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BLOW OUT PREVENTION

&
WELL CONTROL
Version 2.1
March 2001

Dave Hawker

Corporate Mission
To be a worldwide leader in providing drilling and geological monitoring solutions to the oil and gas
industry, by utilizing innovative technologies and delivering exceptional customer service.

DATALOG: BOP & WELL CONTROL MANUAL, Version 2.1, issued March, 2001

CONTENTS
1 INTRODUCTION................................................................................................................................................... 3
2 PRESSURE GRADIENTS ..................................................................................................................................... 4
2.1 FORMATION RELATED PRESSURES...................................................................................................................... 4
2.2 WELLBORE BALANCING PRESSURES................................................................................................................... 5
2.2.1 Mud Hydrostatic ......................................................................................................................................... 6
2.2.2 Equivalent Circulating Density................................................................................................................... 7
2.2.3 Surge Pressures........................................................................................................................................... 8
2.2.4 Swab Pressures ........................................................................................................................................... 8
3 KICKS AND BLOWOUTS.................................................................................................................................. 10
3.1 DEFINITIONS ..................................................................................................................................................... 10
3.2 CAUSES OF KICKS ............................................................................................................................................ 11
3.3 KICK WARNING SIGNS ...................................................................................................................................... 12
3.4 INDICATIONS OF KICKS WHILE DRILLING ........................................................................................................ 13
3.4.1 Connection Gas......................................................................................................................................... 14
3.5 INDICATORS WHILE TRIPPING........................................................................................................................... 16
3.5.1 Trip Margin............................................................................................................................................... 17
3.6 GAS EXPANSION ............................................................................................................................................... 19
3.7 FLOWCHECKS ................................................................................................................................................... 20
4 KICK CONTROL EQUIPMENT ....................................................................................................................... 21
4.1 THE BOP STACK .............................................................................................................................................. 21
4.2 PREVENTERS AND RAMS ................................................................................................................................... 22
4.2.1 Annular Preventer..................................................................................................................................... 22
4.2.2 Ram Preventers ......................................................................................................................................... 23
4.3 STACK CONFIGURATION ................................................................................................................................... 24
4.4 SUBSEA EQUIPMENT ......................................................................................................................................... 25
4.4.1 Lower Marine Riser Package.................................................................................................................... 26
4.5 CHOKE MANIFOLD ............................................................................................................................................ 27
4.5.1 Choke and Kill Lines................................................................................................................................. 28
4.6 CLOSING THE PREVENTERS ............................................................................................................................... 29
4.6.1 Pressure source......................................................................................................................................... 29
4.6.2 Accumulators ............................................................................................................................................ 29
4.6.3 Control manifold ....................................................................................................................................... 30
4.7 DIVERTERS ....................................................................................................................................................... 32
4.8 INSIDE BLOWOUT PREVENTORS ........................................................................................................................ 33
4.8.1 Kelly Rigs .................................................................................................................................................. 33
4.8.2 Top Drive Rigs .......................................................................................................................................... 33
4.8.3 Additional Preventers................................................................................................................................ 34
4.9 ROTATING PREVENTERS ................................................................................................................................... 35
5 FRACTURE CALCULATIONS ......................................................................................................................... 36
5.1
5.2
5.3
5.4

LEAK OFF TEST ................................................................................................................................................ 36


FRACTURE PRESSURE ....................................................................................................................................... 38
MAXIMUM ALLOWABLE ANNULAR SURFACE PRESSURE .................................................................................. 41
KICK TOLERANCE ............................................................................................................................................. 43

6 WELL CONTROL PRINCIPLES & CALCULATIONS ................................................................................. 48


6.1 BALANCING BOTTOM HOLE PRESSURES .............................................................................................. 48
6.2 SHUT IN FORMULAS .......................................................................................................................................... 51
DATALOG: BOP & WELL CONTROL MANUAL, Version 2.1, issued March, 2001

DATALOG: BOP & WELL CONTROL MANUAL, Version 2.1, issued March, 2001

6.3 INFLUX HEIGHT AND TYPE ............................................................................................................................... 51


6.4 STABILIZING SHUT IN PRESSURES..................................................................................................................... 53
6.5 INDUCED KICKS ................................................................................................................................................ 54
6.6 ONE WAY FLOATS ............................................................................................................................................ 54
6.7 SLOW CIRCULATING RATES .............................................................................................................................. 55
6.8 KILL MUDWEIGHT ............................................................................................................................................ 55
6.9 CIRCULATING THE KILL MUD .......................................................................................................................... 56
6.10 PRESSURE STEP DOWN ................................................................................................................................... 58
6.11 SUBSEA CONSIDERATIONS .............................................................................................................................. 59
7 WELL CONTROL METHODS .......................................................................................................................... 60
7.1
7.2
7.3
7.5

WAIT AND WEIGHT ........................................................................................................................................... 60


DRILLERS METHOD ......................................................................................................................................... 62
CONCURRENT METHOD .................................................................................................................................... 64
VOLUMETRIC METHOD ..................................................................................................................................... 65

8 QLOG SOFTWARE............................................................................................................................................. 67
8.1 LEAK OFF PROGRAM ........................................................................................................................................ 67
8.2 KICK/KILL PROGRAM ....................................................................................................................................... 68
9 EXERCISES.......................................................................................................................................................... 70

DATALOG: BOP & WELL CONTROL MANUAL, Version 2.1, issued March, 2001

DATALOG: BOP & WELL CONTROL MANUAL, Version 2.1, issued March, 2001

1 INTRODUCTION

W. Wylie ERCB
Many problems can be encountered when drilling wells, especially in areas previously unexplored. Most
problems can be considered an inconvenience that cost operating time, and therefore money, to resolve.
Kicks and blowouts are also costly in terms of time, but unlike most other problems, they are unique in
that they provide a direct threat to the safety of the drilling rig and its personnel.
It is therefore very important that anyone involved in the monitoring of the well is fully able to recognize
any and all of the signs that could indicate that a kick is taking place downhole. Early identification of
such an event, allowing the driller to close in the well at the earliest opportunity, will make for a safer
well control procedure and reduce the danger to rig and personnel.
In addition, for the mud logging engineer, it is very important to understand the theories and procedures
involved in a well control situation, in order to assist and support the operation.

DATALOG: BOP & WELL CONTROL MANUAL, Version 2.1, issued March, 2001

DATALOG: BOP & WELL CONTROL MANUAL, Version 2.1, issued March, 2001

2 PRESSURE GRADIENTS
Whatever the particular method of its occurrence, a kick occurs when the formation pore fluid pressure
exceeds the balancing pressure in the annulus. This can lead to an influx of the formation fluids into the
annulus, and thus, a kick that has to be controlled. Well control then consists, essentially, of removing the
influx and restoring well balance so that annular pressure exceeds formation pressure.
During this process, while the well is closed, it is vital to ensure that the pressures in the annulus do not
fracture the weakest formation in the open hole. If this was to happen while a kick is taken place, then a
blowout has occurred and this is the most difficult and dangerous of all drilling problems, and one that
can lead to the loss of rig and personnel.
For effective well control, it is therefore important to have a good understanding of the formation
pressures involved and the annular pressures acting against them.

2.1 Formation Related Pressures


Overburden Pressure

The pressure exerted, at a given depth, by the accumulated weight of


overlying sediments. It is therefore a function of both rock matrix and
pore fluid.

Formation Pressure

The pressure exerted by the fluid contained in the pore spaces of rocks. It
is therefore equivalent to hydrostatic pressure of the regional formation
fluid; the pressure exerted by the vertical column of formation fluid(s).

Fracture Pressure

The maximum pressure a formation can sustain without failure


occurring. The weakest plane of formations is typically horizontal.

OVERBURDEN STRESS

Fracture
Pressure

Formation Pore
Fluid Pressure

Mud Hydrostatic
Pressure
DATALOG: BOP & WELL CONTROL MANUAL, Version 2.1, issued March, 2001

DATALOG: BOP & WELL CONTROL MANUAL, Version 2.1, issued March, 2001

2.2 Wellbore Balancing Pressures


Mud Hydrostatic Pressure

The pressure exerted by the weight of a vertical column of static


drilling fluid or mud.

Equivalent Circulating Density

Although expressed in terms of equivalent mud weight, this is


actually an increase in annular pressure caused by the frictional
pressure losses resulting from mud circulation.

Swab Pressure

This is a reduction in annular pressure caused by the frictional


pressure losses resulting from the mud movement caused when
the drillstring is lifted. It will lead to an influx if the annular
pressure is reduced below the formation pressure.

Surge Pressure

Increase in annular pressure resulting from the frictional pressure


surges when the drillstring is run in hole. It can lead to formation
breakdown if the surge pressure exceeds the fracture pressure.

Pressure
Overburden (OBG)
Fracture (Pfrac)
Mud Hydrostatic
Formation (FP)
ECD

Vertical
Depth

If the formation pressure exceeds the balancing annular pressure >>> KICK
If the annular pressure exceeds the fracture pressure >>> FRACTURE

Mud weight must therefore be selected so that it is high enough to balance the formation pressure and
prevent a kick, but it cannot be so high that it would cause a shallower, weaker, formation to fracture.
This could lead to losing circulation of fluids at the shallower depth, while kicking from a deeper
formation. This is an underground blowout.
DATALOG: BOP & WELL CONTROL MANUAL, Version 2.1, issued March, 2001

DATALOG: BOP & WELL CONTROL MANUAL, Version 2.1, issued March, 2001

The annular pressure is therefore key to well balance and control. It is dependent on the mud weight
although this static pressure can be increased or decreased in certain situations:

Lifting pipe causes swabbing which reduces annular pressure.


Running pipe causes a pressure surge, which increases annular pressure.
Circulating increases annular pressure.

Formation related pressures are typically quoted in terms of equivalent mud weight (emw), since this
provides a convenient way of visualizing pressures exerted downhole.

2.2.1 Mud Hydrostatic


Hydrostatic Pressure is defined as the pressure exerted at a given depth by the weight of a static column
of fluid.
It therefore follows, that when a given drilling fluid, or mud, fills the annulus, the pressure at any depth is
equal to the Mud Hydrostatic Pressure.
At any depth: -

HYDmud = mudweight x TVD x g


PSI = PPG x ft x 0.052
KPa = kg/m3 x m x 0.00981
PSI = SG x feet x 0.433
PSI
ppg
KPa
SG

= pounds per square inch


= pounds per gallon
= kilo Pascals
= specific gravity (gm/cc)

This will tell us the balancing pressure, in the wellbore, when no drilling activity is taking place and the
mud column is static.
As soon as any movement of the mud is initiated, then frictional pressure losses will result in either an
increase, or decrease, in the balancing pressure, depending on the particular activity, which is taking
place.
At all times, it is important to know what the annular balancing pressure is, and the relationship with the
lithological pressures acting against them:

If formation pressure is allowed to exceed the wellbore pressure, then formation fluids can influx
into the wellbore and a kick may result.

If the wellbore pressure is allowed to exceed the fracture pressure, then fracture can result,
leading to lost circulation and possible blowout.

DATALOG: BOP & WELL CONTROL MANUAL, Version 2.1, issued March, 2001

DATALOG: BOP & WELL CONTROL MANUAL, Version 2.1, issued March, 2001

2.2.2 Equivalent Circulating Density


During circulation, the pressure exerted by the dynamic fluid column at the bottom of the hole increases
(and also the equivalent pressure at any point in the annulus). This increase results from the frictional
forces and annular pressure losses caused by the fluid movement.
Knowing this pressure is extremely important during drilling, since the balancing pressure in the wellbore
is now higher than the pressure due to the static mud column.
Higher circulating pressure will result in:

Greater overbalance in comparison to the formation pressure


Increased risk of formation flushing
More severe formation invasion
Increased risk of differential sticking
Greater load exerted on the surface equipment

The increased pressure is termed the Dynamic Pressure or Bottom Hole Circulating Pressure (BHCP).

