, Volume 54, Issue 6, pp 1207-1215

Determining effective wellbore permeability from a field pressure test: a numerical analysis of detection limits

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We propose a simple pressure test that can be used in the field to determine the effective permeability of existing wellbores. Such tests are motivated by the need to understand and quantify leakage risks associated with geological storage of CO2 in mature sedimentary basins. If CO2 is injected into a deep geological formation, and the resulting CO2 plume encounters a wellbore, leakage may occur through various pathways in the “disturbed zone” surrounding the well casing. The effective permeability of this composite zone, on the outside of the well casing, is an important parameter for models of leakage. However, the data that exist on this key parameter do not exist in the open literature, and therefore specific field tests need to be done in order to reduce the uncertainty inherent in the leakage estimates. The test designed and analyzed herein is designed to measure effective wellbore permeability within a low-permeability caprock, bounded above and below by permeable reservoirs, by pressurizing the reservoir below and measuring the response in the reservoir above. Alternatively, a modified test can be performed within the caprock without directly contacting the reservoirs above and below. We use numerical simulation to relate pressure response to effective well permeability and then evaluate the range of detection of the effective permeability based on instrument measurement error and limits on fracture pressure. These results can guide field experiments associated with site characterization and leakage analysis.