Case Study – Spirit Energy Alternative P&A Barrier Bulk Field Trials

TLB Industry Sponsored Programme Alternative P&A Barrier Bulk Field Trials

Spirit Energy are the lead sponsor of a Technology Leadership Board, Industry Sponsored Programme to deliver bulk field trials of alternative P&A barrier solutions. It is widely acknowledged that alternatives to traditional cement based P&A approaches could increase the use of rig-less well abandonment techniques with potential for considerable cost savings.

High cost and technical risk associated with trialling new technologies offshore is identified as an obstacle to generating performance data, hindering the pace of development and leaving many operators reluctant to consider pursuing alternatives to cement. The objective of the programme is to deliver bulk field trials of alternative barrier solutions to provide industry with the deployment and barrier verification data required to evaluate the field performance of the technology. It is hoped that this approach will facilitate acceptance of the successful technologies by well operators and regulators and accelerate the transition between product development and commercialisation. The programme is funded by consortia members including Spirit Energy, Harbour Energy and the Net Zero Technology Centre.

Potential alternative barrier technologies

  • Modified in situ materials
  • Low melting point metal alloys
  • Thermosetting Resins & Polymers
  • Geopolymers
  • Non-setting grouts
  • Inorganic chemistry
  • Advanced cements
Image courtesy of Interwell

Image courtesy of Interwell

Programme Stakeholders

  • Spirit Energy (lead sponsor)
  • Harbour Energy
  • Oil & Gas Authority (UK)
  • Net Zero Technology Centre
  • Alberta Energy Regulator
  • Innotech Alberta
  • Various Canadian Operators

Programme Delivery

The technologies are currently being tested in “live” onshore wells made available by field operators in Alberta and British Columbia, Canada. It is hoped that testing can also be conducted in some UK land wells. The lower cost of testing in land wells allows more trials to be conducted with the available funding. It is intended to test up to 6 potential alternative barriers technologies under the programme and to fund 10 trials per year with 5 – 6 trials performed per technology. In Canada, trial wells exhibiting Sustained Casing Vent Flow are selected to enable barrier solution performance to be verified more readily than would be the case for full well abandonment. Well programmes and acceptance of the barrier solution to be tested require approval by the State regulator ahead of the trial and verification of successful vent flow shut off also requires regulator approval.

To allow testing in “live” wells, the technologies need to be deployment ready typically meeting TRL 7 – 9. Consortia members sit on a steering committee that is responsible for selecting technologies to be tested.

The first series of trials on Interwell’s RockSolidTM in situ modification Thermite based solution is nearing completion and the selection process underway for a second technology to trial.

Operator companies interested in joining the programme can contact



The Technology Leadership Board: Sponsor (

Case Study

TLB - Spirit Energy

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