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8. 8.1.

ADVANCED WELL CONTROL Advanced Well Control Overview

Advanced well control is different to Normal well control because the margin within which all operations have to take place is very small. This very small margin is common in deepwater wells with geo-pressure, (GOM deepwater wells are prime examples) and in the reservoir section of an HPHT well. The approach to dealing with both of these types of wells is similar. Figure 8.1.1 shows the impact of this difference. It should be noted that because of the very small margins, it is much easier (if the correct attention is not used) to cross either the upper (fracture pressure) or lower (formation pressure) boundary and therefore induce losses or gains. The requirements for planning and carrying out operations within this type of well have been extensively looked at with respect to HPHT drilling. One important key to preventing well control incidents is by close attention to well pressure indicators and to ensure close control of all drilling operations such as tripping. In addition, close control is required in order to minimize any influx and avoid losses or any other complication. The key difference between Normal and Advanced wells is that for Normal well control, operations can be monitored and controlled using drill pipe pressures and parameters. These Normal monitoring and control techniques have been taught for years within company and industry well control schools. For Advanced well control it is essential to both monitor and control the annulus. Whereas the drillpipe is typically full of mud of known density and properties, by contrast the annulus may contain:

Mud Cuttings Oil Gas Water

In most cases it is somewhat uncertain as to the quantities, properties and position of these components. In addition:

There are some very complex relationships between the components (for example, gas will readily dissolve in OBM or SOBM) Downhole mud weights and rheologies may vary significantly with temperature and pressure Understanding pressures within the well, such that the appropriate control can be applied at this time a combination of engineering calculations and (incomplete) PWD measurements are valuable.

The key to successfully managing well control under these circumstances are: 1.

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Understanding how events will develop, such that any signs of an escalating situation can be recognized early and the appropriate corrective action taken at the earliest possible opportunity
Fracture Pressure Formation Pressure Margin of Underbalance Margin of Overbalance

The diagrams below show what can happen with time for an operation of, drilling, flow check, shut-in and conventional kill. The diagrams show pressure at the bit over time. Note that until the flowcheck, the pressures are increasing (the bit is getting deeper), Following the flowcheck, the pressures and events are at a fixed depth.

Pressure Normal Operations Kill-safety margin imposed & prevents additional influx still plenty of margin to avoid losses Large margin between formation pressure and fracture gradient allows for safety margins (without losses) and simple control using drillpipe pressure methods little attention paid to annulus

Formation Pressure Increases, Kick taken

Shut in

Flow Check



Normal Operations applied to well with small margin between formation pressure and fracture gradient great potential for losses and gains very serious if annulus not closely monitored



Advanced Control applied to well with small margin between formation pressure and fracture gradient Annulus closely monitored and control is based on combination of annulus and drill pipe measurements

Figure 8.1.1: Normal and advanced well control: the difference

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The understanding that is required to master these wells has really only occurred following the development of realistic rheology and well control (software) programs. The usage of such tools is still relatively uncommon within the industry. An example of the use of such software is given at the back of this section. As well as requiring software, it is typically required that well and rig specific calculations be carried out both when planning such wells and during the drilling process. The costs of performing such work are much smaller than the costs of the remedial work, which will almost certainly follow operations carried out in the normal or industry standard manner. For Normal well control operations, it should be assumed (confirmed etc..) that the drilling contractor has in place procedures and training which will properly cover potential events. For Advanced well control operations, the understanding of the potential events should be assumed to be beyond the capabilities of the drilling contractor. It will therefore be imperative to formulate well and rig specific procedures and to properly communicate these to the drilling contractor in discussion and in special training sessions. Failure to go this extra step will put both the operation and personnel safety at risk. 8.2. Suggested Drilling Practices

Drilling operations on complex (advanced) wells require a greater attention to detail over conventional wells. This section covers the main issues. 8.2.1. Introduction

In addition to the understanding that is required, it is necessary to be far more precise in measuring and monitoring the drilling activity in general. For example, in a Normal drilling operation it is quite normal to be adding chemicals to the active pit while drilling ahead. Connections will be made as required and the time taken for connections may be somewhat inconsistent, depending on several factors. By contrast, it will be important to keep a much tighter control on operations when drilling in an Advanced status. The mud pit levels should be kept as constant as is possible (so that an influx can be identified early and therefore the size of any influx can be minimized) and connections should be consistent in operation and in time, such that any connection gas trends can be readily identified and any increase of formation pressure determined. 8.2.2. 1. Drilling With Small Margins Ensure that the flowline run-off volume (flowback) and the time it takes to drain back (drainback) during connections is documented. Flowback must be accurately monitored - this may require diverting flow from the well into the trip tank when the pump is turned off and comparing against a base case when making connections. Once back to drilling, the pit level after the connection should be compared to that immediately before the connection. Any increase must be dealt with (Flow check if positive, shut in etc.. if negative, put bottoms up over choke if no reason for the pit gain can be found) Unless reservoir pressure has been confirmed, do not drill ahead if pit activities such as weighting up mud, transferring, or centrifuging are in progress. These activities could mask an influx from the well. Stop and circulate if these activities cannot be


