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Maximum Phase I Award Amount: $250,000

Maximum Phase II Award Amount: $1,600,000

Accepting SBIR Phase I Applications: YES

Accepting STTR Phase I Applications: YES


The Carbon Storage Program is developing technologies for commercial readiness beginning in 2025 that promote safe, secure, efficient, and affordable CO2 injection and containment in storage complexes in diverse geologic settings. Regarding pre-existing wells and boreholes, characterization of wellbore integrity or borehole conditions is an important task in making the decision to move forward with a large-scale carbon storage project. In addition, knowing the location of all wells in the area of review is critically important in setting up monitoring at a carbon storage site. Deep legacy wellbores represent a potential leakage pathway for CO2 stored underground and may not be identified until found through detection of abnormal fluid movement during injection operations. Old wellbores can be difficult to locate because of incomplete or missing records, location in overgrown or wooded areas, or wellbore damage or collapse. Wellbores without metal surface casing cannot be located using electromagnetic sensors. Reported locations in old well records can easily be incorrect by hundreds of feet, especially for very old wells that were not formally surveyed. There are also legacy wells for which no records exist.


Once detected, technologies, correlations and workflows are needed to assess the condition of the entire wellbore or bore hole. This may include quantifying uncertainties about wellbore conditions that would relate to long-term containment of CO2 in the storage complex. Characterization of legacy wellbores is more challenging when re-entry is complicated by deteriorated conditions of the wellbore. Existing technologies can perform a reasonable job evaluating the casing-to-cement interface in a new well. However, older wells, especially those that have been through many pressure cycles, have usually developed annular cracks between the casing and cement that makes it much more difficult to evaluate the hydraulic integrity. Furthermore, cracks may develop between the cement and borehole wall, and little is known about how to evaluate the integrity of the cement-to-rock interface.


Grant applications are sought for the following subtopic:


a.      Technologies for Detection and Characterization of Legacy Wellbores: Carbon Storage

Grant applications are sought that develop technologies to (1) detect legacy wellbores that lack a steel surface casing or (2) assess the integrity of legacy wells in which conventional logging tools cannot provide the needed information. New, innovative methods, tools or sensors are sought that can be used remotely, for example from an aerial platform, to locate within an area of review the legacy wells that would not be readily detected by visual/photographic inspection, lidar imagery analysis, or aero-magnetic survey signatures. New sensors, tools, methods or combinations thereof, that can characterize the hydraulic integrity of a wellbore out to the formation face at high resolution or through/around a plug, no matter the age or condition of the well, are also sought. These sensors, tools, and methods should help the user to assess the integrity of the wellbore and quantify integrity uncertainties. Uncertainties can include channels in the cement (or uneven cement placement), cement contamination, cement coverage less than documented or required, poor cement bonding to casing or formation, corrosion in casing, and plug quality. Grant applications must include a succinct discussion of the potential technical and economic advantages of the proposed technology, as compared to existing state-of-the-art systems.


Questions – Contact: Kyle Smith,


b.      Other

In addition to the specific subtopics listed, FE invites grant applications in other areas that fall within the scope of topic description provided above.


Questions – Contact: Kyle Smith,



1.      Carey, B. “Well Integrity and Carbon Storage.” Los Alamos National Laboratory. May 12, 2016, California Air Resources Board Web Seminar, 2016,


2.      Hammack, R. W., Veloski, G. A., Hodges, D. G., White, C. M. “Methods for Finding Legacy Wells in Large Areas.” NETL-TRS-6-2016; EPAct Technical Report Series; U.S. Department of Energy, National Energy Technology Laboratory: Pittsburgh, PA, 2016; p 28, 2016,


3.      Sminchak, J.R. “Final Technical Report: Integrated Wellbore Integrity Analysis Program for CO2 Storage Applications.” Office of Scientific and Technical Information, United States: N. p., 2018. Web. doi: 10.2172/1481775.


4.      U.S. Department of Energy “NETL Expands Efforts to Find Abandoned Wells that Leak Greenhouse Gas.” National Energy Technology Laboratory, 2019,


5.      U.S. Department of Energy. “Carbon Storage.” National Energy Technology Laboratory, 2020,

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