VICTORIA, B.C. – The BC Oil and Gas Commission found two decommissioned well sites in the Fort St John area that required repair out of 103 oil and gas wells that were aerially surveyed.
The survey used a laser-based methane detection array mounted on the underside of a helicopter, by making multiple passes over decommissioned wells the methane detection algorithm was set to the highest level of sensitivity to ensure even small methane leaks would be identified.
Randomly selected wells were surveyed including open-hole abandonments, cased-hole
abandonments, and wells with a previous history of surface casing vent flows which were repaired at the time of the well’s abandonment.
The Commission shared the two emitting sites were then inspected in person by Commission staff. At one location the source of the emissions was identified as a pipeline riser with trace levels of methane escaping as a result of the pipeline not being properly isolated. The source of the emissions at the other location is confirmed as an abandoned well leak. Both permit holders have been notified that repairs are required under the Pipeline Regulation and the Drilling and Production Regulation.
The Commission shares that this is the second year this innovative leak detection method was used, which is an efficient and cost-effective way to inspect wells that are remote or otherwise difficult to access.