Oil and Gas Field Personnel
Understanding the Social Contract

Bradenhead Pressure and other terms

We use the term Bradenhead Pressure to describe casing head pressure. As a result, the term bradenhead pressure (or casing head pressure) is similar to the term “sustained casing pressure”. Additionally,  “sustained annular pressure” is another term we commonly use. In Canada, we have encountered “surface casing vent flow” and “sustained annular pressure”.

It’s all the same process

Bradenhead Schematic
Well Design Schematic with Bradenhead Valve

For regulatory compliance, we are describing the same process using these general terms. That is, the undesirable buildup of pressure on any of the annuli in an oil and gas well. However, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) specifically defines the bradenhead as the annulus between the surface casing and the next innermost casing in their regulations. Presumably, this is done to simplify the description of this annulus and the buildup of pressure in this annulus. Importantly, in Colorado, bradenhead tests refer to tests that assess the presence of surface casing pressure on oil and gas wells and bradenhead pressure is analogous to surface casing pressure. (Lackey, et al., 2017) That is to say, in some other development areas this process is known as:

  • sustained casing pressure 
  • sustained annular pressure 
  • casing head pressure 
  • surface casing vent flow 

Here are some links…

Importantly, no matter what term you may be using, more and more states are regulating bradenhead pressure. For examples, you can check out these links:

Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission: General Provisions 209.c

Texas Railroad Commission: Texas Administrative code, Title 16, Part 1, Chapter 3, RULE §3.17

Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission Chapter 3. Section 22.  General Drilling Rules.

New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department: 2021 District III Bradenhead Test Schedule

DIG Labs can help

DIG Labs provides required recovered fluid analyses to satisfy different Local and State requirements as follows:

Bradenhead-Production Gas Pairs
  • General Gas Composition
  • Carbon Isotopes of Methane
  • Hydrogen Isotopes of Methane
  • Carbon Isotopes of Ethane
  • Carbon Isotopes of Propane, Butane, and Pentane 
  • Carbon Isotopes of Carbon Dioxide
Dissolved Gas in Water Isotope Samples:  
  • General Gas Composition
  • Carbon Isotopes of Methane
  • Hydrogen Isotopes of Methane
  • Carbon Isotopes of Ethane
  • Carbon Isotopes of Propane, Butane, and Pentane 
  • Carbon Isotopes of Carbon Dioxide
Recovered Hydrocarbon Liquids (Oils)
  • Whole Oil Gas Chromatography
Recovered Waters
  • Carbon and Oxygen Stable Isotopes of Water
    • This is currently not required but can quickly provide source of water interpretation.
Methane Molecules
Methane Molecules

Contact DIG Labs Today

When your team is responding to bradenhead pressure concerns, it is important to reach out to DIG Labs. Importantly, we are keeping up with the regulatory environment as it evolves and shifts. Moreover, our geochemical and engineering experts can quickly steer you toward regulatory compliance.