Abandoned oil and gas wells pose numerous threats to the environment. The Environmental Defence Fund (EDF) estimates that the oil and gas industry is one of the principal sources of methane emissions. The
highlights that methane is approximately 84 times as strong as carbon dioxide for warming the atmosphere and hastening the pace of global warming. Oil and gas wells have prolonged life cycles. From initial preparations using
to the abandonment of unproductive wells, the process can be long and complicated.Abandoned wells can emit methane into the environment, causing long-term damage and exacerbating climate change risks. Plugging these abandoned wells is effective for reducing methane emissions by approximately
. But how do these plug and abandonment processes work? Let’s break it down.
Tracing the Lifecycle of an Oil and Gas Well before Abandonment
Oil and gas wells go through the following phases before plugging and abandonment.
● Preparatory Phase: The oil and gas companies identify viable fields. They calculate the number of wells that they can drill and the approximate returns from each well.
● Drilling Phase: Two-phase drilling processes are necessary for preparing a well for production. The drilling process ensures the stimulation of upward flow for the oil contained in the wells.
● Well Completion: Well completion processes are essential for preparing these wells for oil and gas production. Tools like sliding sleeves and expansion joints are relevant for well completion processes.
● Production: The production processes involve extracting fuel resources from the completed well. Companies use
and gas lift valves help the workers in executing production tasks.
● Sand Management: Often, oil extraction teams find unwanted particles and rock components in the production fluids. Then, they must conduct sand management tasks using tools like oil and gas screens to ensure undeterred production in the oil and gas well.
● The Decline in Production: As time passes, the production level plateaus and declines. When the production falls below feasible levels, the company can abandon the well.
The abandonment phase serves as the precursor for starting the plugging processes.
Plugging Processes for Oil and Gas Wells
When the oil and gas well turns into a dry hole, the workers must conduct activities and operations to remove the ongoing hazards. The steps for plugging the wells include the following.
● Site preparation for safety and stability of the area
● Removing and setting aside remnants from the equipment like tubular elements or bore casing
● Removing tubular elements that remain stuck in the wellbore
● The workers then place cement plugs in the borehole to stop fluid migration
● Cutting the casing before conducting reclamation of areas according to environmental regulations
High-quality oil and gas field management accessories can help the workers execute these plugging processes. They can make conversions from cement retainers to