BHCP = HYDmud + Pa

where Pa is the sum of the annular pressure losses

When this pressure is converted to an equivalent mudweight, the term Equivalent Circulating Density is
used.
ECD = MW +

Pa

(g x TVD)
PPG

= PPG + (PSI / (ft x 0.052))

KPa

= kg/m3 + (Kpa / (m x 0.00981))

The weight of drilled cuttings also needs to be considered when drilling. The weight of the cuttings
loading the annulus, at any time, will act, in addition to the weight of the mud, to increase the pressure at
the bottom of the hole.
Similar to the increase in bottom hole pressure when circulating (ECD), pressure changes are seen as a
result of induced mud movement, and resulting frictional pressures, when pipe is run in, or pulled out, of
the hole.

DATALOG: BOP & WELL CONTROL MANUAL, Version 2.1, issued March, 2001

DATALOG: BOP & WELL CONTROL MANUAL, Version 2.1, issued March, 2001

2.2.3 Surge Pressures


Surge Pressures result when pipe is run into the hole. This causes an upward movement of the mud in the
annulus as it is being displaced by the drillstring (as seen by the mud displaced at surface into the pit
system), resulting in frictional pressure.
This frictional pressure causes an increase, or surge, in pressure when
the pipe is being run into the hole. The size of the pressure increase is
dependent on a number of factors, including the length of pipe, the
pipe running speed, the annular clearance and whether the pipe is open
or closed.
In addition to the frictional pressure, which can be calculated, it is also
reasonable to assume that fast downward movement of the pipe will
cause a shock wave that will travel through the mud and be damaging
to the wellbore.
Surge pressures will certainly cause damage to formations, causing
mud invasion of permeable formations, unstable hole conditions etc.

The real danger of surge pressure, however, is that if it is too excessive, it could exceed the fracture
pressure of weaker or unconsolidated formations and cause breakdown.
It is a common misconception, that if the string is inside casing, then the open wellbore is safe from surge
pressures. This is most definitely not the case! Whatever the depth of the bit during running in, the surge
pressure caused by the mud movement to that depth, will also be acting at the bottom of the hole.
Therefore, even if the string is inside casing, the resulting surge pressure, if large enough, could be
causing breakdown of a formation in the open wellbore. This is extremely pertinent when the hole depth
is not too far beyond the last casing point!
Running casing is a particularly vulnerable time, for surge pressures, due to the small annular clearance
and the fact that the casing is closed ended. For this reason, casing is always run at a slow speed, and mud
displacements are very closely monitored.

2.2.4 Swab Pressures


Swab Pressures, again, result from the friction caused by the mud movement, this time resulting from
lifting the pipe out of the hole. The frictional pressure losses, with upward pipe movement, now result in
an overall reduction in the mud hydrostatic pressure.

The mud movement results principally from two processes: 1. With slower pipe movement, an initial upward movement of the mud surrounding the pipe may result.
Due to the muds viscosity, it can tend to cling to the pipe and be dragged upward with the pipe lift.

DATALOG: BOP & WELL CONTROL MANUAL, Version 2.1, issued March, 2001

DATALOG: BOP & WELL CONTROL MANUAL, Version 2.1, issued March, 2001

2. More importantly, as the pipe lift continues, and especially with rapid pipe movement, a void space is
left immediately beneath the bit and, naturally, mud from the annulus will fall to fill this void.

This frictional pressure loss causes a reduction in the mud hydrostatic


pressure. If the pressure is reduced below the formation pore fluid
pressure, then two things can result: -

1. With impermeable shale type formations, the underbalanced situation


causes the formation to fracture and cave at the borehole wall. This
generates the familiar pressure cavings that can load the annulus and
lead to pack off of the drill string.
2. With permeable formations, the situation is far more critical and,
simply, the underbalanced situation leads to the invasion of
formation fluids, which may result in a kick.

In addition to these frictional pressure losses, a piston type process can lead to further fluid influx from
permeable formations. When full gauge tools such as stabilizers are pulled passed permeable formations,
the lack of annular clearance can cause a syringe type effect, drawing fluids into the borehole.

More than 25% of blowouts result from reduced hydrostatic pressure caused by swabbing.

Beside the well safety aspect, invasion of fluids due to swabbing can lead to mud contamination and
necessitate the costly task of replacing the mud.

Pressure changes due to changing pipe direction, eg during connections, can be particularly damaging
to the well by causing sloughing shale, by forming bridges or ledges, and by causing hole fill
requiring reaming.

DATALOG: BOP & WELL CONTROL MANUAL, Version 2.1, issued March, 2001

DATALOG: BOP & WELL CONTROL MANUAL, Version 2.1, issued March, 2001

3 KICKS AND BLOWOUTS


3.1 Definitions
What is a kick?

An influx of formation fluid into the wellbore that can be controlled at


surface.

What criteria are necessary for a kick to occur?


1. The formation pressure must exceed the wellbore or annular pressure.
Fluids will always flow in the direction of decreasing or least pressure.
2. The formation must be permeable in order for the formation fluids to
flow.

What is a blowout?

A flow of formation fluids that cannot be controlled at surface.

What is an underground blowout?


An underground blowout occurs when there is an uncontrollable flow of
fluids between two formations. In other words, one formation is kicking
while, at the same time, another formation is loosing circulation.

What is a surface blowout?

A surface blowout occurs when the well cannot be shut in to prevent the
flow of fluids at surface.

Preventing a kick from becoming a blowout is paramount in well control!

DATALOG: BOP & WELL CONTROL MANUAL, Version 2.1, issued March, 2001

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DATALOG: BOP & WELL CONTROL MANUAL, Version 2.1, issued March, 2001

3.2 Causes Of Kicks


Not keeping the hole full when tripping out of hole
When pipe is pulled from the hole, mud must be pumped into the hole to replace the steel volume
removed. If not, the mud level in the hole will drop, leading to a reduction in the overall mud hydrostatic
pressure. Keeping the hole full is extremely critical when pulling drill collars owing to the large steel
volume.

Reducing annular pressure through swabbing


Frictional forces resulting from the mud movement caused by lifting pipe, reduce the annular pressure.
This is most critical at the beginning of a trip when the well is balanced by mud hydrostatic and when
swab pressures are greatest.

Lost circulation
If drilling fluid is being lost to a formation, it can lead to drop in mud level in the wellbore and reduced
hydrostatic pressure.

Excessive ROP when drilling through gaseous sands


If too much gas is allowed into the annulus, especially as it rises and starts expanding, it will cause a
reduction in the annular pressure.

Underpressured formations
May be subject to fracture and lost circulation which could result in a loss of hydrostatic head in the
annulus.

Overpressured formations
Naturally, if formation pressure exceeds the annular pressure, then a kick may result.

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DATALOG: BOP & WELL CONTROL MANUAL, Version 2.1, issued March, 2001

3.3 Kick Warning Signs


Before an influx or kick actually occurs, there are a number of signs and indications that can give possible
warnings that conditions exist for such an event to occur or, indeed, that such an event is about to take
place.

Lost circulation zones

Large surge pressures should result in closer attention to possible signs


of fracture and lost circulation.
Weaker, fractured formations may be identified by higher ROPs and
higher, erratic torque
Reduced mud returns, identified from a reduction in mud flow and
decreasing pit volume, indicate a loss of fluids to the formation.

Transitional zones

Increasing ROP and decreasing drilling exponent trend.


Increasing gas levels.
Appearance of connection gas.
Hole instability indications, tight hole, drilling torque, overpull and drag.
Increasing mud temperature.
Increased cuttings volume, cavings, reduced shale density.

Sealed overpressured bodies Immediate drill break resulting from the pressure differential and the
higher porosity.

A Drill Break should always be Flow Checked, in order to determine whether it is


associated with an overpressured zone and possible influx.

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DATALOG: BOP & WELL CONTROL MANUAL, Version 2.1, issued March, 2001

3.4 Indications Of Kicks While Drilling


The following influx indicators are listed in the typical order that they would become apparent by surface
measurements.

Gradually decreasing Pump Pressure


There may also be an associated increase in the Pump Rate.
The drop in pump pressures as a direct result of lower density formation fluids entering the
wellbore, reducing the overall mud hydrostatic.
The pressure drop will be most significant with gas and worsened as gas expansion takes place.
Initial pressure drop may be slow and gradual, but the longer the kick goes undetected, the more
exponential the drop in pressure.

Increased mud flow from annulus, followed by..

An associated increase in mud pit levels


As formation fluids enter the borehole, an equivalent volume of mud will, necessarily, be
displaced from the annulus at the surface. This is in addition to the mud volume being circulated
so that the mud flow rate will show an increase.
In the case of a gas influx, mud displacement will increase dramatically as gas expansion takes
place

As the influx continues.

Variations in Hookload/WOB
Although certainly not a primary indicator, these indications may be seen as the buoyancy effect
on the string is modified.

If the influx reaches surface.

Contaminated mud, especially gas cut


Reduced mud density.
Change in chloride content (typically increase).
Associated gas response.
Pressure indicators such as cavings, increased mud temperature.

A kick should always be detected before the influx reaches surface!!


EARLY DETECTION..FLOW CHECK..SHUT IN IF FLOWING
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DATALOG: BOP & WELL CONTROL MANUAL, Version 2.1, issued March, 2001

3.4.1 Connection Gas


Connection gases are an extremely accurate indication of increasing formation (and therefore a warning
of a possible kick) resulting from a temporary underbalance in the wellbore.
The connection gas will appear as a short duration,
sharp gas response, one bottoms-up time after the
pumps are restarted following the connection.

This temporary underbalance can result as follows:

A pressure reduction (to the ECD) due to


swabbing when the pipe is lifted.

A reduction to mud hydrostatic when pumping


is stopped and the string is set in slips.

A piston type suction from full gauge tools such


as stabilizers and bit, as they are pulled passed
permeable formations.

Swabbing results when, initially, mud is lifted with


the string, due to its viscosity. The mud movement
results in frictional pressure loss that reduces the
annular pressure. This occurs for the entire length of
drillstring. In addition, mud movement also results
from it dropping to fill the void left by the pipe as
it is lifted.

If Annular Pressure < Formation Pressure, then an influx can result


The pressure reduction caused through swabbing increases with:

Pipe pulling speed


Length of drillstring
Mud viscosity
Smaller annular clearance

An influx can occur from anywhere in the open hole if a formation is permeable and is brought into a
condition of underbalance.
However, connection gases are most likely to be generated from the bottom of the hole:

This is where the pressure drop is greatest


Here, there is the smallest annular clearance with the BHA and drillcollars, as opposed to drill pipe.
There will be no filter cake for protection against small influxes.

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DATALOG: BOP & WELL CONTROL MANUAL, Version 2.1, issued March, 2001

Connection gas can also be produced from impermeable shales through fracture and caving (left), rather
than through influx as with permeable formations. As cavings are generated from the borehole wall,
porosity is exposed and, in the process, gas is released.

Impermeable

Permeable

FP > Phyd

Connection gases then, clearly indicate an influx of formation fluids when annular pressure is reduced
temporarily. Once connection gas is recorded, subsequent connections should be very closely monitored
for signs of increasing pressure and/or increased swabbing. An increasing trend could indicate that the
well is getting closer and closer to balance and that a kick may eventually result, rather than a temporary
influx.

Increase in Liberated Gas


Produced Gas
CG

This reduction in differential pressure


may result from:

Increasing
formation
through a transition zone,

pressure

OR

CG

Well Flowing

A reduction in annular pressure as


more
gas,
through
increased
swabbing, is allowed into the
annulus.

If background gases and connection


gases are increasing, the mud weight
should certainly be increased to bring the
well back on to balance.

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DATALOG: BOP & WELL CONTROL MANUAL, Version 2.1, issued March, 2001

3.5 Indicators While Tripping

Insufficient Hole Fill


When tripping out of hole, the hole is not taking enough mud fill to compensate for the pipe
volume that has been pulled from the hole. This may indicate that:
A kick has been swabbed into the hole, or that
Mud is being lost to the formation

A wet trip
Where the influx and pressure, beneath the string, prevents mud from draining from the string as
it is lifted.

Swabbing
Excessive swabbing can be identified through the change in trip tank volume as individual stands
of pipe are being lifted. The trip tank may be seen to initially gain mud before the mud level
drops in the hole to allow fill to take place.

Pit Gain
A continual increase in trip tank level clearly shows that a kick is taking place.

Mud Flow
Similar, mud flowing at surface indicates an influx.
Flow may also result from swabbed fluids that are migrating and expanding in the annulus. This
in itself, may be sufficient to reduce hydrostatic further to allow an influx to take place.

