Well Integrity and Well Control
One of the more important aspects of well integrity during drilling operations is early kick detection. When an unintentional flow of the formation fluid into the wellbore occurs during conventional drilling operations, it must be detected promptly and the flow must be stopped, normally by closing the well. The early detection is crucial in minimizing the influx size. When the amount of formation fluid inside the well is large, especially if it is gas, the pressure inside the well will be higher during the subsequent well-control operations. This can lead to an increase in time to control the well or even to a worse situation: the loss of control. Another concern may be the amount of formation fluid to be handled at surface. Deepwater, high-pressure/high-temperature, and slimhole drilling are situations where early kick detection is mandatory.
The early kick detection is accomplished with a rig equipped with the appropriate kick-detection sensors and alarms and with a rig crew trained in quickly recognizing a kick and in the shut-in procedures. However, there are situations where early kick detection becomes more problematic—for example, when operating on a floating rig because of its motions, when using nonaqueous drilling fluids because of gas solubility, or during connections.
Recently, new technologies and re-search have been applied or developed to improve the kick-detection systems and to overcome some of the difficulties. To cite just a few examples,
- Development of automated kick-detection systems (one of the papers summarized here addresses kick detection during connections)
- Kick detection just above the bit using logging-while-drilling information
- Kick detection using wired drillstring
- Research on the effect on kick detection of gas solubility in nonaqueous drilling fluids (mineral oil, paraffin, ester, and olefins)
- The use of managed-pressure-drilling systems (one of the papers recommended for additional reading comments on the advantage of this technology in reducing the kick size)
This Month's Technical Papers
Recommended Additional Reading
SPE/IADC 173153 A Barrier-Analysis Approach to Well-Control Techniques by D. Fraser, Argonne National Laboratory, et al.
SPE 180047 Impact of New and Ultrahigh-Density Kill Fluids on Challenging Well-Kill Operations by T. Rinde, Acona Flow Technology, et al.
SPE 180053 A Numerical Study of Gas-Kick Migration Velocities and Uncertainty by K.K. Fjelde, University of Stavanger, et al.
Well Integrity and Well Control
Otto Luiz Alcantara Santos, SPE, Consultant
01 January 2017
Report Recounts the Missed Signals Leading to a Blowout that Killed Five
Regulators say the blowout that killed five workers on a Patterson-UTI rig in Oklahoma was the product of a slow-moving series of missed signals, misleading testing, and miscalculations that failed to control a natural gas influx.
More Tweaks Than Transformation in Rewrite of Well Control Rule
The new well control rule is evidence that memories of the Macondo blowout remain a powerful force for caution. Despite the rhetoric on both sides of this hot-button issue suggesting big changes, the final changes were incremental.
Model Simulates Gas Kicks in Nonaqueous Drilling Fluids
Nonaqueous drilling fluids, such as synthetic-based and oil-based mud (SBM and OBM, respectively), are used frequently to drill one or more sections of a well to reduce drilling problems such as shale sloughing, wellbore stability, and stuck pipe.
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