A Study of How to Implement Alternative Well Plugging Materials in Governing Regulations
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The governing requirements and regulations for petroleum activities on the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS) refers to the industry standard NORSOK D-010 for technical and functional requirements for Plug & Abandonment (P&A) operations. The last revision of this document was done in 2004, and since then, a lot has happened in the area of P&A technology development.This report will first describe the current NORSOK D-010 barrier requirements for P&A operations. Based on these requirements, an evaluation of cement materials and additives will follow, and also an evaluation of the newly developed alternatives ThermaSet and Sandaband as potential plugging materials. These materials all turns out to be potentially good alternatives, and could beneficially replace cement in certain environments and conditions to save time, money, and ensure better performance as a sealing material.However, at the time of the last revision, the NORSOK D-010 standard was mainly based on cement as the standard plugging material, and should therefore be more generalized and optimized for the implementation of the new materials. After evaluating the plugging materials, this report will make proposals for adjustments in the NORSOK D-010 to better implement the new alternative materials. The proposed changes include generalization of the requirements for cement, updates and inclusion of more information in well barrier schematics, and development of new specific requirements for the two new alternative materials.In the end, the proposed changes will be evaluated to assess if the adjustments would increase or reduce the level of safety in the NORSOK D-010 standard. Most of the proposed adjustments are expected to increase the level of safety, and none of the changes are expected to lower the level of safety in the standard.The next revision of NORSOK D-010 has already been announced, and is expected to finish late 2012. Other areas that should be assessed in the future are to develop and implement new standards for testing & qualification of alternative materials for use as barrier elements in P&A operations on the NCS, in addition to further development and improvement of new materials.