Hole Fill
Excessive hole fill (at the bottom of the hole) after a trip may show caving from an overpressured
or unstable hole.

Pinched Bit
A warning rather than an indicator, a pinched bit may be an indication of tight, under-gauged hole
resulting from overpressure.

Every precaution (i.e. monitoring the well before pulling out, minimizing swabbing, flow
checks) is taken to avoid taking a kick during a trip:

Well control is more difficult if the bit is out of the hole or above the depth of influx.

The well cannot be shut in (pipe or annular rams) if drill collars are passing through the BOPs.

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DATALOG: BOP & WELL CONTROL MANUAL, Version 2.1, issued March, 2001

3.5.1 Trip Margin


The pressure reduction through swabbing is critical when tripping pipe (in comparison to that seen over a
connection), since:

The balancing pressure is the static mud hydrostatic rather than the higher ECD.

There is repeated swabbing as each stand is pulled.

The piston effect affects every permeable formation in open hole.

The pressure reduction can be minimized by:

Pulling the drillstring at a slower speed.

Keeping mud viscosity as low as possible (bearing in mind that hole cleaning and cuttings lift
properties have to be maintained while drilling).

A safety, or trip, margin can be calculated to ensure that the pressure reduction does not create an
underbalance:

Pressure
Reduction

Y KPa

X m/min

Running Speed

A graph can be produced that shows, for a given well profile, mud system, etc, the pressure losses (Y)
that would result for a given length of drillstring being pulled at various running speeds (X).
From this graph:

For a given running speed, the additional mudweight to provide a specific trip margin over the
formation pressure can be determined.

For a given overbalanced situation, the maximum running speed can be determined in order to
avoid creating an underbalance.

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Example:
A change in formation is anticipated at 3400m. What mudweight will be required in order to provide a
500Kpa trip margin. The estimated formation pressure is 1045 kg/m3 emw.

Formation Pressure = 1045 x 3400 x 0.00981 = 34855 KPa


BHP required = 34855 + 500 = 35355 KPa
MW = 35355 / (3400*0.00981) = 1060 kg/m3

If the mud weight is now set at 1060 kg/m3, the swab/surge software can be used to determine the
maximum pipe running speed, so as to avoid exceeding a 500KPa pressure drop.
In this way, even with swabbing occurring, the annular pressure is never reduced below the formation
pressure.

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DATALOG: BOP & WELL CONTROL MANUAL, Version 2.1, issued March, 2001

3.6 Gas Expansion


Boyles Law states that the relationship between pressure, volume, and temperature (PV/T) is a constant.
Gas bubbles expand as they are circulated up the annulus and the mud hydrostatic pressure (which is
acting against the bubbles) decreases.
As the vertical depth is halved, so too is the mud hydrostatic pressure. Correspondingly, as given by
Boyles Law, the gas bubbles double in size.
When using water base mud systems, methane gas will typically be present as free gas, rather than
dissolved gas (At STP, maximum C1 in solution is 3%).
There will therefore be increased expansion as a gas influx moves up the annulus:

4V

8V

gas volume

D/8
D/4

D/2

D
depth
To illustrate how significant this gas expansion can be, assume that m3 (500 litres) of gas enters the
borehole at 4000m.
At.

2000m
1000m
500m
250m
125m
60m

V = 1 m3
V = 2 m3
V = 4 m3
V = 8 m3
V = 16 m3
V = 32 m3

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However, oil base muds (approx 10% soluble C1 at STP),


and worse still, mineral oils (~15%), have much higher
bubble points, so that gas bubbles may not appear until the
influx is very close to surface.

Bubble point

Gas in solution,
no expansion

Therefore, SPP, MFO and pit level indicators may not be


significant until the influx is close to, or at surface where
expansion may be almost immediate as gas breaks out of
solution.
It becomes very important to try to identify the influx
itself from a small volume change

3.7 Flowchecks
A flow check, to determine whether the well is static or is flowing, is normally conducted in one of two
ways:

By actually looking down through the rotary table, into the wellhead, and visually determining if
the well is flowing.

By lining the wellhead up to the trip tank and monitoring the level for any change.

They are typically conducted at the following occasions:

Significant drill breaks


Any kick indication while drilling, especially changes in mud flow
Prior to slugging the pipe before pulling out of hole
After the first few stands have been pulled, to check that swabbing has not induced flow.
When the bit is at the shoe
Prior to pulling drill collars through the BOPs
Constant monitoring (trip tank) while out of the hole

If the well is flowing, the well will be shut in

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4 KICK CONTROL EQUIPMENT


4.1 The BOP Stack
To prevent the occurrence of a blowout, there needs to be a way of closing, or sealing off the wellbore, so
that the flow of formation fluids remains under control. This is achieved by the Blow Out Prevention
system (BOP), an arrangement of preventers, valves and spools that is positioned on top of the wellhead.
Commonly referred to as the stack, its purpose is to:

Seal off the well so that the flow of formation fluids is under control.

Prevent fluid from escaping to surface.

Allow the release of fluids, from the well, under controlled conditions.

Allow drilling fluid to be pumped into the well under controlled conditions to balance formation
pressure and prevent further influx.

Allow movement of the drillstring in or out of the well

The size and arrangement of the BOP stack will be determined by the hazards expected and the protection
required, together with the size and type of pipe being used. BOPs have various pressure ratings
established by the American Petroleum Institute (API). This will be based on the lowest pressure rating of
a particular item in the stack, such as a preventer, casing head or other fitting. A suitably rated BOP can
therefore be installed depending on the rating of the casing and the expected formation pressures below
the casing seat. BOPs commonly have ratings of 5, 10, or 20,000 psi.

The requirements for a BOP stack are as follows:

There must be sufficient casing to provide a firm anchor for the stack.

It must be able to close off and seal the well completely, with or without string in the hole.

It must have a simple and rapid shut in procedure.

It must have controllable lines through which to bleed off pressure.

It must provide the ability to circulate fluids through both the string and the annulus.

There must be the ability to hang or shear pipe, shut in a subsea stack, detach the riser and
abandon the location.

Subsea stacks cannot be affected by the lateral movement of the riser caused by current
movement and tidal variations. This is achieved through a ball joint connection.

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4.2 Preventers and Rams


These are the names applied to the various packers that can be closed to seal the wellhead. A small
BOP arrangement for a shallow land well is shown below.

Annular
preventer

Ram preventers

Manual closure
possible on land
rigs and jack ups

4.2.1 Annular Preventer


This, simply, is a reinforced packer (rubber seal) that
surrounds the wellbore.
It can close around pipe, of any size, when pressure is
applied, thus closing off the annulus. With increasing
pressure, it will close around pipe of any diameter,
including drillpipe, smooth collars and kelly.
However, it cannot be used on irregularly shaped pipe, or
tools such as spiral drillcollars or stabilizers.
It allows slow rotation and vertical movement of the pipe
while the well remains sealed off.
Tripping into the hole with closed annular preventer is
known as snubbing.
Pulling out of the hole while the annular preventer is
closed is known as stripping.
An annular preventer can also close across an open
wellbore when there is no pipe in the hole.
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4.2.2 Ram Preventers


Ram Preventers have a more rigid rubber seal that fits around specific, pre-designated shapes.

Pipe/Casing Rams

Here, the rubber seals match, exactly, tubing of specific diameter, so that
the annulus is completely sealed off with pipe in the hole.
The BOP stack must therefore include pipe rams for each size of pipe in
the hole.

Blind/Shear Rams

Blind or shear rams are used to close off an open annulus, i.e. when there
is no pipe in the hole.
If there is pipe in the hole, the blind rams will crush it when closed.
When equipped with shear blades, the pipe will be cut. These are more
typical in subsea stacks so that pipe can be held by pipe rams, and cut
through by shear rams allowing the rig to abandon location.

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4.3 Stack Configuration


Choke & Kill Lines

Annular
preventer

Blind/Shear
Pipe Ram
Pipe Ram
Pipe Ram

Casing Head

Simple BOP stack schematic


The annular preventer is always positioned on top of the BOP stack.
The positioning of the various rams, and lines, is dependent on the expected operations. The following
summarizes the benefits/disadvantages of positioning the blind, or shear, rams beneath, or above, the pipe
rams.

Lower blind rams

The well can be shut in to allow other rams to be repaired or changed i.e. used as a master valve.
The string cannot be hung off on pipe rams.

Upper blind rams

The string can be hung from pipe rams, backed off and then the well shut in by the blind ram.
Pipe rams can be closed with pipe in hole and blind rams replaced with pipe rams. This will minimize
wear and also allow ram to ram stripping of the pipe.

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4.4 Subsea Equipment

Marine Riser, Choke and Kill Lines

Ball/Flex Joint

Lower Marine
Riser Package
Flex lines or loops
(Choke + Kill)

Annular Preventer,
often two

BOP
Stack

Pipe and
Shear Rams

Temporary and Permanent Guidebases

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4.4.1 Lower Marine Riser Package

Riser Connection

Flex/Ball
Joint

Annular
Preventor

Flexible lines
connecting
to choke/kill

Control Pod

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4.5 Choke Manifold


Following a kick and shut in, back pressure is applied, in order to balance the well, by routing returns
through adjustable chokes. Release of fluids and pressure can therefore be controlled safely.
A soft shut-in is where the choke is open before the rams are closed, in order to minimize the shock
exerted on the formation.
A hard shut-in is where the choke is closed prior to shut in.

The chokes are connected to the BOP stack through a series of lines and valves that provide a number of
different flow routes and the ability to stop fluid flow completely. This arrangement is known as the
choke manifold.

Again, there are specific requirements for the choke manifold:

The manifold should have a pressure capability equal to the rated operation pressure of the BOP
stack (equal to the weakest component).

The choke line connecting the manifold to the stack should be as straight as possible and firmly
anchored.

Alternative flow and flare routes should be available downstream of the choke line in order to
isolate equipment that may need repair.

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4.5.1 Choke and Kill Lines

Choke lines are typically used to release fluids from the annulus.
Kill lines are typically used to pump mud into the wellbore if it is not possible through the drillstring.

The placement or configuration of the rams determines the positioning of the kill lines. They will be
placed directly beneath one or more of the rams, so that when the rams are closed, fluid and pressure can
be bled off under control (choke line). The choke line is routed to the choke manifold where pressures can
be monitored. An adjustable choke allows for the back pressure being applied to the well to be adjusted
in order to maintain control.
They also allow for an alternative way of pumping drilling mud or cement into the wellbore, should it not
be possible to circulate through the kelly and drillstring (kill line). The kill line will normally be lined up
to the rig pumps, but a remote kill line may often be employed in order to use an auxiliary, highpressure, pump.
Although preventers may have side outlets for the attachment of choke and kill lines, separate drilling
spools are often used. This is a drill-through fitting that fits between the preventers creating extra space
(which may be required in order to hang off pipe and have enough room for tool joints between the rams)
and allowing for the attachment of the kill lines.
On floating rigs, when the BOP stack is on the seabed, the choke and kill lines are attached to opposite
sides of the marine riser. The lines have to flexible at the top and the bottom of the riser to allow for
movement and heave.

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4.6 Closing the Preventers


Preventers are closed hydraulically with fluid supplied under pressure. Manual closure is possible if the
stack is accessible.
There are three main system components to close the preventers: 1. Pressure source
2. Accumulators
3. Control manifold.

4.6.1 Pressure source

The hydraulic fluid must be supplied under sufficient pressure to close the rams.

Electric or pneumatic pumps are usually used to deliver the hydraulic fluid under said pressure.

In addition, there should always be backup pumps and an alternative source of electricity or air to
power them.

4.6.2 Accumulators
Accumulator bottles are a series of pre-charged nitrogen bottles that store and supply the hydraulic fluid,
under pressure, necessary to close the preventers

Different preventers have different operating pressures and require different volumes of hydraulic
fluid in order to function.

The total volume of hydraulic fluid required to operate the entire stack must be known.

Accumulator bottles are linked together in order to store the necessary volume.

The bottles are pre-charged with nitrogen (typically 750 - 1000 psi).

Hydraulic fluid is pumped into the bottles, compressing the nitrogen and increasing the pressure
in the bottle.

