Evaluating Well Integrity in the Oil and Gas Industry

When you drill a new oil or gas well, you need to be sure it will be sound. It has to be usable and must remain viable for a reasonable length of time. Otherwise, drilling and maintaining it could be unnecessarily costly. If you have a problem with a current well, you need to consider the same issues. It matters whether it’s worth saving or repairing or should be abandoned in favor of a new one. That’s why evaluating well integrity is so important.

What Is Well Integrity?

The integrity of a well involves whether the contents get into the environment, as well as whether water and other aspects of the environment can make their way into the well. In short, it’s basically a contamination issue. A well with good integrity won’t let anything in or out through its walls. When you drill for an oil or gas well and then case the hole with a lining to stop contamination, the expectation is that the well will have good integrity. Sometimes, though, that gets compromised.

How Is This Determined?

Determining the integrity of a well is often done through the use of wireline services. These allow for collecting data and information that can provide important insight about well quality. You can learn whether there’s any contamination in the well and if there are structural issues or other concerns that could lead to a breach in the future. Discovering the problem quickly is extremely important since a contaminated well can provide a lot of products that can’t be used.

Can Failed Wells Be Made Viable Again?

Depending on the reason for the failure, it may be possible to reuse a well that has poor integrity. However, the problem has to be fully corrected, and anything that’s contaminated has to be removed. The integrity of an oil or gas well is paramount to using the product that comes out of it, so it’s a significant consideration. In many cases, it’s easier to abandon the well and create a new one instead of trying to correct problems.

When Is It Time to Let a Well Go?

If a well’s integrity is compromised and can’t be easily corrected, it’s probably best to plug and abandon it. Drilling a new one takes time and effort, but so does a repair on the current one that might not even be successful. Oil and gas well sites are large-scale operations, and the occasional bad well is a cost of doing business.