Experimental Investigation of Wellbore Integrity of Depleted Oil and Gas Reservoirs for Underground Hydrogen Storage

Athar Hussain, Hamoud Al-Hadrami, Hossein Emadi, Faisal Altawati, Sugan Raj Thiyagarajan, Marshall Watson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The is wide consensus that combustion of fossil fuels and rising greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere are accelerating global warming. To avoid the dilemma of need for fossil fuels to provide energy supply and the need to reduce fossil fuel related emissions, it is critical to promote renewable energy as a viable option to satisfy the world's energy requirements. However, employing renewables to generate power necessitates the use of bulk storage to accommodate discrepancies related to where and when renewable energy is produced versus where and when it is needed. Underground hydrogen storage has the potential to support establishment of hydrogen as a reliable source of clean energy across the planet. Where present, depleted oil and gas reservoirs, due to their existing infrastructure, can prove to be an attractive asset for underground hydrogen storage. One of the main challenges involved in the storage of hydrogen in the depleted oil and gas reservoirs is related to wellbore integrity. When hydrogen is injected or produced in the subsurface, it may get bin contact with cement around the wellbores. Hence it is necessary to investigate the effects of hydrogen interacting with the cement sheath. To study this in the laboratory, a core holder capable of simulating the wellbore conditions is used to conduct the tests. A 2" long, 1.5" diameter cement sample was placed inside the core holder and hydrogen was injected into it. Hydrogen was also injected into wet cement slurry to investigate possible stability of the cement samples. The effects of injecting hydrogen on set cement are studied using a CT Scanner which demonstrates if there is any formation of cracks and micro-annuli in the cement. The cement sample is crushed afterwards, and the presence of hydrogen particles in the structure of cement is evaluated by X-Ray Diffraction. A neat 15.5 lbs./gal Class "H" cement which is common in the industry is used in this study. Well integrity is a key success factor to establish the viability of underground hydrogen storage in the subsurface. For that we analyzed if the cement is good enough for hydrogen to be stored in depleted oil and gas reservoirs. We further studied the integrity of newly drilled wells when exposed to hydrogen.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGenerating Value Through Better Project Design and Execution
PublisherOffshore Technology Conference
ISBN (Print)9781613998526
Publication statusPublished - 2022
EventOffshore Technology Conference, OTC 2022 - Houston, United States
Duration: May 2 2022May 5 2022

Publication series

NameProceedings of the Annual Offshore Technology Conference
ISSN (Print)0160-3663


ConferenceOffshore Technology Conference, OTC 2022
Country/TerritoryUnited States

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Ocean Engineering
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Mechanical Engineering

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