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01.09.2012 | Special Issue | Ausgabe 2/2012

Environmental Earth Sciences 2/2012

Development of a long-term wellbore sealing concept based on numerical simulations and in situ-testing in the Altmark natural gas field

Zeitschrift:
Environmental Earth Sciences > Ausgabe 2/2012
Autoren:
Zhengmeng Hou, Lars Wundram, Robert Meyer, Meinhardt Schmidt, Steffen Schmitz, Patrick Were

Abstract

This paper presents an innovative well abandonment concept developed for the long-term containment of CO2 in depleted Rotliegend gas reservoirs. The new concept aims at amending the conventional standard well abandonment procedure, taking advantage of the natural creeping ability of the thick, homogeneous Zechstein rock salt formation located around 3,000 m in depth (Altmark area) and consists of four main sealing units: (1) a standard sealing element with cement from the reservoir to the impermeable caprock, (2) a salt plug created in the formerly reamed section of casing within the plastic Zechstein (Upper Permian) rock salt formation, (3) two bridge plugs at the bottom and top of the salt plug and (4) a standard sealing element with cement from the top bridge plug until the ground surface. This site-specific study mainly lays emphasis on the development and field testing of the naturally created salt plug, as a key component of the long-term wellbore sealing concept. Comprehensive numerical simulations conducted prior to and during the field test in 2010 and 2011 successfully predicted the evolution of convergence using downhole measurement data. Preliminary results comprise (1) proven convergence of the rock salt formation, (2) a successful coring and (3) restored integrity of Zechstein salt formation, as proven by the formation integrity test. Based on these results, the new long-term sealing concept has been successfully tested at the Altmark natural gas field and successful application of the concept on other sites with similar geological conditions is foreseen to be likely.

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