GHGT-10 analysis of in-situ wellbore integrity data for existing wells with long-term exposure to CO2

Sarah E. Gasda, James Z. Wang, Michael Anthony Celia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


An important aspect of the risk associated with geological carbon dioxide sequestration is the integrity of existing wellbores that penetrate geological layers targeted for CO2 injection. CO2 leakage may occur through multiple pathways along a wellbore within the "disturbed zone" surrounding the well casing. The disturbed zone is defined as the annular region along the exterior of the steel wellbore casing that includes the Portland cement sheath, the damage zone of the host rock and the casing-cement-rock interfaces. The effective permeability of this zone is a key parameter of wellbore integrity required for validation of numerical models. Effective permeability may depend on a number of complex factors, including long-term attack by aggressive fluids, poor well completion or actions related to production of fluids through the wellbore. Field tests are essential to understanding the in situ leakage properties ofthe millions ofwells that exist in mature sedimentary basins in North America. We present results from recent field studies of different CO2 producing wells from both natural CO2 reservoirs and enhanced oil recovery (EOR) operations. These surveys have included a particular downhole pressure test, the vertical interference test (VIT), designed to determine the extent of hydraulic communication along the exterior of the well casing. The VIT test involves perforating the well casing in two separate intervals, both of which are located within the shale caprock and bracket a zone of cement identified to have a lower quality bond. Once the intervals are isolated with an inflatable packer, the system is pressurized from surface and held at a constant pressure, while simultaneously, the transient pressure response is measured in the lower isolated interval. The pressure transient data is an indicator of the extent of hydraulic communication and is the focus of subsequent analysis. The effective wellbore permeability can be determined through numerical analysis ofthe VIT data. Our objective is to identify to most effective method of analysis for estimating wellbore permeability. We evaluate two different automated parameter estimation methods, nonlinear regression and shuffled complex evolution metropolis methods. Within this study, we also estimate parameters such as permeability and compressibility ofthe low permeability shale zone to determine their effect on the resulting estimate of wellbore permeability. The results of this work demonstrate that parameter estimation can be effective at identifying the key parameters associated with wellbore integrity from VIT field tests, and ultimately reducing the uncertainty regarding the integrity ofexisting wellbores.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5406-5413
Number of pages8
JournalEnergy Procedia
StatePublished - 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Energy


  • Effective wellbore permeability
  • Parameter estimation
  • Wellbore integrity


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