Inactive Well Program Goal
The goal of the API inactive well program is to focus operator efforts on those inactive wells that pose a threat to fresh water aquifers or the surface. The API program involves a risk-based approach to developing effective monitoring programs for inactive wells so that fluid migration into fresh water aquifers, surface soils, or surface waters is prevented. TO meet this goal and to provide the greatest flexibility in monitoring program design, it is suggested that operators take appropriate action to add levels of protection whenever practical or appropriate.
For example, temporarily abandoning a producing well completed with a packer in a pressured formation adds a level of protection, since the completion interval is isolated. In such a case, the risk of wellbore fluid migration from the completion interval is reduced, which may justify less frequent monitoring.
Source: API BULLETIN E3, Environmental Guidance Document: Well Abandonment and Inactive Well Practices for U.S. Exploration and Production Operations, First Edition, January 1993 (Reaffirmed June 2000). Global Standards