Written by: Alexander Edwards, Sam Green and Jakob Heller of Ikon Science
Well abandonment is driven by economic decisions, namely when unit lifting costs are no longer profitable. Generally, governmental authorities require that well operators perform safe and environmentally compliant abandonment operations by establishing a permanent barrier to retain remaining hydrocarbons in their existing reservoirs and prevent the release of hydrocarbons to the surface. However, the regulator guidelines do not always articulate how these processes should be implemented, and it is therefore at the discretion of the operator to decide which, and how, processes are put into place. This in turn leads to an inconsistent response with little opportunity to share best practice and drive overall operational and cost efficiency. Therefore, there is a significant risk of failure to deliver a successful well abandonment due to the lack of standardization and experience.
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