A New Recommended Practice for Fit-for-Purpose Well Abandonment
- Adam Wilson (JPT Special Publications Editor)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- January 2017
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 71 - 76
- 2016. Offshore Technology Conference
- 3 in the last 30 days
- 126 since 2007
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This article, written by Special Publications Editor Adam Wilson, contains highlights of paper OTC 27084, “Introducing a New Recommended Practice for Fit-for-Purpose Well Abandonment,” by David Buchmiller, SPE, Per Jahre-Nilsen, Stian Sætre, and Eric Allen, SPE, DNV GL, prepared for the 2016 Offshore Technology Conference, Houston, 2–5 May. The paper has not been peer reviewed. Copyright 2016 Offshore Technology Conference. Reproduced by permission.
DNV GL is introducing a new, risk-based recommended practice for performing and qualifying well abandonments titled DNVGL-RP-E103, Risk-Based Abandonment of Offshore Wells. Most of the current regulations use prescriptive requirements for well-abandonment design and the necessary plugging operations. As an alternative to the established one-size-fits-all approaches, the DNV GL recommended practice analyzes the abandonment requirements for each well and field using a quantitative method that takes into account subsurface uncertainties.
There is an ongoing paradigm shift toward differentiating plug-and-abandonment requirements on a well-by-well basis instead of having prescriptive requirements, which not only will provide the appropriate focus for complex wells and facilitate development of new technology but also will potentially reduce plug-and-abandonment expenditures.
The recommended practice is intended to provide an alternative approach based on functional requirements and risk-acceptance criteria to assess abandonment designs. This is consistent with offshore engineering practice and is in-tended to facilitate cost-efficient solutions, including the development of new technology. By calculating the risk levels for the proposed solutions and cross checking them with the risk-acceptance criteria, more-cost-effective solutions can be identified and implemented.
Advantages of this approach are that it has
- Explicit criteria for environmental protection
- Plug-and-abandonment spending focused on higher-risk wells
- The ability to optimize well-abandonment design
- The flexibility to make use of new plugging technology in the future
- Site-specific considerations
Methodology, Data, and Results
The methodology for performing risk-based assessments of well-abandonment designs is composed of five steps. The steps are
- Establishing the risk context
- Identifying well-barrier-failure modes
- Performing a risk analysis
- Performing a risk evaluation
- Conducting qualification for well-abandonment design
Fig. 1 depicts the elements in a well-abandonment risk assessment. Establishing the risk context is the first step in the process and applies to the entire assessment. The second, third, and fourth steps are part of the risk-assessment process, where the well-abandonment risks are identified, analyzed, and evaluated. At the conclusion of the risk-assessment process, a qualification of the well-abandonment design is performed.
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