This operating pressure (minimum typically 1200psi, maximum typically 3000psi) determines the
amount of hydraulic fluid available from each bottle and therefore the total number of bottles
required.

For example: -

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A Pre-charge

P = 1000psi

B Maximum Fluid Charge

V = 40litres

P = 3000psi

N2 volume = (1000*40)/3000

= 13.33litres

C Minimum Operating Pressure P = 1200psi N2 volume = (1000*40)/1200 = 33.33litres

Therefore, usable hydraulic fluid, per bottle, is 20litres


4.6.3 Control manifold
This is basically the well control operations
center.
The control manifold directs the flow of
hydraulic fluid to the correct ram or preventer.
Regulators reduce the pressure from the
accumulator operating pressure to the preventer
operating pressure, typically 500-1500psi.
The master control panel is typically situated in
the doghouse, with a second panel in another
safe area.
Typically, pneumatic operation is used to open
and close preventers, choke and kill lines and to
monitor and regulate pressures.

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Subsea stacks require slightly different operation from the control panel, in that:

They also require signal or pilot lines in addition to hydraulic fluid lines.

Subsea regulators and valves control the flow and pressure of hydraulic fluid upon receiving the
signals from surface.

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4.7 Diverters
The diverter is a low pressure system installed beneath the bell nipple and flow line assembly to direct
well flow away from the rig and personnel.
They are typically employed prior to installing a BOP stack in order to provide safety in the event of
shallow gas being encountered.
They are essential in offshore drilling, but the diverter system is only designed to handle low pressures. It
is designed to pack off, or close around, the Kelly or drillpipe and direct fluid flow away. If it were
attempted to be control high pressures, or completely shut in the well, the likely result would be failure
and uncontrolled flow, with the breakdown of formations around the shallow casing or conductor pipe.
Typically, two diverter lines are installed and, in the event of a kick:

One or both diverter lines will be opened

A packer is closed around the drillpipe, or Kelly, in order to close off the annulus

Gas will then be directed away from the rig until it loses pressure

Rig Structure
Diverter assembly

Response must be quick since, with


shallow gas, there is little hydrostatic
head and gas will quickly blowout at
surface. One vent line must be open
before closing the packer, in order to
prevent gas from blowing out around
conductor pipe.

Marine Riser
This schematic shows a typical
installation for drillships and semisubmersibles.
LMRP

Annular preventer

It is mounted to the drill floor substructure at the top of the marine riser
assembly.

Ram preventers

Relative motion between the BOP stack


and the rig is accounted for by a flex/ball
joint positioned above the stack.
A second flex/ball joint may be installed
between the diverter and the risers
telescopic joint.

Seabed

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4.8 Inside Blowout Preventors


This refers to equipment that can be used to close off the drillstring in order to provide additional control.
They may be manual shut off valves that can be inserted into the string at the surface, or they may be
automatic check valves actually located inside the drillstring downhole.
There are slight differences in the equipment depending on the rotary system of the rig: -

4.8.1 Kelly Rigs


Upper kelly valve or cock

This valve is positioned between the kelly and the swivel, in order to
isolate drilling fluid in the drillstring.

Lower kelly valve or cock

This is installed at the base of the kelly and will most likely be used if the
upper kelly valve is damaged or inaccessible.

Safety valve

This is actually identical to the lower kelly valve. Rather than being
installed as part of the string, it is kept on the rig floor in order to be
quickly stabbed into the top of the drillpipe should a kick occur during
a trip when the kelly is racked.

4.8.2 Top Drive Rigs


Top drives utilize an Upper Remote Safety Valve and a Lower Safety Valve, the two valves connected
together.

The upper valve is operated remotely, since the top drive location is likely to be inaccessible
(height) should a kick take place.

The advantage of this arrangement is that kick protection is immediately available should a kick occur
during a trip.

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4.8.3 Additional Preventers

Inside BOP

This is a check valve that is used to close off the top of the drillpipe.
It allows the string to be stripped into the hole, under pressure, in the
event that a kick occurs when the string is off bottom.
It is physically difficult to stab the valve against mud flow from the
drillpipe, so a safety valve is usually installed first.

Drop In Check Valve

This valve is actually pumped or dropped into the drillpipe, setting itself
in a landing sub situated in or close to the BHA.
Some models can be retrieved on wireline, otherwise, the drillstring has
to pulled out to retrieve the valve.
They are typically used in stripping operations.
If abandoning location offshore, they must be deployed prior to shearing
the pipe.

Float Valve

This check valve is installed in the bit sub to prevent backflow of mud
through the drillstring.
Simple models are one-way valves, which prevent pressures being
transmitted as well as fluid flow. Unfortunately, this results in the
disadvantage that the shut in drillpipe pressure would not be known.
A slotted or vented flapper type minimizes backflow but allows for
stabilized shut in pressure to be recorded.

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4.9 Rotating Preventers


These may be known as rotating heads, or
rotating BOPs.

Kelly driver

Top rubber

They are mounted on top of the standard


BOP stack and act as a rotating flow
diverter.
This allows rotation and vertical movement
of the drillstring at the same time that a
rubber stripper seals around, and rotates
with, the pipe or kelly.

Mud flow is therefore contained and can be


diverted away through a bowl and bearing
assembly.

Annular pressures up to 3500psi can be


controlled with such equipment.

Applications
include
underbalanced
drilling applications and even facilitating
the drilling with high pressures while well
is flowing.

Bearing
assembly
Bottom rubber

Bowl

While well pressures are contained by the rubber seal around the drillstring or kelly, flow is diverted by
way of a steel bowl and bearing assembly. The bearing assembly enables the inner part to rotate with the
drillstring while the outer part is stationary with the bowl.

Seals are typically of two types: -

1. A cone shaped rubber that seals around the drillstring. The inside diameter of the seal is slightly
smaller than the outside diameter of the pipe, so that the seal stretches to provide an exact seal
around the pipe. No hydraulic pressure is required to complete the seal, since the pressure is
provided by the actual wellbore pressures acting on the cone rubber. The rubber is therefore selfsealing, the higher the wellbore pressure the greater the seal.

2. A packer type seal requiring an external hydraulic pressure source to inflate the rubber and
provide a seal. A seal will be given as long as the hydraulic pressure is greater than the wellbore
pressure.

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5 FRACTURE CALCULATIONS
5.1 Leak Off Test
This is a pressure test that is typically carried out after drilling out casing/cement, prior to drilling the next
hole section. There are two principle reasons for this test.
Cement Integrity

Before drilling the next hole section, it is critical to determine that the cement
bond is strong enough to prevent high pressure fluids from flowing through to
shallower formations or to surface.

Fracture Pressure

If, as intended, the cement retains the pressure exerted during the test, then
formation fracture will occur, under controlled conditions. The formation at this
depth, since it will be the shallowest in the next hole section, is assumed to be the
weakest point.
The fracture pressure determined from the test will therefore be the maximum
pressure that can be applied in the wellbore, without causing fracture.

Two types of test may be performed: A Formation Integrity Test is often performed when there is a good knowledge of the formation and
fracture pressures in a given region. Rather than inducing fracture, this pressure test is taken to a predetermined maximum pressure, one considered high enough to safely drill the next hole section.
A complete Leak Off Test leads to the actual fracture of the formation.

Procedure:

After drilling out the casing shoe, a small section of new formation, perhaps 10m, is drilled.

Shut in the well

Pump mud, at a constant rate, into the wellbore in order to increase the pressure in the annulus.

Monitor pressure for indication that mud is injected into the formation. A linear increase will be
seen initially, with a drop in pressure occurring when leak off is reached. At this point, stop
pumping.

The pressure plot against time, or mud volume pumped, shows that there are 3 principle stages to a
complete Leak Off Test. It must be the operator who makes the decision as to which particular value is
taken as the leak off pressure, but obviously, it should be the lowest value. This way well be the initial
Leak Off Pressure, if the test hasnt been taken further to cause complete rupture. If it has, then the
Propagation Pressure is likely to be the lowest, indicating that the formation has actually been weakened
as a result of the test.

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Rupture Pressure
Complete and irreversible
failure has occurred when
pressure drops - stop pumping

Surface
Shut In
Pressure

Propagation Pressure
If pumping is stopped at the
point of failure, the formation
may recover, but weakened
Leak Off Pressure
Slower pressure increase - reduce
pump rate as mud begins to inject
into the formation

Mud Volume Pumped


With a LOT, mud is actually injected into the formation until fracture occurs. The formation is therefore weakened
allowing less tolerance for the next hole section. Full Leak Offs should be conducted on wildcat wells where

no pressure/fracture information is known.


If regional pressure and fracture gradients are known, then an FIT can be conducted to a pressure that is
known to be above the maximum anticipated pressure requirement during the next hole section. By not
increasing the pressure to actual leak off, an FIT provides a built in safety margin against shoe fracture.

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5.2 Fracture Pressure


All materials have a finite strength. Fracture Pressure can be defined as the maximum pressure that a
formation can sustain before its tensile strength is exceeded and it fails.
Factors affecting the fracture pressure include:
Rock type
In-situ stresses
Weaknesses such as fractures, faults
Condition of the borehole
Relationship between wellbore geometry and formation orientation
Mud characteristics

If a rock fractures, a potentially dangerous situation exists in the wellbore.


Firstly, mud loss will result in the fractured zone. Depending on the mud type and the volume lost, this
can be extremely costly. Mud loss may be reduced or prevented by reducing annular pressure through
reduced pump rates, or, more expensive remedial action may be required, using a variety of materials to
try and plug the fractured zone and prevent further loss. Obviously, all of this type of treatment is
extremely damaging to the formation and is to be avoided if at all possible.
However, if mud loss is so severe, then the mud level in the wellbore may actually drop, reducing the
hydrostatic pressure exerted in the wellbore. This may result in a zone, elsewhere in the wellbore,
becoming underbalanced and flowing we now have an underground blowout!

Knowledge of the fracture gradient is


therefore essential while planning and
drilling a well.

LOP

The fracture pressure is determined from


the leak off test performed at the casing
shoe. During this test, a combination of
two pressures provide the pressure, at
the shoe, to cause fracture:

The hydrostatic pressure


exerted by the drilling fluid, at
the shoe.

The shut-in pressure applied


by pumping mud into a closed
welli.e. the leak off pressure.

HYD

Fracture

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Pfrac = HYDshoe + LOP

where Pfrac = fracture pressure


HYDshoe = mud hydrostatic at the shoe
= MW x TVDshoe x constant
LOP = shut-in pressure applied at surface,
whether determined from LOT or FIT

Pfrac (emw) = MW + LOP/(TVDshoe x g)


Example - imperial
A LOT is performed at a shoe depth of 4000ft TVD, and with a mudweight of 10.5 ppg.
Leak off occurs when the surface shut in pressure is 1500psi.
LOP = 1500psi
HYDshoe = 10.5 x 4000 x 0.052 = 2184psi
Pfrac = 2184 + 1500 = 3684psi
Pfrac emw = 3684 / (4000 x 0.052) = 17.71ppg emw

Example - metric
An FIT is performed at a shoe depth of 2500m TVD, and with a mudweight of 1035 kg/m3.
The FIT is held at a surface shut in pressure of 10500 KPa.
LOP = 10500KPa
HYDshoe = 1035 x 2500 x 0.00981 = 25383 KPa
Pfrac = 25383 + 10500 = 35883 KPa
Pfrac emw = 35883 / (2500 x 0.00981) = 1463 kg/m3 emw

It is very important to understand, however, that although the pressure test is the only way of determine
the fracture pressure (other than actually losing circulation), there are certain circumstances that can lead
to inaccuracy or unreliability:

A Formation Integrity Test gives no determination of actual fracture pressure, only an accepted
maximum value for the drilling operation. Although not providing accurate data, this test does
provide a safety margin.

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Well consolidated formations are typically selected to set the shoe this formation may not be the
weakest if subsequent unconsolidated, or overpressured, formations are encountered within a
short interval from the shoe.

Apparent leak off may be seen in high permeability, or highly vugular formations, without
fracture actually occurring.

Poor cement bonds may result in leak off through the cement, rather than the formation.

Localized porosity or micro-fractures can result in lower recorded fracture pressures.

