When a well reaches the end of its production life cycle, it should be permanently closed and left behind in a safe manner. The technical term used to describe this process is known as permanent plug and abandonment (P&A) of wells. The permanently plugged and abandoned wells should be secured with an eternal perspective to minimize the risk to surrounding. It is forecasted that more than a million hydrocarbon wells are going to be plugged and abandoned in the coming decades. General public opinion shows that this process needs to be expedited due to climate change.
This international partnership is conducted to share knowledge, educate students and engineers, and possibly proposing new solutions to improve the current practices in a scientific manner. The objectives are being achieved through educating new generations through development of online courses, research collaboration, joint publications, seminars and webinars, supervision of students at different levels and development of research projects.
The partnership consists of Norwegian and Brazilian research institutes and universities with a proven track record within in drilling and well technology. The ultimate goal is to ensure zero harm to environment.
The relationship between Norway and Brazil has long traditions; the two countries have been trading partners for over 170 years. Both countries have been recognized by their novel developments for the oil and gas industry, due to their unique challenges and operations under extreme conditions. Examples are the development of oil fields in ultra-deep waters in Brazil, and the installation of oil and gas facilities in the extreme conditions in the Norwegian Continental Shelf. The institutions involved in this proposal have had important roles to educate engineers and professionals and develop technologies that have made the oil and gas industry in both countries a story of success.
Nowadays, the oil and gas industry is facing a challenge related to the permanent plugging and abandonment (P&A) of wells when reaching the end of their production life. Many wells must be plugged and abandoned in the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS) and in the Brazilian offshore in the coming years. The total number of wells in both countries have been estimated to be approximately 7000 (3500 offshore). The cost associate with well abandonment activities is enormous with no return to the National Development Fund of both countries. The large number of wells that are up for abandonment has made the topic of P&A one of the focal points for the oil industry in Brazil and Norway. This new panorama creates the necessity of a new group of professionals with knowledge, skills and experience within this area, as well as the development of new technologies.
The goal of this project is to establish a bi-national team within P&A that will exchange knowledge, help to educate young professionals with expertise in this area and develop new research projects with international impact. To reach this goal, five leading institutions are brought together in this INTPART application; two Norwegian and three Brazilian project partners.