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Wellbore Integrity


Preliminary modeling of CO2 injection at the Chester 16 reef system. Photo courtesy of ORNL FEAA-04 Task 1.

Wellbore Integrity Overview:

Wellbore integrity addresses the need to construct and assess wellbores to ensure safe and reliable injection operations, as well as long-term containment of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the storage complex. The United States Department of Energy (DOE) is supporting research to provide a better understanding of factors which impact wellbore integrity and improved methods for assessing integrity over the life of a storage project.

Wellbore Integrity research focuses on technologies to develop:

  • Improved systems for detection and remediation of CO2 leakage from wells and near-by natural pathways.
  • ¬†Advanced well construction materials for long-term wellbore integrity.
  • Autonomous completions for long-term assessment of well-bore integrity issues.
  • Advanced tools to ensure wellbore integrity in complex geologic settings.
  • Novel well-completion techniques to increase reservoir injectivity without compromising containment.

This includes the development of lower-cost tools with higher resolution, such as advanced seismic and tracer technologies for leak identification, and novel methods, such as "self-healing" or externally activated cements, nanocomposites, and other materials, for permanent mitigation of release pathways.

A 1.5-meter (5-foot) interval of the Gorgas well was isolated with packers as shown. Multiple 1.27-centimeter (0.5-inch) diameter perforation channels extend through the well casing and cement and into the Boyles sandstone formation for approximately one foot. Ureolytically active biofilm was developed in the formation pore space by injecting microbial inoculum followed by growth media, as shown above. After a biofilm has been established, calcium precipitation solution was injected, resulting in the precipitation of calcium carbonate minerals, which plugs the free pore space and form the biomineralization seal as shown.

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