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avoided. However, simultaneous drilling and treating of the mud may take place in circumstances where all parties involved in monitoring mud volumes are confident that the instrumentation allows measurement of the total volume of mud (i.e. both in the active and in the pit being bled in or treated). 3. 4. 5. The BOP and Choke manifold valves shall be lined up for the Hard Shut In. Bit nozzle size shall be kept as large as practicable to facilitate pumping of LCM or cement should the need arise. Cross check well critical pressure gauges on the rig floor, mud loggers cabin and cement unit to ensure accurate calibration and operation. This can be achieved during a BOP or choke manifold pressure test. Rotate slowly (about 30 RPM) and pick up drillstring prior to breaking circulation to help break gels etc. When not circulating for any significant period of time, the well should be monitored by circulating across the trip tank. The Trip Tank should be kept half full when not in use. This will provide a more accurate reading for measuring returns and a supply of mud for pumping into the well if required. If it is not being used, the contents should be pumped out and replaced every tour to ensure it has the same properties as the mud in use. At no time during any well control situation should the well be allowed to flow in order to prevent the casing pressure exceeding the formation breakdown pressure. (i.e., There will be no MAASP setting). Mud Weight/Hydraulics Management Downhole mud density is dependent on both downhole pressure and temperature. Downhole pressure is heavily influenced by annulus friction as well as static mud weight.

6. 7. 8.



It will be important to accurately track both factors while drilling the well. This tracking can be carried out using a combination of PWD measurements (when available) and results from drilling hydraulics software (such as WellPlan for Windows, Virtual Hydraulics, Presmod etc.). The objectives of a mud weight/hydraulics management program are:

Maintain sufficient downhole wellbore pressure at all times to overbalance any potential producing formation Maintain, where possible, sufficient margin between formation fracture pressure (weakest exposed formation) and the wellbore pressure such that mud losses and subsequent flowback (ballooning) do not occur this may not be possible Allow operations to be carried out in an efficient manner (e.g. allow reasonable tripping speeds, circulating rates etc.) Keep the hole clean

Note: The mud properties must also be managed to:

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Provide appropriate hydraulics (i.e. avoid excessive swab/surge and annular friction pressure) Maintain suspension of barite even during long shut-down periods Avoid excessive pressures to break gels after a shutdown period

The can be achieved as follows: Assess the formation pressures to be encountered 1. 2. Measure the fracture pressure of the weakest exposed formation (perform a LOT at the casing shoe) Assess the overall margin for well operations, i.e. the difference between potential producing formation pressure and weakest exposed formation fracture pressure. Take actions (squeezing etc.) to improve the measured fracture pressure if appropriate. Assess the impact of well operations (e.g. circulating, tripping on downhole pressures) Set the downhole static pressure (and then calculate the required surface mud weight/temperature) Monitor mud density and temperature at the flowline and in the pits report any deviations from required or any changes. Note that after a shutdown, the mud may return at a different temperature and therefore different weight. This may not be a real mud weight change and therefore action (to raise or lower the mud weight) may not be required. Adjust operating parameters (circulation rates etc..) as required. Monitor well operations and continually reassess margins based on current mud properties and ongoing operations. Figure 8.2.1 shows mud hydraulics management while drilling.

3. 4. 5.

6. 7. 8.

Hydraulics Management while Drilling

Total Margin Available

Margin of uncertainty in formation pressure plus Overbalance to ensure static wellbore pressure > Formation Pressure(>200 psi allowed for)

Circulating Pressure @ Normal circulating rates. Modify mud properties if required

Safety Factor to avoid Lost Circulation &/or Flowback or Ballooning (100 psi allowed for)

Margin of uncertainty in Leak Off Pressure



Target for Static Wellbore Pressure

Wellbore Pressure while Drilling with Pumps on

Fracture Pressure Actual (downhole)

Fracture Pressure measured by LOT

Figure 8.2.1: Mud Hydraulics Management While Drilling

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Combining PWD and Modelling The combination of PWD information and realistic hydraulics modelling is very powerful and should be used to the maximum while drilling this well. The PWD readings (while available) will be used to calibrate the hydraulics modelling software PWD information will indeed tell you the value of downhole static and circulating pressures. It may also allow for the recognition of ballooning or flowback. However, unless realistic modelling is utilised there is no means of checking the PWD data itself and the reasons for such PWD information are not necessarily apparent. The combination of the two tools provides a comprehensive picture of what is occurring downhole and at other points in the wellbore. Finally, once there is confidence in the modelling (fingerprinting) it is possible to continue drilling without the PWD information. In some wells (hot ones) there may be no choice. In other wells, failure of the PWD may require stopping drilling and replacing the PWD, unless it can be shown that hydraulics modelling can replace the lost PWD information. Pit Discipline


