Wellbore permeability estimates from vertical interference testing of existing wells

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Abstract

Wellbore integrity is considered an important risk factor for leakage of CO2 and formation fluids out of geological CO2 storage sites. Quantifying the effective hydraulic parameters that control vertical migration of fluids along the wellbore involves data collection through numerous field and laboratory experiments. The vertical interference test (VIT) is a downhole test designed to measure hydraulic communication of the outside-of-casing wellbore barrier system over a selected well section. Results from these tests can be analyzed numerically to determine the average permeability of the section. Several field surveys of existing wells have resulted in 9 VIT datasets, of which three are presented here. The effective permeability estimates for the three tests span two orders of magnitude, from approximately 1 mD to more than 100 mD. When compared with companion sidewall core analyses of the cement matrix that have permeabilities in the microD range, the VIT data suggest that interfaces or defects in the cement sheath are responsible for flow. Initial analysis of the remaining 6 datasets suggests an even larger range in effective permeability values, as low as microD to more than 1 D, indicating that well permeability can be highly variable from well to well and that high values of permeability are possible. These data provide important insights into realistic wellbore integrity of typical wells in N. America, and help us constrain models for understanding and mitigating risk of leakage during CO2 storage operations.

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Gasda, S. E., Celia, M. A., Wang, J. Z., & Duguid, A. (2013). Wellbore permeability estimates from vertical interference testing of existing wells. In Energy Procedia (Vol. 37, pp. 5673–5680). Elsevier Ltd. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.egypro.2013.06.489

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