Well geometry, in relation to horizontal or vertical stresses, can also lead to deceptive fracture
pressures, with different results being produced, in the same formations, between vertical and
deviated wells.

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5.3 Maximum Allowable Annular Surface Pressure


When a well has to be shut in, in order to control a kick, surface shut-in pressure is required to balance the
bottom hole pressure.
At the time of shut-in, there are two pressures acting at the shoe:

mud hydrostatic
shut-in pressure applied from surface.

These two pressures, combined, cannot exceed the fracture pressure of the formation at the shoe (Pfrac
determined from the leak off test).

i.e.

Pfrac > HYDshoe + Shut-in Pressure

MAASP is the maximum shut in pressure that can be applied without fracturing the weakest zone,
assuming this is the shoe:
Pfrac = HYDshoe + MAASP
MAASP = Pfrac - HYDshoe

At the time of a LOT, the MAASP is clearly equal to the Leak Off Pressure, since this is the shut-in
pressure that actually causes fracture.

Example imperial
A LOT is performed at a shoe depth of 4000ft TVD, with a mudweight of 10.5 ppg. Leak off pressure is
1500psi.
Pfrac = hyd + LOP = (10.5 x 4000 x 0.052) + 1500
Pfrac = 2184 + 1500 = 3684psi
MAASP therefore, with 10.5ppg mud, also equals 1500psi; any shut-in pressure higher than this
will fracture the shoe.

MAASP will only change if mud weight changes: Drilled depth is unimportant, since we are dealing with weakest zone at the shoe.
Of the two pressures acting at the shoe:
Mud hydrostatic only changes if the mud weight changes.
Pfrac obviously does not vary.

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What is the MAASP, if at 6000ft MD, mudweight has to be increased to 11.2ppg?


MAASP = Pfrac - HYDshoe
= 3684 - (11.2 x 4000 x 0.052)
= 1354psi

The form of this calculation will only change if a weaker zone, at a greater depth, is encountered.

Example metric
Since Pfrac remains constant, if mudweight is increased, the MAASP has to decrease correspondingly.
At the time of the leak off test, a table of mudweight versus MAASP should be constructed.

A leak off is performed at a shoe TVD of 3000m; the mudweight is 1020kg/m3 and the recorded leak off
pressure is 8000 Kpa.
Pfrac = (1020 x 3000 x 0.00981) + 8000 = 38019 Kpa
MAASP = Pfrac HYDshoe

MAASP @ 1020kg/m3 = 8000 Kpa


MAASP @ 1030kg/m3 = 38019 - (1030 x 3000 x 0.00981) = 7706KPa
MAASP @ 1040kg/m3 = 38019 - (1040 x 3000 x 0.00981) = 7412KPa
MAASP @ 1050kg/m3 = 38019 - (1050 x 3000 x 0.00981) = 7117Kpa

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5.4 Kick Tolerance


Mud weight must, clearly, be sufficient to exert a
pressure that will balance the formation pressure and
prevent a kick, but it cannot be so high that the
resulting pressure would cause a formation to fracture.
This would lead to lost circulation (mud being lost to
the formation) in the fractured zone. This, in turn,
would lead to a drop in the mud level in the annulus,
reducing the hydrostatic pressure throughout the
wellbore. Ultimately then, with reduced pressure in
the annulus, a permeable formation at another point in
the wellbore may begin to flow. With lost circulation
at one point and influx at another, we now have the
beginnings of an underground blowout!
A critical condition exists should the wellbore has to
be shut in.

While drilling, high formation pressures can be safely balanced by the mudweight. However, if a kick is
taken (either through a further increase in formation pressure, or through a pressure reduction cause by
swabbing, for example), then the well would have to be shut in. If the pressure caused by the mudweight
is too high, then weaker formations at the shoe may fracture when the well is shut in. This situation would
be worsened if higher shut-in pressures are required to balance low density influxes, especially expanding
gas!
KICK TOLERANCE is the maximum balance gradient (i.e. mudweight) that can be handled by a well, at
the current TVD, without fracturing the shoe should the well have to be shut in.

KICK TOLERANCE = TVDshoe x (Pfrac MW)


TVDhole
Where Pfrac
MW

= fracture gradient (emw) at the shoe


= current mudweight

If the mudweight, that is required to balance the formation pressures while drilling, would result in shoe
fracture during well shut in, then a deeper casing shoe (with greater fracture pressure) must be set.
In order to account for a gas influx, the formula is modified as follows: -

KT = [TVDshoe x (Pfrac MW)] - [influx height x (MW gas density)]


TVDhole
TVDhole

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The method illustrated is based on three criteria:

A maximum influx height and volume (zero kick tolerance) Point X

A typical or known gas density (from previous well tests for example)

The maximum kick tolerance (liquid influx with no gas) Point Y

This defines limits on a graphical plot, which provides easy reference to this important parameter.

The values are determined as follows:

Maximum Height = TVDshoe x (Pfrac MW)


MW gas density
If gas density is unknown, assume 250 kg/m3 (0.25 SG or 2.08ppg)

Maximum Influx Volume is determined from the maximum height and the annular capacities
this defines Point Y on the graph.

Maximum KT, as shown before, = TVDshoe x (Pfrac MW)

TVDhole
This defines Point X on the graph, a liquid influx without any gas.

The graph is completed by dividing it into the different annular sections covered by the influx, i.e. in the
event that there are different drill collar sections, or if the influx passes above the drill collar section, or
even if the influx passes from open hole to casing. This is necessary since the same volume of influx will
have different column heights in each annular section.

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Kick Tolerance, worked example


Using the following well configuration:
Casing Shoe
= 2000m
Hole Depth
= 3000m
Pfrac at shoe = 1500 kg/m3 emw
Current MW = 1150 kg/m3
Drill Collar length = 200m
Annular Cap = 0.01526m3/m (216mm open hole, 165mm drill collars)
Annular Cap = 0.02396m3/m (216mm open hole, 127mm drillpipe)
Gas Density
= 250 kg/m3

Maximum Height = TVDshoe x (Pfrac MW)


MW gas density

= 2000 (1500 1150) = 777.8m


1150 250

Maximum Volume, determined from 200m around the drill collars, and 577.8m around drillpipe:
DC
DP

= 200 x 0.01526
= 577.8 x 0.02396

Max Vol = 3.05 + 13.84

Maximum KT = TVDshoe x (Pfrac MW)

= 3.05m3
= 13.84m3
= 16.89m3

= 2000 (1500 1150) = 233.3 kg/m3

TVDhole

3000

Therefore, Point X = 16.7m3, Point Y = 233 kg/m3

Now, determine the break point of the graph, for the drill collar / drill pipe annular sections:
To do this, calculate the KT related to a 3.05m3 gas influx, which would reach the top of the 200m length
of drill collars:

KT = [TVDshoe x (Pfrac MW)] - [influx height x (MW gas density)]


TVDhole
TVDhole
= 2000 (1500 1150)
3000

- 200 (1150 250)


3000

= 173.3 kg/m3
Therefore, 3.05m3 and 173.3 kg/m3 define the break point on the graph.
The graph can now be plotted, as follows:
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KT
kg/m3
Drill Collars

240

Drill Pipe

Y
200
173
160

120

80

40

Influx
Volume
m3

0
0

3.05 4

10

12

14

16

18

From this graph, the following information can be determined:

For a liquid influx, with no gas:

The kick tolerance is 233 kg/m3 above the present mudweight.

This would mean that the maximum formation pressure that can be controlled, by well shut-in,
without resulting in fracture, is 1383 kg/m3 (1150 + 233).

If formation pressures greater than this are anticipated, then a new casing shoe would have to be
set.

Lighter and expanding gas changes this scenario dramatically:

If more than 16.7 m3 of gas was allowed into the annulus, there is no kick tolerance on well shutin, the shoe would fracture!

Operators will often work on an acceptable maximum kick influx to determine kick tolerance:

For example, a 10m3 gas influx would give a kick tolerance of 86 kg/m3 above the present
mudweight.

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This can be verified with the formula:


Of the 10m3, 6.95m3 would be around the drillpipe annular section, since 3.05m3 fill the drill
collar section:
Height around DP = 6.95 / 0.02396 = 290m
Height around DC = 200m
Total Height = 490m

KT

= 2000 (1500 1150) - 490 (1150 250)


3000
= 86.3 kg/m3

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6 WELL CONTROL PRINCIPLES & CALCULATIONS


6.1 BALANCING BOTTOM HOLE PRESSURES
Assuming a kick at the bottom of the hole, during well control the bottom hole pressure (BHP) must be
balanced on both the drillstring side and annulus side. The well can be considered to behave along the
lines of a U-tube.

Take a normal well situation:

SIDP = 0

SICP = 0

Assume a normally balanced well, where the mud hydrostatic


pressure exceeds the formation pressure.
In a normal drilling situation, the u-tube is open at the surface
with the pressure at the bottom of the hole equal to the mud
hydrostatic.
This pressure would be the same on both sides of the u-tube,
so that the well is balanced.
If the well is shut in, the pressures are the same and no
additional surface pressure is required to achieve balance.

BHP = HYDmud

Now, consider actual depths and pressures:

SIDP = 0

SICP = 0
MW = 1020 kg/m3
TVD = 1000m
HYDmud = 1020 x 1000 x 0.00981 = 10006 KPa
If this is greater than Pform, then the BHP = 10006 KPa.
Shut in pressures would be zero since the well is balanced.

BHP = HYD = 10006KPa

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Now, let the annulus be partially (half in this case) filled with a lighter mud:

SIDP = 0

The string is still filled with 1020 kg/m3 mud, so


exerts a BHP pressure of 10006 KPa.

SICP = 98

However, the hydrostatic in the annulus has been


reduced:

1020
500m

HYD1020 = 1020 x 500 x 0.00981 = 5003KPa


HYD1000 = 1000 x 500 x 0.00981 = 4905KPa

1000

Annular Pressure = 5003 + 4905 = 9908KPa

1000m
10006KPa

This does not balance the BHP, so if the well was shut
in, an additional 98KPa would have to be imposed at
surface.

9908KPa

BHP = 10006KPa

(98 + 5003 + 4905 = 10006)

Returning to our well with 1020 kg/m3 mud:

At 1000m, a formation is penetrated with a pressure of


10400KPa. A kick results in the well being shut in.

SIDP=394KPa

BHP now equals 10400KPa


On the drillstring side, it is assumed that the influx does
not enter the pipe:
HYDmud = 10006KPa

influx
SIDP of 394KPa will therefore balance the well:

BHP = Pform = 10400Kpa

10400 = 10006 + 394

In the annulus, the overall hydrostatic has been reduced by the influx, so that a higher SICP will be
required to balance the well

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Example:
Drilled depth = 3500m TVD, MW = 1030kg/m3.
A formation kicks.FP = 38000KPa; oil of density 850 kg/m3 influxes to a height of 500m.

SIDP = 2635KPa

SICP=3518KPa

HYDmud = 35365KPa

1030

HYDmud = 30313KPa

850

HYDinflux = 4169KPa

Pform = 38000KPa
BHP = the higher FP = 38000 KPa
HYD = 1030 X 3500 X 0.00981 = 35365KPa

To balance the drillstring side, SIDP = 38000 35365 = 2635KPa


To balance the annulus, SICP = 38000 (HYDmud + HYDinflux)
= 38000 [(1030 x 3000 x 0.00981) + (850 x 500 x 0.00981)]
= 38000 [30313 + 4169]
= 3518KPa

From these U-tube principles, the following shut-in formulas can be determined: -

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6.2 Shut In Formulas


Annular or Drillpipe Pressure + Shut In Pressure = Formation Pressure

The SIDP provides the additional pressure to the mud hydrostatic in the drillstring, in order to balance the
increased BHP resulting from the formation pressure.
Mud Hydrostatic + SIDP = Formation Pressure

The same principle applies to the annulus side of the u-tube, but here, the mud column is contaminated by
the influx. This reduces the overall hydrostatic in the annulus, so that a greater CSIP is required in order
to provide balance.
If it is assumed that the influx is concentrated at the bottom of the hole and the height of the influx can be
determined:
NewMud HYD + InfluxHYD + SICP = Formation Pressure
Where influx hydrostatic = influx gradient x influx height

6.3 Influx Height and Type


Despite the formula shown above, because of too many uncertainties, the SICP is not used to determine
formation pressure, but it can be used as an early estimation as to what type of influx needs to be
controlled.
The influx volume is normally assumed to be equal to the pit volume
increase, i.e. the volume of mud displaced at surface, as a result of the
influx downhole.
Height of influx = pit gain * annular capacity

clean
mud

contaminated
mud
influx

Pit volume increase, once the well has been shut in and lined up to the
trip tank, will be due to an influx volume situated at the bottom of the
hole.
Prior to shut in, however, while circulating, the influx would have been
dispersed further up the annulus, contaminating the mud and with
reduced height due to larger annular capacity.
These possible errors are ignored and the influx assumed to occupy the
bottom of the hole, with a reduced mud column above.

