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Are your surface casing vents 'show'-ers or 'flow'-ers?

Are your surface casing vents 'show'-ers or 'flow'-ers?

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Easy to know where this title came from . . . if you don't know, I won't be telling you online.  This title actually came from one of our clients and was used to describe their issues with testing surface casing vent flows.  Some were definite ‘flows’, with gases and/or liquids coming out of the surface casing vent (SCV) at somewhat consistent rates and volumes.  These were called ‘flow’ers. Others were just referred to as SCV 'shows,' meaning the gases and/or liquids were coming some times, and other times, not.  Whether a ‘show’-er flowed or not depended on a lot of unknown factors, but would vary by day, by time, and even weather.

Because of this variability in the 'show'ers, the standard test may not capture the event appropriately.  For these, the industry standard is to use the 10-minute bubble test.  A positive flow would only occur if you picked the right or wrong 10-min time frame (depending whether you want it detected or not).   In fact, you could test the well and get something on the bubble test, but test again and get absolutely nothing.  There are vent metering technologies in the market that can be used to sit on a well for longer periods of time and provide flow data over time, as well as build up pressure and measure when the well is shut in.

So, your data shows periodic flow (but not consistent flow) and no buildup pressure.   The well will fail the bubble test, depending when it was tested. Is the well good or not?  To clarify, we’re not discussing the issues of compliance and whether a SCV is flowing or not, rather, we are interested in the next step.  You have a flow (or a show), and you want to figure out where it is coming from.

Once you have these measurements, what’s next?

In part 2 of this topic next week, we’ll talk about those next steps. What are your thoughts? How would you approach this scenario? What do you believe is the best course of action?

Post your questions below, and in part 2 I’ll cover Chemistry Matter’s solution to this problem and answer the questions posed here.

Have a question? Ask me below.

BY Court Sandau Geoforensics

About the Author

Court Sandau

Court is the President and owner of Chemistry Matters – a niche environmental consulting firm which specializes in geoforensics, environmental forensics, biomonitoring, and arson investigations. As an international speaker and expert chemist, Court is often called upon to provide his expert services in oil & gas investigations and litigious chemistry issues.

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