Pit discipline is always important in drilling operations, but in wells where is little margin this becomes extremely important as the consequence of a mistake can be extremely serious. The following precautions should be observed as a result: 1. 2. All unexpected pit volume changes should be reacted to as if they were caused by the well. Always notify the Driller and Mud Loggers prior to transferring mud, starting/stopping solids control equipment, making chemical additions, dilutions, or any action that may effect the mud volumes. Consider : never add anything to the active mud in quantities that will mask an influx from the well bore. If large amounts of mud or chemical additions are to be made to the active mud system, stop and circulate. The Mud Engineer should calculate the volume increase to be expected. do not use the centrifuge on the active system, unless the pit level trend that this operation produces can be accurately and systematically established. always have 2 competent persons at the shale shakers when circulating bottoms up after trips, flow checks etc. be particularly careful to check the pit levels immediately before and after a pump shut down


4. 8.2.6.

Once every shift ensure that PVT sensors are fully operational. In addition, confirm that the volumes recorded by the mud loggers and Driller agree. Rate of Penetration The ROP should be controlled such that the bit is not too far ahead of bottoms up and excessive formation pressures drilled into. The Shell supervisor will determine

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the maximum distance ahead of bottoms up that the bit is allowed to be. The Mudloggers will ensure that the Driller knows at all times where bottoms up are from.

Drilling must be carried out in a consistent manner to enable trends and changes to be recognized. To enhance the effectiveness of ROP-related pore pressure prediction, ROP must be controlled by stopping and circulating rather than by altering drilling parameters. The bit should be allowed to drill as fast as it wants provided WOB, RPM and SPM remain constant until it is the maximum distance ahead of bottoms up as determined by the Shell supervisor. Weight Up Method If it is necessary to raise the mud weight in response to pore pressure increase indicators, such increases in mud weight must normally be carried out by circulating the mud without drilling ahead this will allow pressure trends to be properly observed. Pressure Indicators and Checks



The pressure indicators observed in standard drilling operations are also encountered in complex wells (e.g. deepwater / low margin / HPHT) however their interpretation and evaluation is more critical. In addition, there are a number of phenomena associated almost exclusively with extreme well conditions. 8.3.1. Mud Gas Levels

Mud gas levels will provide a good indication of pore pressure increase. A rise in background gas level is a good qualitative indication of pore pressure increase, but care should be taken when using gas levels to infer pore pressure. There are many factors other than pore pressure that can alter the readings seen at surface. For this reason it is essential that certain activities (e.g., connections and flowchecks) be carried out in exactly the same way each time. Using the above, planned pump rate changes and pipe reciprocation in conjunction with a knowledge of ECD and swab/surge pressures can be used to induce gas shows into the annulus which can then be interpreted.

A standard Pump Off procedure should be adopted that can be used to produce an identifiable response at surface. (e.g., carefully record the results of each such test the information the tests provide is only of use when compared with other tests carried out in the exact same manner). Attempt to eliminate step changes in background gas level by maintaining a steady mud flow rate. Attempt to eliminate step changes in drilled gas by maintaining consistent drilling parameters (an increase in ROP with the same parameters provides additional information for pore pressure prediction). Use quantitative gas level devices to measure gas if possible. Utilize one at the flowline and one in the active system.

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Two types of verification test can be used. The pump off test is used simply to generate a dummy connection. A more severe test (Swab Test) can also be carried out, though great care is required for this latter test to ensure that a significant influx is not induced. 8.3.2. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Pump Off Test (Dummy Connection) Drill interval and wipe hole. Circulate for 3 minutes - To separate drilled gas from pump off gas. Turn pump off for 10 minutes slowly rotating pipe. Circulate for 3 minutes. Recommence Drilling.

This Pump Off procedure should also be as close as possible to a normal connection to allow for gas readings to be compared. For example, if the Pump Off time during a normal connection is 8 minutes, then 2 minutes of additional Pump Off time can be added to the connection time in order to make the Pump Off time identical to the 10 minutes noted in Step 3. above. The pipe should be slowly rotated during this additional 2 minutes. The time interval stated above can be adjusted if it is found not to give a satisfactory difference between drilled gas and pump off gas. If changed with the agreement of the Contractor and Company representatives, the new times should be used consistently. If it is decided that because of changes in drilling trends or behaviour that drilling should stop while a cuttings sample is circulated to surface, then a Pump Off test may be carried out once the sample is clear of bottom. 8.3.3. Swab Test

A swab test can be performed to confirm a static overbalance or trip margin. The procedure is: 1. 2. 3. 4. Pumps off (Top Drive still on). Pull one half-stand 15m (45 feet) at a moderate, but known and recorded, speed. Back to bottom, circulate for 30 seconds. Pumps Off (Top Drive still on ). Pull one half-stand 15m (45 feet) at same speed and back to bottom. Back to drilling or circulate bottoms up. When bottoms up are at a designated depth below the rotary table, returns should be routed through the choke and MGS. The mud from the mud gas separator can be routed to the shaker where gas can be measured with the conventional gas measuring device and also with a vacuum mud still. If close to balance, the test response will be two gas peaks approximately 30 seconds apart. The reduction in ECD due to swab pressure at the pipe running speed and the height of the gas peaks can be used to infer pore pressure. Other Guidelines All mud weights must be adjusted for temperature to give an accurate reading; a record of flowline temperature must be kept.


