze the uncertainty of the maximum casing shoe pressure resulting from SCP and the uncertainty in determination of casing shoe strength determined by Leak-off test (LOT). The study contributes in the area of SCP well testing methodology and the environmental analysis of wells with small SCP that may be of no concern to operator but may have environmental consequences.