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The height reached by an influx is dependent on:

The pressure differential and permeability, i.e. effectiveness of influx flow


The fluid type
The time taken to shut in the well, allowing for influx
Annular capacities

Naturally, the greater the height of the influx, then the greater the reduction in hydrostatic pressure, and
the greater the CSIP that will be required to balance the well.

BHP = Pform
Gas expansion will reduce the hydrostatic even further!
With reliable data, the influx gradient can be determined as follows:

Fluid Gradient (psi/ft) = (MWppg x 0.052) - (SICP - SIDP (psi))


influx height (ft)

Fluid Grad (KPa/m) = (kg/m3 x 0.00981) - (SICP - SIDP (KPa))


influx height (m)

Fluid Gradient
(psi/ft)
0.05 0.15
0.15 0.40
0.433
0.433 0.48

Fluid Type
Gas
Condensate Oil
Fresh water
Salt water

Fluid Gradient
(KPa/m)
1.131 3.393
3.393 9.048
9.795
9.795 10.858

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6.4 Stabilizing Shut In Pressures


When a well is shut in, both CSIP and SIDP will steadily increase until the well is balanced on their
respective sides.
Once pressures have stabilized, the shut in pressures reflect the reduction in hydrostatic (in the drillstring
and in the annulus) pressure and the additional pressure required to balance the formation.
Before the pressures have stabilized, BHP does not balance the formation pressure, so further influx is
possible.
At the same time, gas can continue to migrate while the well is shut in, although it is not possible to
expand since there is nowhere to displace mud from the annulus.
If pressures (CSIP) do not stabilize, but continue to gradually increase, then there IS gas in the hole,
which is migrating.
To determine the degree of underbalance if pressures dont stabilize, record the pressure against time,
typically every minute.
Plot on a graph, pressure against time. If rate of increase slows down, this can be taken as the amount of
underbalance

Pressure

Time
In this event, it is useful to know how fast the gas is rising in the shut-in annulus. This can be gauged by
how quickly CSIP is rising:

Migration Speed = pressure increase per time / hydrostatic pressure gradient


= (psi/hr) / (psi/ft) = ft/hr
eg; MW = 11.1ppg; Pressure increases by 200 psi over 30 minutes
Migration Speed

= 400 / (11.1*0.052) = 693 ft/hr

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6.5 Induced Kicks


If a kick results from formation pressure exceeding the mud hydrostatic pressure, shut in pressures will be
seen on both sides of the u-tube, SICP > SIDP.
If zero SIDP is recorded, then clearly, the mud hydrostatic (inside the drillstring side of the u-tube) still
balances the formation pressure. Since an increase in formation pressure is not the cause of the kick, a
reduction in annular pressure must be the cause, therefore the kick must have been induced by some other
mechanism:

Through swabbing, temporarily reducing the annular pressure below the formation pressure, to
allow an influx.

Not keeping the hole full in a trip, again reducing the mud hydrostatic in the annulus.

A CSIP will still be recorded, since the influx reduces the mud hydrostatic in the annulus and the
reduction must be balanced by the back pressure applied at surface.
Control, in this situation, simply requires circulating the influx out.

6.6 One Way Floats


Unless flapper or vented designs are used, floats prevent the transmission of fluids and pressure up the
string.
Therefore, an increase in formation pressure will not be transmitted to surface, through the drillstring, and
SIDP will be recorded as zero!
Without knowledge of the SIDP, then the formation pressure (and kill mudweight as will be seen shortly)
cannot be determined.
In order to determine this required information, the following procedure can be used: After shut-in and stabilization, record the SICP
Pump at the planned kill rate (this is based on the Slow Circulating Rate and known pressure)
Maintain a constant SICP by using the choke
Record the pressure on the drillpipe while circulating
Stop pumping and close the choke

The effective shut-in drillpipe pressure can then be calculated as follows: -

SIDP = drillpipe pressure - SCR pressure

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6.7 Slow Circulating Rates


Well control is always performed at slow pump rates in order to minimize additional pump pressure in the
annulus. It is important to know what pressure results from this pump rate in a normal situation.
SCR pressures should be recorded, for both pumps, at a range of pump rates e.g. 20, 30 and 40 strokes per
minute. They are typically recorded:

At the beginning (or end) of every shift, if the drilled depth has changed
If mud weight changes significantly
If the hole/string profile has changed
Before drilling ahead with a new bit

SCR pressures are used to determine the following:

Initial and Final circulating pressures when circulating the kill mud to the bit
SIDP when using a one-way float (as just illustrated)

6.8 Kill Mudweight


As already seen, the SIDP is the additional pressure (to the mud hydrostatic pressure) required to balance
the BHP due to the increase in formation pressure: -

FP = HYDmud + SIDP
The kill mudweight is the mudweight required to balance the formation pressure.
i.e.

Kill MW = Initial MW +

SIDP
(TVD x g)

PPG

PPG +

PSI
ft x 0.0052

kg/m3

kg/m3 +

KPa
m x 0.00981

Example - Imperial
Drilling at 8000ft with a mudweight of 10.6ppg, a kick is taken. On shut in, a SIDP of 350psi is recorded:
KMW = 10.6 +

350
8000 x 0.052

= 10.6 + 0.84
= 11.5ppg
FP

= 11.44ppg emw
= 11.44 x 8000 x 0.052
= 4759PSI

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Example - Metric
Drilling at 3700m with a mudweight of 1045kg/m3, a kick results in a SIDP of 2500KPa:
KMW = 1045 +

2500
3700 x 0.00981

= 1045 + 68.9
= 1114 kg/m3
FP

= 1114 kg/m3 emw


= 1114 x 3700 x 0.00981
= 40,435 KPa

6.9 Circulating The Kill Mud


The kill mud is circulated at a constant pump rate, the Slow Circulation Rate.
At the start of the well control process, the drillstring is full of the original mud (again, making the
assumption that no influx has found its way up inside the drillstring).

The recorded pump pressure will therefore be the recorded SCR pressure and the additional SIDP
required to balance the well:
Therefore, at the start of the well kill operation:

ICP = SIDP + SCR pressure


where ICP = Initial Circulating Pressure

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As the heavier kill mud is pumped down the string, the original lighter mud is displaced from the string,
around into the annulus.

Since heavier mud is replacing lighter mud, the hydrostatic pressure in the string is increasing.
Correspondingly, less SIDP is required to maintain BHP balance.
The pump rate is maintained at the SCR
The SIDP therefore has to be decreased manually by opening the choke, so that, at all times.

HYDmud + SIDP = BHP (Formation Pressure)

Continuing the circulation, lets assume that the kill mud has reached the bit, displacing all of the original
mud from the drillstring:
Since the kill mud has been calculated to control the well, the hydrostatic pressure from the kill mud now
balances the BHP, so that no additional back pressure needs to be applied from surface.
The SIDP recorded is now equivalent to the SCR pressure, but for the heavier kill mud. This can be
determined, by the ratio method, from the SCR pressure
recorded for the original mud weight: -

Final Circulating Pressure


FCP = SCRpress x (KMW/MW)
FCP balances the string side of the u-tube and should be
maintained for the remainder of the well kill operation.

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6.10 Pressure Step Down


During the initial stages of the well control procedure, a pressure step down is therefore followed while
circulating kill mud to the mud, gradually reducing the pressure from the initial circulating pressure to the
final circulating pressure.
Once the kill mud is at the bit, and the pressure is at the FCP, we know the drillstring side of the u-tube is
balancing the formation pressure.
The pressure step down is determined for the pressures required at regular intervals determined from the
total pump strokes required to fill the string with kill mud (i.e string capacity and down strokes).
Required pressure (i.e. choke) adjustments are therefore determined from the total number of strokes
(surface to bit) and the difference between ICP and FCP.

For example: Down strokes = 1000


ICP = 1100PSI
FCP = 700PSI

1100

ICP

1000
900
800

FCP

700

strokes

100

200

300

400

500

600

700

800

900

1000

pressure 1100 1060

1020

980

940

900

860

820

780

740

700

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6.11 Subsea Considerations


Depending on the water depth, very long choke and kill lines have to run down the length of the riser.
Higher frictional losses in the choke line may lead to a variation in slow circulation rate pressures,
therefore the initial and final circulating pressures.
The marine riser is isolated and returns are circulated back to the rig through the choke line. This has two
consequences:

You must account for the significant capacity and stroke change during well kill procedure.

Once the well is controlled, it has only actually been displaced to kill mud as far as the sea bed.
The marine riser is still filled with the original mud, therefore, before proceeding, the marine riser
also needs to be displaced to kill mud.

6.12 Horizontal Well Considerations


Less hydrostatic head to balance formation pressures
Gas will not start expanding until it reaches the vertical section of the well. Therefore, a kick may not be
identified early on and once in the vertical section, gas has shorter distance/time before reaching surface.
Tapered drillstrings, with drillcollars providing weight in the vertical section of the well, result in smaller
annular capacity and therefore a greater height to the gas column, lowering hydrostatic pressure and
increasing CSIP.

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7 WELL CONTROL METHODS


7.1 Wait and Weight
The well is shut in while the mud is weighted up to the required kill weight, calculations and kill sheets
are prepared. Only one circulation is required to kill the well.
Advantages

Lower pressures are imposed on the well


This method is generally faster since the kick is circulated out and the well killed in a minimum
of one circulation.
Safer
Less wear on surface gas equipment and choke

Disadvantages

The well control process must wait until the kill mud is ready
More calculations are required

Procedure

Shut the well in and weight up the required volume of mud to the kill mudweight.

Open the choke and bring the pump up to the designated kill pump rate (from SCR).

Maintain a constant kill rate as the kill mud is pumped down the string.
Follow the SIDP step down procedure by adjusting the casing choke (A).
If the actual stabilized ICP is not the same as the calculated ICP, the step down sequence
should be adjusted accordingly.
A reduction in the CSIP will be seen as the influx passes from drill collars to drillpipe (B),
since the larger annular capacity reduces the influx height, increasing the overall hydrostatic
in the annulus.

When the kill mud is at the bit, the drillpipe pressure should equal the calculated FCP (C).

Adjust the choke to maintain this pressure for the remainder of the operation.
A reduction in CSIP will be seen as kill mud enters annulus, increasing the overall
hydrostatic in the annulus (D)

Bring the influx to surface - as the gas expands, both CSIP and pit levels will be seen to increase
(E).
The gas needs to bled off in order to maintain drillpipe pressure and keep CSIP within
operational limits so as not to fracture the shoe (F).

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Kill mud
at bit

Kill mud at
surface

Influx arrives at
surface

CSIP
Drillpipe
pressure

Influx
removed

F
B
D

A
C

Post kill procedure

When the kill mud reaches surface, pumping can stop and the well shut in.

At this point, the influx should have been removed from the annulus and the well should be
killed. If some CSIP is still recorded, then continue circulating until the remaining influx is
removed.

For offshore rigs

The riser now has to be displaced to kill mud

Open diverter and flow check well

Throughout the well kill operation, constant BHP is maintained with: Constant kill mudweight
Constant slow circulation pump rate
Constant drillpipe pressure once the string is displaced to kill mud

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7.2 Drillers Method


Under controlled conditions, the existing mud is circulated to bring the influx out of the hole.
During this circulation, calculations are made, kill sheets completed and the mud weighted up to the
required kill weight.
A second circulation then displaces the well to kill mud, killing the well.
This method is typically used in situations such as circulating out large gas shows, trip gases, or kicks that
have been swabbed into the hole, since a mudweight increase will not be required.
Advantages

Circulation begins immediately


It is a simpler technique, requiring fewer calculations

Disadvantages

More time is required for the two circulations


Higher pressures are imposed on the annulus
More wear on choke and gas equipment

Procedure - Circulation 1

Open the choke and bring the pump up to the desired slow circulation rate.