8.3.4. 1.

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Full circulation rate must be established in a slow and controlled manner after a trip or if the well has been static for an unusually long period. In particular, the drill string should be slowly rotated and picked up before the pumps are turned on. In smaller hole sections, it is likely that a kick will occur with the pump off. Special attention must be given when the pump is turned off to accurately gauge the flowback from the well. It is also imperative to check the pit level immediately after a pump shut down against the pit level seen immediately before the pump shut down. Any increase must be dealt with (Flow check if positive, shut in etc.. if negative, put bottoms up over choke if no reason for the pit gain can be found) Swabbing can occur any time the drill string is raised without the pump on. At connections, the pump must be on while the drill string is raised unless it is intended to perform a swab test. For floating operations, there will be a swabbing tendency at connections in rough weather (with the rig heaving). This is acceptable as long as connections are as consistent as possible and the time while the pipe is moving with respect to the wellbore and with the pump off is noted. Prior to any trip, the swab pressures and tripping rates will be calculated. It is prudent following any trip, to circulate bottoms up over the choke. At no time during any well control situation will the well be allowed to flow in order to prevent the casing pressure exceeding the formation breakdown pressure. (i.e., There will be no MAASP setting). Ballooning/Flowback/Backflow/Supercharging



5. 6. 7.


Various theories describe the mechanism by which Supercharging occurs. The most common are that either there is outward ballooning of the wellbore sides due to mud hydrostatic and imposed pressures or that these same pressures force mud into fractures in the rock which increase in length as the pressure continues to be applied. When pressure is released or reduced then either the balloon deflates or the fractures close up, forcing fluid back into the wellbore and causing an apparent flow at surface. In any well where there is only a small margin between formation and fracture pressures, ballooning or flowback is a distinct possibility. The term FLOWBACK is not to be confused with DRAINBACK Drainback is the term given to the rise in pit level seen when circulation stops and mud in the tanks, ditches, lines and shaker trays downstream of the flowline, drains back to the active pits. Flowback itself can also be confused with the normal decay of flow seen at the flowline when the pumps are stopped. This residual flow is a combination of the time taken for the moving column of mud in the hole to decelerate to a stop, the bleed off of the drill string internal pressure through the bit nozzles and the effect of thermal expansion of mud. For this reason a measurement of these effects (Drainback and Flow Decay) at different circulating rates will be done prior to drilling out the intermediate casing shoe (casing that is set prior to drilling the hole interval that is prognosed to be the transition zone) and the well fingerprinted for later comparison. Consideration should also be given to measuring thermal expansion this is done by simply monitoring any continuing flow at an extended pump shutdown.

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Flowback is not encountered in every high pressure or deepwater well, and the severity of the problem will depend on the formations encountered, wellbore geometry and the typical operating procedures used. The classic supercharging situation encountered in 8-1/2" or similar size sections of a well could be triggered by the ECD. Essentially, a flowback could be observed on shutdown of the pumps, which would look identical to a well flow occurrence. If this flow were shut in, the shut-in pressure would be equal to or less than the ECD. It has been frequently observed that the bottoms up from a flowback event often contains sufficient gas to show a peak above normal connection, drilled and background gas levels. This contributes to misinterpretation of the situation by implying that gas has entered the wellbore due to insufficient hydrostatic overbalance. The difficulty is in telling the difference between a flowback and a genuine kick. This is particularly difficult because, given the high ECD, it is quite likely that the genuine kick will only become apparent once the pumps are turned off and the ECD pressure taken off the wellbore. Getting the interpretation wrong could mean that unnecessary rig time is wasted in trying to kill a non-existent kill. (Making matters worse because the increased mud weight leads to higher losses while pumping and more flowback with the pumps off). Worse still if flowback is assumed and it is in fact a true kick, then a very dangerous situation occurs. For this reason, any flow from the well when the pumps have been shut down must be treated as a kick unless careful analysis of all data and trends indicate otherwise. Figure 8.3.1 shows the overall procedure that should be used to deal with ballooning. Some important points should be noted:

