International Cooperation to Reduce Methane Emissions for Inactive & Leaky Wells
Canada’s oil and gas sector continues to address the challenges of climate change with new project(s) designed to reduce methane emissions from oil and gas wells. U.K. oil and gas companies also recognize this need and are working with their Canadian counterparts to develop new products and processes to reduce a backlog of inactive wells by closing them with alternative materials, and to eliminate methane emissions from leaky wells.
This ground-breaking collaboration between Innotech Alberta, PTAC, Frontier Project Solutions and Net Zero Technology Centre (NZTC) based in Aberdeen, Scotland, demonstrates that the energy sector is working domestically and internationally to find innovative solutions to some of Industry’s most significant challenges.
The sector mainly uses cement to construct or seal wells. This cement can crack sometimes allowing methane from oil and gas reservoirs to come to the surface. Leaking wells are often difficult to remediate. When cement fails, multiple attempts may be required to close the well, also increasing the financial liability.
This international project will test five alternatives to cement designed to greatly reduce the risk associated with methane migration to surface. Over the next two years, the collaboration will be working with half a dozen production companies to test the different products. Once completed, the results of the tests will be shared broadly to educate producers and stakeholders in general about the benefits of these different products. During the testing phase, any additional learnings will also be disseminated to help companies reduce their environmental footprint.
Without funding, none of this would be possible. The largest contribution is coming from the Clean Resource Innovation Network (CRIN) and the NZTC operator collaboration. In addition, Alberta producers are supporting the project through the Alberta Upstream Petroleum Research Fund managed by PTAC. As project manager, InnoTech Alberta leads and contributes to project execution. Funding support is also provided by Alberta Innovates and Frontier Project Solutions. Finally, six participating producers are providing site access and in-kind services to facilitate field tests. Altogether, the direct and in-kind funding amounts close to $4 million to be spent in Alberta.
“InnoTech Alberta has been working with industry for quite some time to address this pressing environmental and operational problem. About 50,000 leaking wells have accumulated in Canada, so it’s imperative to develop effective materials and processes for well closure. We are pleased to welcome our international partner, Net Zero Technology Centre of Scotland, as we field test and advance solutions in Alberta, and export the knowledge to wherever it’s needed in the world.” – Steve McMahon, Chief Operating Officer, InnoTech Alberta.
“PTAC continues to advance technology solutions for the oil and gas sector to solve some of our pressing environmental challenges. This project along with the significant inclusion of NZTC in the UK demonstrates the effectiveness of industry collaboration. This project will help reduce methane emissions from upstream oil and gas activities” – Allan Fogwill, Chief Operating Officer, PTAC.
The project is currently underway with field trials starting in Q4 2022.