Loss of barrier assurance and primary containment occurrences whether downhole or at surface have impacted safe well operation and production funnel significantly. Complex well head design, inadequate cement behind casing, threat of shallow gas presence and multiple downhole tubulars leaks are some of the common perils in sustaining the production. Apart from frequent pressure monitoring, risk assessment and mitigation plans to tackle the issues head-on, a new fresh perspective is required to manage well integrity and diagnostic holistically. This paper will highlight application of geochemical method as the new eye to trace source of well integrity issues and emulates forensic engineering to investigate well barrier failures.

Crude and gas compositional analysis from C1 up till C36 carbon chain plays a key role in determining the possible scenarios of leak paths and type of fluid expelled from the wellbore. The best forensic analysis could be produced utilizing multiple samples which represent different stages of well life starting from open-hole exploration drilling, development, production and towards the well abandonment stage. Comparing samples composition at each stage with reference to the baseline while evaluating the existing or newly acquired cement bond and diagnostic logs will help to complete the lingering puzzle.

Results showed that the origin of the fluid samples expelled from the wellbore are successfully traced in a much more economical way with faster turn-around time compared to the conventional diagnostic method. It helps to point out the most likely well integrity elemental failure which has triggered immediate actions to revive the production. Plan to feed in the cash flow has been accelerated 6 months ahead through work-over activities and number of unhealthy well strings has been reduced by 12%. Production deferment is also reduced by half million ringgit equivalent value.

In a nutshell, the case studies provide an eye-opening insight towards predictive and quantitative well integrity solutions to support production. Forward looking the geochemical forensic method can be further tailored for strategic well diagnostic solutions as more data comes in. Time to action could be further reduced with the introduction of advanced on-site analysis technology to boost the restoration efforts.

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