Flowback should be consistent from connection to connection. There should not be a sudden increase in flowback between one connection or dummy connection and the next. It is therefore possible to monitor what the flowback is after each connection and produce a trend. The mud loggers should be rigged up to perform this service as a support to the Driller's observations. Great caution must be exercised when establishing the trend (i.e. when flowback first starts it is wise to treat it as a kick until it can be shown to be otherwise), but once established a continuation of the trend may be regarded as a flowback and drilling can continue. As one can never be certain that an event was flowback and not a kick, it is essential that any positive flow indicators be shut in before being flow checked. The reason being that it is impossible to tell the difference between a kick that is occurring at the bit and an influx that was taken a while ago and is now expanding a short distance below the rotary table. The first event may produce some danger to personnel at some time in the future. The second event may produce a very dangerous situation immediately. Note that the expansion below the rotary could be from a kick that was mistaken as a flowback or the result of a kick from a tight formation that was simply not picked up because of the low resultant flow. The position of all flowback events and fluid influxes must be known at all times. Because of this knowledge, special attention can be given as the flowback nears surface to ensure that it is not expanding and to route returns through the choke as per the flowchart procedures.

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Loss/Gain While Drilling If in doubt the well may be shut in at any time. The volumes that can be allowed back into the well depend on kick tolerance
NOTES: 1. To avoid further losses, further caution will be required to reduce the ECD. Consider: reducing flow rate, rotary speed and mud weight, adjust mud rheology, add LCM, set drilling liner. 2. Monitor the well very closely while the flow check gas is being circulated out. Circulate over the choke if indications of a hydrocarbon influx. Remember: Hydrocarbons may come back into the well with some mud returns. 3. Compare pressures with ECD, trapped pressure test and thermal effect test. Compare volumes lost/gained since the well was last static. Flush and fill the MGS loop with mud. 4. A max. of 30bbls total flow from the well is allowed without bottoms up, i.e. 10 bbls from the initial flow plus 2 further 10 bbl flow backs. This volume may be limited further if kick tolerance is low 5. Circulating bottoms up may have to be repeated if more than one bleed down is performed. On the initial circulation of bottoms up: a) Circulate thru choke and MGS at a rate where losses are not expected. b) Monitor the well very closely for any indication of hydrocarbons c) To reduce the risk of differential sticking, the string can slowly be reciprocated (2m/6 ft max) Reduce the operating pressure to the minimum without leakage. d) If high levels of gas are seen at surface, it may be necessary to reduce the circulation rate. 6. If the bleed down process has to be repeated, then the volume to bleed down will be reviewed after the results of the first circulation are known.


Losses? Y Deal with losses before resuming drilling

Low enough to continue drilling?

See Note 1: Reducing Losses

Y N Record gains in gain / loss log book. Keep update of NET loss

Compare to last pump shut-down

Mudloggers compare records

Shut down pump (for flow check, connections etc.) Line up returns to Trip Tank. Monitor flow decay at trip tank and flowline. MAX 5 BBL*

*May allow 10bbl if kick tolerance is sufficient and flow back has been consistent at these levels. Must be agreed upfront by Aberdeen.

Record gains in gain / loss log book. Keep update of NET loss

Does flow decay the same as or quicker than last pump shut down?

No, Slower Decay

Is this the first time

Is the total gain<NET loss plus expected flow back at normal pump shut down? Y

Shut Well-In and Record SIDPP & SICP

Y Y Suspect Ballooning / Super Charging

Review Situation With Shore Base

Open up well via choke to trip Tank. Bleed off up to a maximum of 10 bbls And Stop? Y N Circulate Bottoms up &/or go back to drilling Shut Well In and record SIDPP & SICP Y Does flow decay? N

Happened Before?

Pressure <Previous Y Is the total gain <Net loss

Follow On Bottom Well Control Procedures

Y Y Is total mud bled back <30 bbl

Figure 8.3.1: Balooning Procedure

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Recap All influxes and potential influxes should be treated as kicks unless it can be shown otherwise. The first time that a flowback occurs it should be treated as a kick and circulated out using the Drillers Method. The Drillers Method is preferred over the Wait and Weight Method, because it allows for the influx/flowback to be brought to surface (to be looked at, while going through the choke) without increasing the mud weight (and worsening the problem). If a flowback has occurred (and is confirmed) it should be circulated to surface and then put over a choke, because it may contain associated gas. Start-Up Technique for the Kill Circulation


This section presents a decision tree to aid in the process of breaking circulation during a kill. In many cases, this is the most likely time that lost circulation will occur it is imperative that all care and attention be paid to this operation. The overall procedure for pump start up is:

Determine the annulus friction pressure (casing shoe to BOP) at the kill rate Is this significant (see Kick Tolerance x-plot) and has a Kick simulation been run? If it is, reduce choke pressure when bring pump up to speed and/or use a slower pump rate If not, keep choke pressure constant when bring pump up to speed

Note that for subsea wells, the choke line friction is a further complication. If the choke line friction (at the selected kill rate) is less than the SICP, then, using industry standard procedures, there will still be a positive choke pressure when the pumps are running at kill speed. There is no impact from the choke line friction in this case. If however, the choke line friction (at the selected kill rate) is greater than the SICP, the choke will be wide open with the pumps up to speed and additional pressure will be placed upon the well and the casing shoe in particular. If this is the case, it may be required to use both the choke and kill line or choose a slower kill speed.

