The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Geothermal Technologies Office (GTO) and the Office of Fossil Energy (FE) announced the selection of 5 projects to receive up to $15 million in funding to investigate wellbore integrity research subjects via a Lab Call announcement. This funding opportunity will address two topic areas: 1) Wellbore Diagnostics and Integrity assessment in legacy wells, and 2) Sensors and Tools for Autonomous Completions and Long Term Monitoring of Wellbore Integrity.

The Lab Call is part of a larger effort to address technical challenges associated with operating in the subsurface. In response, DOE has established an integrated technology team that encompasses DOE offices involved in subsurface activities that are aligned with energy production/extraction, subsurface storage of energy and carbon dioxide, subsurface waste disposal and environmental remediation, as well as analysis associated with the subsurface.

GTO and FE partnered in response to a report published by FE in October 2016 titled, Ensuring Safe and Reliable Underground Natural Gas Storage. The report states that to lower the risk for wellbore failure, operators should prioritize integrity tests that provide hard data on well performance through monitoring, logging, and mechanical integrity testing. Well Integrity testing should also use multiple methodologies and not rely on a single diagnostics, and use continuous real time monitoring.

The selected awardees include:
Sandia National Laboratories - Advanced Downhole Acoustic Sensing for Wellbore Integrity
National Energy Technology Laboratory - Embedded Sensor Technology Suite for Well-Bore Integrity Monitoring
Los Alamos National Laboratory - High-Resolution 3D Acoustic Borehole Integrity Monitoring System
Los Alamos National Laboratory - Autonomous Monitoring of Wellbore Integrity Applying Time Reverse Nonlinear Elastic Wave Spectroscopy (TR NEWS) and Fiber Optic Sensing and Communication
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory - Wellbore Integrity assessment with Casing-based Advanced SenSING (WISE-CASING)