Improving Offshore Well Integrity - Advanced Tools and Methods to Evaluate Barrier System Performance

The extraction of subsurface resources still poses an unacceptably high risk for well integrity loss—especially in the offshore where the environment is harsh and unforgiving and impacts can be disastrous. Oil and natural gas exploration and production companies incur considerable operational expenses and capital investment mitigating these harsh conditions and reaching the remote locations of the wells. To minimize loss and maximize the probability for long-term well integrity, operators must use materials, tools, and methods that ensure success from the beginning. Advances in the science-base will help to achieve this goal by developing innovative materials and methods for improving offshore well integrity.

The objective of this project is to improve well integrity by conducting research focused on the critical barrier system stability in a well. The barrier system consists of the casing-cement-rock interfaces and is designed to provide mechanical support, act as a hydrologic barrier, and prevent corrosion of the well system. Improving this system requires studying the performance of materials along critical interfaces (e.g., the corrosion-resistance of a casing-cement interface) in addition to full-system performance.

This work advances the DOE/FE/NETL mission of ensuring the safe, efficient, and economic use of our fossil energy resources. Because of the project, the public will benefit from advances in the science-base for understanding well system barrier performance, open-source tools that stakeholders can use to simulate key processes that affect offshore well integrity, and innovative materials that can be used to reduce the risk of well integrity loss in the barrier system.