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Well Shut In Ready to Start Kill

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Select Kill Rate

Determine Annulus Friction Pressure Casing Shoe to BOP

Select Lower Kill Rate Yes

Margin of Fracture Pressure at Weak Point Mud Hydrostatic - Choke Pressure Annulus -Friction Pressure = Negative or too small? No


Able to Select Lower Kill Rate? No Bring pump up to speed backing off choke pressure by 50-100% of Annulus Friction Pressure (@kill rate) Weak Point to BOP

Bring pump up to speed maintaining constant choke pressure

Move pipe upwards and rotate (Annular). Let a small additional influx-in rather than overpressure the well

Drillers or W&W?

Maintain Established Pump Pressure/Rate for 1st Circulation

Once Pump Pressure is established, use Measured Pump Pressure as starting point for pump pressure schedule

Monitor Pit Levels & other parameters for signs of lost circulation or well unloading

Figure 8.4.1: Pump start up procedure for Kill Circulation 8.5. Focus on the Annulus

This section concentrates on wells where there is only a very narrow margin between formation pressure and fracture pressure. 8.5.1. Introduction

One of the keys to being able to successfully navigate within a small fracture margin is to be able to fully understand what is going on. The use of realistic software allows this understanding to occur. It is very difficult, if not impossible (given the complexity of the issues being addressed) to succeed when relying solely on experience typically, experience is not up to the particular combination of mud properties, well geometry etc., which the particular well and hole section has to offer. (Refer to Figure 8.1.1)

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This software should be available during: 1. 2. Planning phase Operations phase

For the planning phase, the software should be very flexible typically it will be used by a subject matter expert. For the operations phase, the user is likely to be a Drilling Supervisor or Wellsite engineer. In this case, the flexibility of the requirement can be trimmed and the interface presented focused for the particular operation. In addition, it is really helpful to present the software using a well known interface, rather than expect this user to adapt to a unique interface which he or she may only use infrequently. The software should be able to consider:

Hydraulics Kick Tolerance Well Control

Given the small margins within which operations have to work, it is essential that the software used provides realistic and accurate answers simple equations and correlations are just not sufficient and can lead to misleading and potentially disastrous results. 8.5.2. Hydraulics Software Mud density (as a function of temperature & pressure) Mud rheology (as a function of temperature & pressure) Impact of cuttings Swab & surge Detailed well geometry

Hydraulics software should take into account:

A number of packages exist which can be used in the planning stages. During the operations phase, the software can be calibrated using the PWD. In effect, the PWD is used to establish downhole static and circulating pressures. Because it is likely that there is no PWD information available at low circulation rates, the software is used to interpolate between the pump on/pump off pressures and to determine pressures at other points in the wellpath (such as at the casing shoe) where there is no PWD measurement. In addition, the software is used to verify that the PWD is functioning somewhat correctly (i.e. is this what we expect the PWD measurement to be?). In many cases during the operations phase, the mud company can provide this software (e.g. MI Virtual Hydraulics, Baker Hughes Presmod, Landmark WellPlan). 8.5.3. Kick Tolerance

Kick tolerance (KT) can be calculated in a somewhat simple manner. In particular, KT is a function of how much mud has been displaced and the densities of the mud and displacing fluid, as well as the pressure into which the bit has penetrated (SIDPP). There are some vast unknowns in KT calculation influx density and distribution of the influx. However, the amount of mud that has been displaced is able to be measured (Pit

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Gain). The assumption on input density can be changed and hence an idea of KT arrived at. What is important is to provide a full picture of the relationship between Pit Gain and SIDPP. This is best done as a cross-plot as shown in Figure 8.5.5. 8.5.4. Kick Software

A vast effort was put into developing realistic kick software in the 80s and 90s. In particular, effort was put into modeling kicks in OBM. Two realistic kick control programs were developed:

Sidekick Anadrill and Schlumberger Cambridge RF Kick Petec and RF Rogalands

Sidekick is a gas kick program (though can happily handle gas solution in OBM) RF Kick will handle everything that Sidekick can handle and in addition allows for customization of the influx and oil characteristic and allows for the influx to be oil, gas or a realistic live oil, which will contain a significant gas content. As previously noted, there are two distinct uses of this software:

Planning Operations

For planning it is important that the software is as flexible as is possible to allow the experienced user to fully examine the issues. During operations, the procedures should be fairly well set and therefore it is better that the software is less flexible, allowing it to be used by a less regular (but end) user. 8.5.5. Planning

