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Title: Transport and Fate of Natural Gas and Brine Escaping from a Hydrocarbon Reservoir Through a Failed Deepwater Well in the Oceanic Subsurface of the Gulf of Mexico

Abstract

The possibility of broaching, or the release of fluids at the seafloor due to a damaged or faulty well, is a hazard that must be assessed in the well permitting process. This paper describes a numerical simulation study of a real-life scenario where a complex, permeable sandy formation, connected to the seafloor via known chimneys/seeps, is intersected by a damaged production well that drains another deeper, gas-bearing formation. The objective of the study is to determine the transport and fate of hydrocarbon reservoir fluids (gas and brines) escaping into the sandy formation through the casing shoe of the failed well, and to determine the time it takes for these contaminants to reach the ocean floor. We conducted a detailed simulation study to represent the conditions, properties, and behavior of the system under such failure conditions, and we investigated the migration of gas and brine for a range of reservoir and chimney properties. A key conclusion is that, for such complex systems, modeling the three-dimensional geometry of the system in detail is the key to describing transport and assessing the time and magnitude of potential releases. For the system studied here, transport times range from under 2 years (highest permeabilities) tomore » many decades, ensuring significant time to respond to potential broaching hazards. Under the conditions investigated in this study, we also determine that gas-dominated releases associated with low rates of water flow into the sandy formation are likely to cause hydrate formation that can reduce permeabilities in the colder, upper regions of the chimneys and possibly mitigate releases.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [2];  [1];  [3];  [4];  [4];  [4]
  1. Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States). Energy Geosciences Division
  2. Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States). Energy Geosciences Division; Texas A & M Univ., College Station, TX (United States). Dept. of Petroleum Engineering
  3. Texas A & M Univ., College Station, TX (United States). Dept. of Petroleum Engineering
  4. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, New Orleans, LA (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory-National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
OSTI Identifier:
1530604
DOE Contract Number:  
AC02- 05CH11231
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Journal Name:
Transport in Porous Media
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 127; Journal Issue: 2; Journal ID: ISSN 0169-3913
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English

Citation Formats

Reagan, M. T., Moridis, G. J., Keen, N. D., Lee, K. J., Natter, M., Bjerstedt, T., and Shedd, W. W. Transport and Fate of Natural Gas and Brine Escaping from a Hydrocarbon Reservoir Through a Failed Deepwater Well in the Oceanic Subsurface of the Gulf of Mexico. United States: N. p., 2018. Web. doi:10.1007/s11242-018-1207-y.
Reagan, M. T., Moridis, G. J., Keen, N. D., Lee, K. J., Natter, M., Bjerstedt, T., & Shedd, W. W. Transport and Fate of Natural Gas and Brine Escaping from a Hydrocarbon Reservoir Through a Failed Deepwater Well in the Oceanic Subsurface of the Gulf of Mexico. United States. doi:10.1007/s11242-018-1207-y.
Reagan, M. T., Moridis, G. J., Keen, N. D., Lee, K. J., Natter, M., Bjerstedt, T., and Shedd, W. W. Thu . "Transport and Fate of Natural Gas and Brine Escaping from a Hydrocarbon Reservoir Through a Failed Deepwater Well in the Oceanic Subsurface of the Gulf of Mexico". United States. doi:10.1007/s11242-018-1207-y.
@article{osti_1530604,
title = {Transport and Fate of Natural Gas and Brine Escaping from a Hydrocarbon Reservoir Through a Failed Deepwater Well in the Oceanic Subsurface of the Gulf of Mexico},
author = {Reagan, M. T. and Moridis, G. J. and Keen, N. D. and Lee, K. J. and Natter, M. and Bjerstedt, T. and Shedd, W. W.},
abstractNote = {The possibility of broaching, or the release of fluids at the seafloor due to a damaged or faulty well, is a hazard that must be assessed in the well permitting process. This paper describes a numerical simulation study of a real-life scenario where a complex, permeable sandy formation, connected to the seafloor via known chimneys/seeps, is intersected by a damaged production well that drains another deeper, gas-bearing formation. The objective of the study is to determine the transport and fate of hydrocarbon reservoir fluids (gas and brines) escaping into the sandy formation through the casing shoe of the failed well, and to determine the time it takes for these contaminants to reach the ocean floor. We conducted a detailed simulation study to represent the conditions, properties, and behavior of the system under such failure conditions, and we investigated the migration of gas and brine for a range of reservoir and chimney properties. A key conclusion is that, for such complex systems, modeling the three-dimensional geometry of the system in detail is the key to describing transport and assessing the time and magnitude of potential releases. For the system studied here, transport times range from under 2 years (highest permeabilities) to many decades, ensuring significant time to respond to potential broaching hazards. Under the conditions investigated in this study, we also determine that gas-dominated releases associated with low rates of water flow into the sandy formation are likely to cause hydrate formation that can reduce permeabilities in the colder, upper regions of the chimneys and possibly mitigate releases.},
doi = {10.1007/s11242-018-1207-y},
journal = {Transport in Porous Media},
issn = {0169-3913},
number = 2,
volume = 127,
place = {United States},
year = {2018},
month = {11}
}