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Wellbore Integrity and Mitigation

The Carbon Storage Program’s Wellbore Integrity and Mitigation Technology Component comprises efforts to improve wellbore construction materials to ensure safe and reliable injection operations and long-term containment of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the storage complex. In addition, the Wellbore Integrity and Mitigation Technology Component also addresses the need to prevent and correct any release of CO2 from its intended geologic storage complex.

A 1.5 m (5 foot) interval of the Gorgas well was isolated with packers as shown. Multiple 1.27 cm (0.5 inch) diameter perforation channels extend through the well casing and cement and into the Boyles sandstone formation for a distance of 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.
A 1.5 m (5 foot) interval of the Gorgas well was isolated with packers as shown. Multiple 1.27 cm (0.5 inch) diameter perforation channels extend through the well casing and cement and into the Boyles sandstone formation for a distance of 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.

Wellbore integrity addresses the need to assess and construct wellbores to ensure safe and reliable injection operations, as well as long-term containment of CO2 in the storage complex. Wellbore materials must be resistant to chemical corrosion from all fluids, must be sufficiently strong to withstand mechanical stresses associated with injection, and form complete hydraulic isolation to ensure containment. Research is needed to develop the required materials with desirable properties.

Current research is focused on improved understanding of factors impacting wellbore integrity and improved methods for assessing integrity over the life of a storage project. Future research includes development of advanced well construction materials for long-term wellbore integrity, autonomous completions for long-term assessment of wellbore integrity issues, advanced tools to ensure wellbore integrity in complex geologic settings (such as sub-salt, low strength, and over-pressured conditions), and novel well-completion techniques to increase reservoir injectivity without compromising containment.

Mitigation addresses the need to prevent and correct any potential release of CO2 from the intended geologic storage complex. Permanent CO2 storage relies on the presence of a confining zone that will trap the CO2 for millennia. Wellbores and natural geologic features, including faults and fractures, could become release pathways for CO2 to migrate to the surface or into shallower formations. Research is needed to develop methods to detect potential release pathways and to seal them. 

Current research is focused on developing improved systems for detection and remediation of CO2 leakage from wells and natural pathways. Future research is needed for the development of lower-cost tools with higher resolution, including advanced seismic and tracer technologies for leak identification in wells and from the natural system; and novel methods, such as "self-healing" or externally activated cements, nanocomposites, and other materials, for permanent mitigation of release pathways.

More information on Wellbore Integrity and Mitigation projects can be found on the Carbon Storage Project Portfolio Page under “Wellbore Integrity and Mitigation Projects.”

Technology Component Portfolio Interactive Map

The National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) is supporting a diverse portfolio of projects, which can be viewed in the Tableau Dashboard below. This map is entirely interactive; adjusting the toolbar on the left allows you to narrow your selection, pan, or zoom in/out. The map can be sorted by Technology Area; clicking on a location allows you to learn more about each individual project. 

Adjusting the Icon Spread Factor allows you to simultaneously view projects with the same locations. NOTE: Some of the projects, while they share a location, appear staggered to allow the viewer to show multiple projects at the same location. In those instances, as well those in which the location is marked as "Regional," the location is estimated.

Please note that the interactive map is best viewed using the Internet Explorer or Edge internet browsers.