Figures 8.5.1 to 8.5.4 show the type of information that is available from realistic modeling. Given the requirement that operations enable the wellbore pressure to be kept within a small envelope, the objective of the modeling is to initiate and test a detailed set of procedures, which will allow operations personnel to achieve the objective. The work will also identify specific parts of the drilling operation that are critical. In summary the work at this stage will provide:

Detailed procedures Identification of areas of particular concern An understanding of what events at the well should look like

The results from this work can also be used to provide input to a training program. 8.5.6. Operations

As previously noted, there must be a different approach during the operations phase of a project. Many parameters are set by this time, including a set of detailed operations procedures. The goal of work at this time is to provide help in monitoring events and in fine tuning operational decisions, such as how fast to pump.

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Figure 8.5.5 shows a typical approach to Kick Tolerance at this stage. The X marks the shut-in condition on a cross plot generated at the time of taking a kick. It can be seen from this plot, how close to breakdown is the well condition. This gives the operations engineer/supervisor a clear view of how much margin he or she has and therefore how important it is to amend the procedure to be taken. Of course, it is still important to keep overall control using the tried and tested drill pipe methods this is shown in Figure 8.5.6, which shows the usual pump pressure schedule for the Wait and Weight method. Figure 8.5.7 shows a Bargraph approach to visualizing which part of the operation will be within the available window and which (if any) is not. It also shows the margin that is available for a particular step in the operation. If this type of view is available, it will be possible to adjust the details of the procedures (such as skill rate, safety margin etc..) to better stay within the window. Finally, Figures 8.5.8a through 8.5.8d show the same type of information that was available during the planning stage (see Figures 8.5.1 through 8.5.4). However, and most importantly, this type of information and arrangement must be available directly from the information kept at the wellsite, including actual geometry, mud weight and properties, pit gain, SIDPP etc. and must be based on the agreed well control procedures. It is essential that generating such information is an integral part of the normal well control approach. Again, the objective of performing such work is to provide a baseline of what events should look like such that when deviations occur, these deviations can be recognized much sooner and the appropriate corrective actions taken.

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Figure 8.5.1: Modelling Pit Gain

Figure 8.5.2: Modelling Choke Pressure

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Figure 8.5.3: Modelling Pressures at BOP

Figure 8.5.4: Modelling Pump Pressures

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(Static & Circulating)

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(C) Well Control & Systems Design Inc. 2000

Shell /wcsd.inc
Angle (deg) LOT/Frac Grad (ppg) Select Option (1 only)

Deep Mensa MD-ft 9200 7200 TVD-ft 9200 7200 0 0

Date (mm/dd/yr) Expected Influx Density

(input on killsheet) (psi/ft)

0.1 GAS

Bit Depth Casing/Liner Shoe Depth (Option 1) Weak Zone A Depth (Option 2) Weak Zone B Depth (Option 3) Hole Size (in)

Expected Influx Density (ppg) Current Mud Weight (ppg) (input on killsheet) Current Mud pv Current Mud yp


1.92 9 10 15 230 10 412 857 163 0 266 428 0 psi 394 Same as

Measured @ 122 deg F

Input on Killsheet

1 22 OD(in) 5.5 5.5 7 0 8

Kill Rate - Drillers/W&W (input on killsheet) (gpm)

ID (in) 4.78 4.78 3.25 0 2.75

Length(ft) 6170 2000 630 0 400 9200

Ann Friction Press(Shoe to Seabed) @ Kill Rate (psi) Results Available Pressure (psi) OH Volume (bbls) Lower Drill Collars/OH Volume (bbls) Upper Drill Collars/OH Volume (bbls) Heavy Weight DP/OH Volume (bbls) Lower Drillpipe/OH Volume (bbls)

Upper Drillpipe Lower Drillpipe Heavy Weight Drillpipe Upper Drill Collars Lower Drill Collars Total Length (ft)

Calculate Kick Tolerance for a Specific Influx Size

Kick Volume (bbls) Swabbed/Flowcheck Influx Static Kick Tolerance (100% Void) Circulating Kick Tolerance (100% Void)

Upper Drillpipe/OH Volume (bbls)

20 psi 394 Same as

Input Selected Kick Volume in 5 bbl Increments, up to 50 bbl. ppg 0.82 Static
Influx During Drilling Operation

Static Kick Tolerance Circulating Kick Tolerance

20%void for 10" & smaller hole(100% larger hole)

ppg 0.82 Static

Kick Tolerance - Daily Worksheet

Measured Depth (ft) Mud Weight (ppg) 9200 9 0.4 Input Suggest 0.5 ppg


Static Kick Tolerance

(100% Void with Input Kick Intensity)

Won't Breakdown <50 bbl

Input Kick Intensity (ppg)

