Bulletin – Abandonment
In this Bulletin the AER discussed nonroutine commingled abandonment. Any abandonment activity that varies from the requirements given in Directive 020: Well Abandonment, is considered “nonroutine” and must be approved by the AER before work can be started. Requests for nonroutine abandonment of commingled wells have not generally been approved, primarily because the risks were not understood well enough.
In 2019 the AER undertook a study of those risks, and published Open File Report 2019-06: A Risk-Based Methodology for Commingled Well Abandonment – Southeastern Alberta Gas Field Case Study. In April 2019 the AER initiated a pilot under the Area-Based Closure program that began approving nonroutine abandonment of commingled wells meeting certain criteria. The pilot was ended and the AER will continue to review requests for nonroutine abandonment of commingled wells. The AER limited consideration to pools that are located below the base of groundwater protection and include intervals classified as low risk (green) in Open File Report 2019-06.