Circulate the influx to surface at the constant pump rate and maintain constant drillpipe pressure
(A) by adjusting the choke. This should provide sufficient BHP to prevent further influx.

Gas must be allowed to expand and mud displaced at surface.

Correspondingly, CSIP increases (B). This will help to prevent further influx, but it cannot be
allowed to exceed fracture pressures.

Once the influx is out of the well, shut the well in and record pressures (C).
If SIDP and SICP are zero

The well is dead and the mud density is sufficient to


balance the well

If SIDP and SICP are equal (>0)

Mudweight must be increased to balance the


formation pressure

If SICP > SIDP

There is still influx in the annulus and a second kick, or


further influx has occurred during the initial circulation.

Repeat this procedure until the influx has been completely removed.

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Procedure - Circulation 2
An assumption is made, that prior to the second circulation, all influx fluids have been removed from the
annulus during the first circulation.

Open the choke and bring the pump up to the slow circulation rate.

Pump the kill mud at constant rate, maintaining constant CSIP by adjusting the choke (D). This
will allow the drillpipe pressure to fall as the kill mud is pumped down to the bit and hydrostatic
increases.

When the kill mud reaches the bit, the well is dead on the drillpipe side. Record the drillpipe
pressure, FCP (E).

Continue circulation, displacing the annulus to kill mud, while maintaining constant drillpipe
pressure (F). CSIP will decrease as kill mud displaces the annulus.

Once kill mud reaches surface, stop pumping, shut in the well and confirm that it is dead.

STEP 1

Influx
removed

Kill mud
at bit

STEP 2

Well
Dead

Influx at
surface

B
CSIP
Drillpipe
pressure

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7.3 Concurrent Method


With this method, circulation commences immediately and the mud is gradually weighted up as
circulation proceeds. This will continue until the final required kill mud reaches surface and the well is
dead.
Disadvantages

Higher pressures are imposed on the annulus


Barite mixing and mud weight may not be consistent throughout

Procedure

With the well shut in, calculate the ICP, the kill mudweight and the FCP.

Rather than stroke increments from surface to bit, determine the pressure reduction required in
terms of incremental mudweight until the final kill mud is being circulated. Increasing the mud
weight and reducing drillpipe pressure will take place over several circulations.

Bring the pump up to the slow circulation rate, ensuring the drillpipe pressure is equal to the ICP
by adjusting the choke.

As the mud density reaches each incremental increase, the drillpipe pressure is reduced through
the choke, following the step down chart.

When kill mud reaches surface, the well is dead

1100 ICP
1000
900
800

FCP

700

MW 10.0

10.2

10.4

10.6

10.8

11.0

11.2

11.4

11.6

11.8

12.0

pressure 1100

1060

1020

980

940

900

860

820

780

740

700

For each incremental increase in mudweight, drillpipe pressure is reduced. When the final kill mud is at
the bit, the drillpipe pressure should be at the FCP.
eg ICP = 1100psi; FCP = 700psi; MW = 10.0ppg; KMW = 12.0ppg
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7.5 Volumetric Method


This technique is used when normal kill procedures are not possible from the bottom of the hole. This
may be due to the following reasons:

If the drillstring is out of the hole and drillpipe pressure is meaningless.

If effective kill circulation is not possible due to the drillstring being washed out or twisted off, or
if the bit nozzles are plugged.

Two main principles are followed during this procedure:

Constant BHP is maintained by allowing a measured volume of drilling fluid to escape from the
annulus as the influx moves up the hole.

As gas expands, CSIP increases. Excessive pressure is avoided by bleeding off controlled
amounts of drill fluid, without reducing BHP to a point that would allow further influx.

Information required
1. The degree of underbalance from the CSIP gauge - the CSIP pressure obviously reflects the
additional pressure required to balance the formation pressure.

2. The mud column height that, when bled off from the annulus, reduces the hydrostatic pressure by
a given amount, e.g. 100psi or 700KPa.

height (ft) = 100psi / (MWppg x 0.052)


height (m) = 700KPa / (MWkg/m3 x 0.00981)
3. The mud volume that would produce the same pressure drop when bled off from the annulus.

volume (bbls) = height (ft) x casing capacity (bbls/ft)


volume (m3) = height (m) x casing capacity (m3/m)

Procedure - Step 1
The first step is to volumetrically bleed off mud from the annulus, while maintaining BHP, allowing
influx to rise and gas to come to surface.

Allow the CSIP to increase to 200psi above the underbalance. This provides a BHP which is
200psi over formation pressure, preventing further influx.

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Slowly bleed off the mud volume required to reduce the hydrostatic pressure by 100psi. This is
done with the choke while maintaining constant CSIP. The CSIP still reflects the underbalance +
200psi, while the BHP, reduced by 100 psi, now provides 100psi margin over the formation
pressure.

Close the choke and allow the pressure to increase by a further 100psi. The CSIP now reflects the
underbalance + 300psi, while the BHP provides 200psi margin over the formation pressure.

Again, maintaining constant CSIP, bleed off the mud volume required to reduce the hydrostatic
by a further 100psi. The CSIP still reflects underbalance + 300psi, while the BHP again provides
the 100psi margin over the formation pressure.

Repeat until gas is at surface


P > Underbalance
500
CSIP
400
300
200
BHP
100
ORIGINAL CSIP

Procedure - Step 2
With the gas now at surface, it is necessary to pump mud into the well through the kill line, replacing the
gas and maintaining BHP to balance the formation pressure. As this is done, the gas will compress,
increasing the CSIP.

Record CSIP

Slowly pump the mud volume necessary to increase the hydrostatic by 100psi, into the well.

Wait for the gas to separate from the mud (perhaps 15 minutes).

Slowly bleed gas from the choke, lowering the CSIP to the initial value.

Continue bleeding until a further 100psi drop is recorded, in order to compensate for the 100psi
increase in hydrostatic pressure due to the mud pumped into the well.

Repeat this procedure until all of the gas is removed from the annulus.

Flow check the well. If it is static, run pipe to the bottom.

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8 QLOG SOFTWARE
8.1 Leak Off Program
During a leak off test, this program will read and record the pressure changes realtime and, at the end of
the test, will calculate the fracture pressure and equivalent mudweight. By default, the casing pressure
sensor will be the one monitored for pressure readings, so you should ensure that the test is being
conducted on the same manifold as your sensor.

Required information: Sampling interval

i.e. how often data will be recorded.


seconds.

TVD

Taken from realtime system hole depth - this may need to be edited for
the depth of the test.

Mud Density

Taken from the realtime system - this may need to be edited to show the
value determined by the mud engineer and thus the value to be used for
calculations.

Input by the user, typically 5

Mud Pump or Auxiliary pump


Pump number

The pump output can then be determined from the pump data file.

Volume or Time

The parameter that the pressure will be plotted against.


If Mud Pump is selected above, you can select either volume or time so
that the pressure will be plotted against either the mud volume pumped
or time.
If Auxiliary is selected, you have to select time here, since you will not
have a stroke indicator.

Once all the data has been entered, press F3 to start. The program will then start collecting data based on
the sample interval selected.
Once the test has finished, press any key to stop the data acquisition.
Press F7 to calculate.
The program will determine the maximum pressure recorded, and from that it will calculate the Fracture
Gradient in terms of Equivalent Mud Density. Beware that the Fracture Pressure quoted is the
maximum Applied Pressure recorded during the test, not the actual Fracture Pressure.
Use F2 or F8 to produce a printout or plot of the test.
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8.2 Kick/Kill Program


This program takes data both from the realtime system and from user input. Any data taken from the
realtime system can be edited if required.

Page 1 Data
Pump speed and pressure for Slow Circulation Rates. These should be performed regularly by the driller
and the mudlogger should update this program every time they are performed. The pump output will be
calculated automatically from the pump speed and the output stored in Realtime-Pump Data. Use enter
to update the calculation.
Pump to use

i.e. which pump are they going to use to circulate kill mud.

Drillpipe and Annular Capacities

Calculated automatically from hole and pipe profiles

Original Mudweight

Taken from the realtime system.

Trip Margin

Enter the required pressure if a certain overbalance on the kill


mudweight is required.

Down Strokes and Lag Strokes

Calculated from the current profiles, but they will only be


updated if the rig is circulating and the system is registering
pump strokes.
Since, when running this program, the well is likely to be shut in,
you may have to enter the correct strokes manually.

Casing Burst Pressure

Obtain from the drilling engineer

Depth of Last Casing Shoe

Taken from the hole profile but remember that this will be
measured depth. If the well is deviated, the True Vertical Depth
should be entered here.

Formation Fracture Gradient

Manually entered from the last Leak Off or Formation Integrity


Test.

Page 2 Data
Shut in Pressures

Drillpipe and Casing - these will be read from the realtime


system, but should be confirmed with the driller when the
pressures have stabilized.

Pit Volume Increase

i.e. the pit gain due to the kick. Remember to subtract surface
line run off, if applicable.

Pit Volume Total

This should be the total volume of the pits that will be used to
make up and circulate the kill mud. This volume is required to

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determine how much barite is required to increase the


mudweight.
Total Vertical Depth

Taken from the system (hole depth) but it will have to be edited
if the kick does not occur at the bottom of the hole.

Kill Method

1 for Drillers, 2 for Wait and Weight, 3 for Concurrent

Stroke/MW increment

For the Drillers and Wait and Weight methods, this is the stroke
increment for the pressure step down when the kill mud is being
circulated to the bit (as the kill mud goes from surface to bit, the
pressure should be reduced from the Initial to the Final
Circulating Pressure).
For the Concurrent Method, it is the incremental increase in
mudweight that should be entered - the program will then
determine how many circulations will be required.

Options
F7 to calculate:

Initial Circulating Pressure


Kill Mudweight
Final Circulating Pressure
Maximum Allowable Casing Pressure
Total Barite Required
Sacks of Barite to Add
Fluid Invasion Type
Trip Margin Mudweight ie kill mudweight + increment necessary
to give the defined pressure overbalance
Trip Margin Sacks (of barite)

F3 for Table:
For Driller/Wait and Weight methods, this will be a table of strokes vs pressure for the pressure step
down (Initial to Final) as the kill mud is circulated to the bit.
For Concurrent method:- for each circulation required with an incremental increase in the mudweight, the
final circulating pressure is shown.

F2 to Print:

Prints out the table above

F8 for Plot:

Shows pressure reduction vs strokes for the above step down.

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9 EXERCISES
EXERCISE 1 - Fracture Gradient and Maximum Allowable Annular Surface Pressure

A Formation Integrity Test was performed at a shoe depth of 8800 ft (TVD 8502 ft)
The mudweight during the test was 9.6 ppg, and for the purposes of the test, surface pressure was held at
3000 psi.
1) Calculate the Hydrostatic Pressure at the shoe.
2) Calculate the Fracture Pressure at the shoe.
3) Calculate the Fracture Gradient at the shoe.
4) Calculate the Fracture Gradient Equivalent Mud Weight.
5) What is the value of MAASP taken from the test ?

At 10000 ft ( TVD 9620 ft ), the mud density has to be raised to 10.2 ppg.
6) What is the Hydrostatic Pressure at the shoe ?
7) What is the new MAASP ?

EXERCISE 2 - Fracture Gradient and MAASP


An FIT is performed at 4000m (3850m TVD) with a mudweight of 1100 kg/m3. The pressure is held at
20000 Kpa.
1. Calculate the hydrostatic pressure at the shoe.
2. Calculate the fracture pressure.
3. Calculate the fracture gradient EMW.
4. What is the MAASP at the time of the FIT ?
5. Calculate the MAASP at the following incremental mudweights:1150 kg/m3
1200 kg/m3
1250 kg/m3
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Exercise 3 Well Control


A kick is taken while drilling a 12 1/4 hole at 7500 feet (MD and TVD).
The present mud weight is 10.2ppg
The 13 3/8 casing shoe (ID 12.72) is set at 4000 feet.
A leak off test performed with 9ppg mud gave a leak off pressure of 1500psi.
The pump capacity is 0.102 bbls/stroke
The drill string is composed of:

drillpipe
HWDP 500ft
DC
600ft

OD 5.0, ID 4.28
OD 5.0, ID 3.0
OD 8.5, ID 3.0

The last SCRs taken gave 220psi at 30 spm.