500 480 460 440 420 400 380 360 340 320 300 0
0.25 0.5 ppg ppg
0.75 ppg






Static/strung out



Kick Volume (bbls)

Selected Kick Circ/Strung Intensity Out

Figure 8.5.5: Kick Tolerance Example NOTE: View at high zoom or print out

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Well Name Date mm/dd/yr Deep Mensa 4/13/01

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MD-(ft) 9200 TVD-ft 9200

Depth of Bit (Total Depth)

(if the above is correct, proceed, if you need to update, go to cell C2 INPUTS AT TIME OF TAKING KICK KILL METHOD Driller(0) or W&W(1) GAS(1) or OIL(2) Kick - Use GAS if not know 1 DRILLER'S METHOD SIDPP (psi) SELECT PUMP # (1,2,3 or4) 65 Current Mud Weight (ppg) 9 SELECT KILL RATE (SPM) Pit Gain (bbls) 20 <^^BPM for CEMENT PUMP #4^^> Choose Chk(1) , Kill (2) or Ch & Kill (3) SICP (psi) 150 CALCULATIONS CHOKE & KILL LINE SELECTED Kill Mud Weight (ppg)No Safety Factor 9.2 Surface Pipe Volume (strokes) Kill rate (gpm) 230 Drillstring Volume (strokes) Circ Press. @ Kill Rate - psi 400 Open Hole Volume (Strokes) ICP (psi) 465 Cased+Liner Volume (strokes) FCP (psi) 408 Choke Line Volume (strokes) Total Annulus (strokes) Bring pump up to speed at constant choke pressure or back off Surface + Drillstring + Annulus(strokes) choke/kill line friction. Maintain this pump pressure until kill Riser Volume (strokes) weight mud reaches RT, zero pump strokes & follow schedule Strokes until Kill Weight Mud @ RT 100 Strokes=Barrels for Cement Pump

0 1 55 3 100 1914 8599 6367 2063 17029 19043 17826

Avail. Kill Rates SPM GPM 20 84 30 126 55 230 C/L Frict Loss (psi) 87

The Pump Pressure Schedule below is the Wait & Weight Method with NO Safety Factor. Follow it as closely as possible. Pump Pressure Schedule

Pump Strokes Pump Press.

0 w/ KWM @ RT

(psi) 465 462 459 457 454 451 448 446 443 440 437 435 432 429 426 423 421 418 415 409 408 408 408 408 408 408 408 408 408







400 0 500 1000 1500 2000 2500 3000

Pump Strokes (Barrels for Cement Unit)

Amore detailed pump schedule may be seen on the "PumpScheduleDetail" sheet, which can be changed CALCULATION OF AVAILABLE MARGIN AT END OF KILL WITH KILL WEIGHT MUD IN CHOKE/KILL LINE Casing Shoe/Weak Point TVD (ft) 7200 Kill Mud Weight (ppg)
Leak Off Test/Frac. Grad Selected (ppg)
Ann Friction Press (Shoe to BOP @ kill rate) Check and Adjust above on kick tolerance spreasheet

0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800 900 1000 1100 1200 1300 1400 1500 1600 1700 1800 1900 2000 2100 2200 2300 2400 2500 2600 2700 9200

9.2 87

10.1 10

Choke/Kill Line Friction Loss (psi)

Check and adjust above on kill calculation (above)



>100 psi should be ok for normal circulation

Figure 8.5.6: Wait & Weight Method Pump Pressure Schedule NOTE: View at high zoom or print out

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Margin and Requirement for Operation (psi)

Ava il abl e M argi n Annulus Fri ct ion (Dri l ling) SIDPP Los t Hyd rostat ic due i nf lux Ann. Fri cti on @ kil l R at e Choke & Kill Li ne fri ct ion

0 Margin









Shut In

Driller's Method - Start of 1st Circ.

Driller's Method - End 1st Circulation

Kill minus annulus friction (shoe to BOP) (start)

Kill minus ann fric (Driller's End 1st Circ.)

KWM at choke (Driller's OR minus ann fric)


Well Contr ol & Syst ems Design Inc. 20 00

Figure 8.5.7: Bargraph Visualisation of Well Control Pressure Margins

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Pit V ol um e

Gas Flow Rate Out of System

3 2.5

60 50

MMscf / day
0 100 200 3 00 400 50 0 60 0 700 800

40 30 20 10 0 -1 0

2 1.5 1 0.5 0 0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800

Bb l

Tim e (min ut es)

Time (minutes)

Figure 8.5.8a: Pit gain

Casing Shoe Differential Pressure
80 60 40 20

Figure 8.5.8b:

Gas Flow Rate

Choke Pressure
600 500 400


-20 -40 -60 -80 -100










300 200 100 0 0 -100 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800

Time (minutes)

Time (minutes)

Figure 8.5.8c:

Differential at casing Shoe

Figure 8.5.8d:

Choke Pressure

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