Well construction and integrity

A properly designed and constructed oil and gas well is essential to protecting the water table and ensuring successful production.

Article

Well construction and integrity

As illustrated, these protective measures consist of multiple layers of steel casing and cement that separate the well from the aquifer and also serve to isolate production streams within the center of the well. In particular, the surface casing pipe is cemented in place to isolate the aquifer from the wellbore. Additional casing and cement are added as the well is drilled deeper to ensure integrity of the wellbore and that fluids remain within the pipe. This is not only a sound operating practice, but also a standard regulatory requirement.

These cement casings are also thoroughly tested for leak-tightness prior to operation to ensure integrity. We test the casing and cement jobs to ensure they do not create a pathway for oil and gas to enter the water table. In addition, hydraulic fracturing completions are closely monitored and managed to ensure that the pressures involved do not exceed well design parameters.

Lastly, the surface site is also designed to isolate groundwater from drilling and production operations. When the well is decommissioned, the entire wellbore is filled with cement and sealed just below the surface to provide long-term protection to both soil and groundwater aquifers.

Related content

Water

The water used in unconventional resource development and hydraulic fracturing typically comes from surface or groundwater sources.

Unconventional resources Article

Phases of natural gas production

Before any wells are drilled, extensive surveillance is done to study the locations of the underground natural gas reservoir and the nature of the local topography, so as to ensure minimal impact of operations on the local community.

Unconventional resources Article

Benefits of natural gas and oil

Natural gas offers reliable, flexible power generation with significantly reduced CO2 emissions at a competitive price, making it a long-term solution to meeting the world’s future energy needs.

Unconventional resources Article

Horizontal drilling

In conventional oil and gas development, vertical drilling is used to produce these resources.

Unconventional resources Article

What are unconventional resources?

In unconventional oil and natural gas development, the oil and gas is found in low permeability reservoirs.

Unconventional resources Article

Equipment

Natural gas extraction and production requires a mix of resources and equipment.

Unconventional resources Article