A pit gain of 8 bbls was taken and the shut in pressures are

SIDPP 280psi
SICP 330 psi

1) Calculate (bbls/ft) the pipe capacity for each section


2) Calculate (bbls/ft) the annular capacity for each section
3) Calculate the fracture gradient at the shoe.
4) At the time of the kick, calculate

a) the present hydrostatic pressure


b) the present MAASP

5) Calculate the density of mud required to kill the well


6) Calculate the initial and final circulating pressures
7) Calculate

a) strokes from surface to bit


b) strokes from bit to casing shoe
c) strokes from casing shoe to surface

8) Calculate the height of the influx


9) Calculate the gradient of the influx
10) What type of influx produced the kick?

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Exercise 4 Well Control

SIDP
710psi

CSIP
1035psi

Bit Size: 8.5


Casing size: 9 5/8
LOT: 2875psi performed with 10ppg mud
Pump output: 0.119 bbls/stk
Surface line drain off: 23 bbls
Last SCR @ 30spm = 400psi
Ann Ploss is 40psi when killing well at
this rate
Drilling @ 80spm = 2900psi
Ann Ploss = 300 psi

Pipe lengths: HWDP 490 ft


DC 750 ft
Shoe 10350ft MD
9800ft TVD

Pipe capacities (bbls/ft):


DP
HWDP
DC

Bit 15670 ft MD
14760 ft TVD

0.01776
0.0088
0.008

Annular Capacities (bbls/ft)


DP/CSG
DP/OH
HWDP/OH
DC/OH

0.0562
0.0505
0.0505
0.0292

The well is being drilled with a mud weight of 10.7 ppg, providing a sufficient overbalance over the
formation pressure.
At 15670ft MD, a pit gain is observed. The pumps are stopped, and a total pit gain of 43bbls is taken
before the well is shut in. The shut in pressures are recorded as shown.

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1) Calculate the surface to bit strokes


2) Calculate the bit to casing shoe strokes
3) Calculate the shoe to surface strokes
4) Calculate the total annular capacity
5) Calculate the drillstring capacity
6) Calculate the fracture gradient (EMW) at the shoe
7) Calculate the ECD, prior to the kick being taken

Once the kick has been taken,


8) Calculate the height of the influx
9) Calculate the gradient of the influx
10) What type of kick is it ?
11) Calculate the kill mudweight
12) Calculate the formation pressure
13) Calculate the initial circulating pressure
14) Calculate the final circulating pressure
15) Calculate the ECD while killing the well at 30 spm. Assume the annulus is completely
displaced to kill mud.
16) At the kill rate, calculate the

downtime
bit to shoe time
shoe to surface time

17) Calculate the MAASP with kill mud in the hole


18) Before drilling ahead with this new mudweight, calculate the mudweight required to produce a trip
margin of 500psi.

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Verify your calculations by using the QLOG kick/kill program.


i.e. confirm the following

Kill Mudweight
Initial and Final circulating pressures
MAASP with kill mud
Influx type
Trip Margin

You will need to input the following: SCR data for pump 1
Drillpipe Capacity (Q5)
Annular Capacity (Q4)
Mudweight
Trip Margin required
Bit to Surface Strokes (Q2 + Q3)
Surface to Bit Strokes (Q1)
TVD depth of Casing
Formation Fracture Gradient (Q7)
Shut in Pressures
Pit Volume Increase
TVD

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Exercise 5 Well Control

SIDP
1500KPa

CSIP
1800KPa

Bit Size: 311mm


Casing size: 339mm
FIT: 10000 KPa, with 1020 kg/m3 mud
Pump output: 0.016 m3/stk
Last SCR @ 40spm = 2500 KPa

Pipe lengths: HWDP 250m


DC 150m

Pipe capacities (m3):


Shoe 1000m MD
1000m TVD

DP
HWDP
DC

23.82
1.13
0.68

Annular Capacities (m3)


Bit 3000m MD
2650m TVD

DP/CSG
DP/OH
HWDP/OH
DC/OH

70.29
101.28
15.82
6.54

The well is being drilled with a mudweight of 1045 kg/m3 when a 5m3 pit gain is taken.
The well is shut in and pressures recorded as shown above.

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1. Calculate the surface to bit strokes


2. Calculate bit to casing shoe strokes
3. Calculate shoe to surface strokes

From the FIT....


4. What is the fracture pressure at the shoe?
5. What is the maximum equivalent mudweight to avoid fracturing the shoe?

When the kick has been taken...


6. Calculate the mudweight required to kill the well
7. Calculate the initial circulating pressure
8. Calculate the final circulating pressure
9. Calculate the MAASP when kill mud is in the hole
10. Calculate the height of the influx
11. Calculate the gradient of the influx
12. What is the fluid causing the kick?
13. Before drilling ahead with the kill mud, what mudweight would provide a trip margin of 2000 KPa?

Exercise 6 Kick Tolerance


Use the following well profiles and information:
Hole depth
Hole size

3700m TVD
216mm

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Present MW

13.5 ppg

Shoe depth
Pfrac

3000m TVD
15.5 ppg emw

278m of 165mm drill collars


127mm drill pipe

Annular Capacity DC/OH = 0.0949 bbls/m


Annular Capacity DP/OH = 0.1508 bbls/m

Gas influx, density 2.08 ppg

1. What is the maximum influx height that can be safely controlled without fracturing the shoe?
2. What is the annular volume around the drill collars?
3. For the maximum influx height, what is the maximum influx volume?
4. What is the kick tolerance, assuming a liquid influx?
5. What is the kick tolerance for a gas influx reaching the top of the drill collars?
6. Plot a graph of kick tolerance against influx volume.
7. Assuming a liquid kick, what is the maximum formation pressure (emw) that can be safely
controlled without fracturing the shoe?
8. From the graph, given a 20bbls influx of gas, what is the maximum formation pressure that can
be safely controlled?
9. Determine the height of a 20bbls influx and then verify the answer to question 8 by using the
formula.

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Exercise 7 Kick Tolerance


Use the following well profiles and information:
Hole depth
Hole size
Present MW

3200m TVD
216mm
1350 kg/m3

Shoe depth
Pfrac

2000m TVD
1700 kg/m3 emw

250m of 165mm drill collars


127mm drill pipe

Annular Capacity DC/OH = 0.01525 m3/m


Annular Capacity DP/OH = 0.02396 m3/m

Gas influx, density 250 kg/m3

1. What is the maximum gas influx height that can be safely controlled without fracturing the shoe?
2. What is the annular volume around the drill collars?
3. For the maximum influx height, what is the maximum influx volume?
4. What is the kick tolerance, assuming a liquid influx?
5. What is the kick tolerance for a gas influx reaching the top of the drill collars?
6. Plot a graph of kick tolerance against influx volume.
7. Assuming a liquid kick, what is the maximum formation pressure (emw) that can be safely
controlled without fracturing the shoe?
8. From the graph, given a 5m3 influx of gas, what is the maximum formation pressure that can be
safely controlled?
9. Determine the height of a 5m3 influx and then verify the answer to question 8 by using the
formula.

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Exercise 8 Subsea Well Control


12 hole; Drilled Depth = 8500 ft TVD
Current MW = 10.2 ppg

Air Gap = 80ft


Water Depth = 120ft

13 3/8 Casing Shoe = 6000 ft TVD,

Riser ID = 20

CSG ID = 12.87

LOT performed with 9.5 ppg mud

Choke line = 200ft


Choke ID = 2

Leak Off Pressure = 2100psi


Pump Output = 0.115 bbls/stroke at 97% efficiency

DC length = 200ft
DC OD = 8
DC ID = 3

Pit Gain = 20bbls


SIDP = 500psi; SICP = 800psi

HWDP length = 300ft


HWDP OD = 5
HWDP ID = 3

Last SCR pressure @ 30 SPM = 350psi


DP OD/ID = 5 / 4.28

1.
2.
3.

Calculate the strokes from surface to bit


Calculate strokes from bottom to shoe
Calculate strokes from shoe to BOP

4.

Calculate strokes, through choke, from BOP to RT

5.

What is the fracture pressure at the shoe?

6.

Prior to taking the kick, what is the MAASP

7.

What is the kill mudweight?

8.

What is the formation pressure?

9.

What are the initial and final circulation pressures?

10.

What is the MAASP with kill mud in the hole?

11.

What is the mud weight required to provide a trip margin of 150 psi over the formation pressure?

12.

What would the new MAASP be?

Kick Tolerance, assuming gas influx of 2.1ppg, and using the new kill mud (+trip margin)
13.

What is the maximum height of the influx?

14.

What is the maximum kick pressure?

15.

What is the maximum volume of influx allowable?

16.

What is the kick tolerance for a 10bbls gas kick?

17.

Once the well has been controlled, what volume of kill mud is required to displace the riser?

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Exercise Answers
Exercise 1 Fracture Gradient and MAASP.
1)
2)
3)
4)
5)
6)
7)

4244 psi
7244 psi
0.852 psi/ft
16.39 ppg EMW
3000 psi
4509 psi
2735 psi

Exercise 2 Fracture Gradient and MAASP


1.
2.
3.
4.

41545 Kpa
61545 Kpa
1630 kg/m3 EMW
20000 Kpa

5. 18111 Kpa
16223 Kpa
14334 KPa

Exercise 3 Well Control


1)

drillpipe
HWDP
DC

0.0178 bbls/ft
0.00874 bbls/ft
0.00874 bbls/ft

2)

drillpipe/casing
drillpipe/hole
HWDP/hole
DC/hole

3)

mud hydrostatic = 1872psi


fracture pressure = 3372 psi
fracture gradient = 0.843 psi/ft
EMW = 16.21 ppg

4)

a) hydrostatic = 3978 psi


b) MAASP = 1250 psi

5)

10.92 ppg

6)

ICP = 500psi
FCP = 236psi

0.13289
0.12149
0.12149
0.07559

bbls/ft
bbls/ft
bbls/ft
bbls/ft

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7)

a) 1216
b) 3902
c) 5211

8)
9)
10)

106 feet
0.058 psi/ft
gas

Exercise 4 Well Control


1)
2)
3)
4)
5)
6)
7)
8)
9)
10)
11)
12)
13)
14)
15)

2240
2123
4888
834.3 bbls
266.6 bbls
0.813 psi/ft, 15.64 ppg emw
11.1 ppg emw
685 ft
0.082 psi/ft
Gas
11.63 ppg
8923 psi
1110 psi
435 psi
11.68 ppg emw

16)

75 mins
71 mins
2 hrs 43 mins

17)
18)

2044 psi
12.3 ppg

Exercise 5 Well Control

1. 1602
2. 7727
3. 4393
4. 20006 KPa
5. 2039 kg/m3
6. 1103 kg/m3
7. 4000 KPa
8. 2639 KPa
9. 9186 KPa
10. 114.7m
11. 7.636 KPa / m
12. Condensate or Oil
13. 1180 kg/m3
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Exercise 6 Kick Tolerance


1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

525.4m
26.4 bbls
63.7 bbls
1.62 bbls
0.76 bbls

6.
1.62

0.76

26.4

63.7

7. 15.12 bbls
8. ~ 15.5 bbls emw
9. 210.7m, 0.97 bbls (Max FP = 14.47 bbls emw)

Exercise 7 Kick Tolerance


1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.

636m
3.8125 m3
13.06 m3
218.75 kg/m3
132.81 kg/m3
218.7

132.8

3.81

13.1

7. 1569 kg/m3
8. ~ 1470 kg/m3
9. 299.6m, 1466 kg/m3

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Exercise 8 Subsea Well Control


1. 1281
2. 2575
3. 6890
4. 13
5. 5064psi, 16.23ppg emw
6. 1882psi
7. 11.4ppg
8. 5008psi
9. ICP=850psi, FCP=391psi
10. 1435psi
11. 11.7ppg
12. 1342psi
13.
14.
15.
16.

2831ft
3.2ppg
336.4bbls
3.1ppg

17. 72.9bbls

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