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SPE Managed Pressure Drilling, Underbalanced Drilling and Well Controls

23 – 26 February 2014

The Westin Siray Bay Resort & Spa | Phuket, Thailand

Technical Agenda

Monday, 24 February, 0830-0930

Session 1: Introduction/Opening/Keynote Address


Session 2: Rotating Control Device (RCD)

As the industry has matured RCDs originally designed for UBD have been pressed into more challenging operational conditions with application in HPHT wells and with MPD. This evolution has challenged both RCD design and elastomers. Implementation of the API 16 RCD standard has resulted in significant de-rating  of some  equipment,  but does this mean it is fit-for-purpose for operations  at these  rated pressures, especially in HPHT wells drilled with OBM?

This session will evaluate the current RCD capabilities and supply insight as to how to optimize RCD
suppliers with MPD/UBD operating envelopes.

  • Elastomers
  • New equipment
  • Liability of failure in MPD wells
  • What to test and how to test the MPD
  • Circulation Loss or not?
  • Standardisation of installation


Session 3: Rig Integration

As advanced drilling methods such as MPD become more widely used and accepted, the desire to integrate these enabling methodologies into rigs has increased. The practical application of integrating these technologies into rigs has proven challenging, but with tremendous demonstrated value where integration has been achieved. This session will discuss the technologies being considered for rig integration, the associated challenges, and the resulting benefits from successful rig integration. Potential discussion topics:

  • Key technologies best suited for rig integration
  • Technologies currently being integrated
  • Technologies that are "off limits" for integration
  • Engineering challenges for surface equipment on various rig types
  • Land
  • Jackup
  • Floating
  • Types of rig up in deepwater
  • Above versus below the tension ring
  • Above versus below the termination joint
  • Success stories and benefits realized


Session 4: Well Control

With increasing numbers of wells being drilled using different MPD variants and the critical role that well control has on well design and delivery, it is imperative to identify and manage the role that MPD equipment and procedures can have on the mitigation and response of potential well control events. Additionally, the drilling industry is still struggling when it comes to understanding the primary and secondary well barriers for MPD operations in general. The session will examine a range of topics affecting all types of wells drilled with MPD which include deepwater, HPHT, carbonate, and conventional wells alike in detecting and minimizing the influx volumes. MPD utilization can often add significant advantages over conventional well control responses; however, this is often not implemented due to the against “industry accepted” practices and understanding. Special well control topics including tripping operations for PMCD applications and HPHT well control response will also be discussed in this session.

  • Kick circulation through MPD equipment and compliance with drilling contractor well control policies
  • Advantages of kick management through MPD equipment
  • Minimizing influx volumes with MPD vs. conventional drilling
  • Pressurized mud cap drilling—tripping practices
  • Statically underbalanced vs. statically overbalanced fluids and barrier philosophy
  • HPHT well control response

Tuesday, 25 February, 0830-1030

Session 5: Drilling Contractors

This session will address the planning, preparation, certification, rig modifications, MOC, insurance, and operational requirements, as they impact the drilling contractor, to deploy and execute MPD and UBD operations.

The drilling contractor has a primary responsibility for well control and the maintenance and operation of the equipment involved in well control, hence the bridging and cross over between the operator, MPD/UBD contractor, and drilling contractor is an important part of the planning and execution of any project.

The drilling contractor has to meet stringent underwriter insurance requirements, and contracts, in all phases of the rig operation, which MPD/UBD will impact, and hence the preplanning, must address any issues raised before execution.

The training and familiarization of drilling contractor personnel with MPD operations is key contributory factor in delivering a safe and successful project, and will be discussed in this session.

New build and upgrade of drilling rigs in the shipyards, is now in beginning to involved modifications and adaption for the drilling equipment and process to accommodate MPD/UBD operations,  this  will  be discussed with recent examples and shipyard input.

The drilling contractor now plays a key role in any MPD/UBD in addition to well control operations, and hence this session will be of interest to operators, service companies and drilling contractors alike.


Session 6: ERD Wells

Extended Reach Drilling (ERD) offers numerous potential well performance, environmental, and economic advantages over conventional drilling, while at the same time generally carrying a greater degree of drilling risk. The long lateral sections of ERD wells often translates into increased frictional mud pressure resulting in higher Equivalent Circulating Density (ECD).  The resulting well length may need to be cut short prematurely if the increasing ECD approaches fracture gradient. To complicate matters, given that ERD wells are generally highly deviated, or horizontal, the fracture gradient will not increase with well length as is the case in vertical or near-vertical wellbores, while ECD will continue to rise.

Managed Pressure Drilling (MPD) is commonly employed in conjunction with ERD wells as a way to control annular pressure and manage ECD. Less dense drilling fluids, specially designed to effectively transport cuttings, can be used which lowers ECD, while MPD backpressure keeps the annular pressure within the safe drilling margins.

This session will discuss the technologies and techniques relevant to using MPD to aid in the successful drilling of ERD wells, including but not limited to:

  • Currently available MPD systems relevant to ERD well construction
  • Drilling fluids design integration with MPD
  • Technologies enabling the use of MPD systems on ERD projects (ex. new RCD designs, Rotary Steerable Systems, Hydraulics Modelling, etc.)
  • Case studies highlighting MPD usage on ERD projects

Wednesday, 26 February, 0830-1030

Session 7: Unconventional Oil and Gas

Nowadays, unconventional resources are drilled more than ever. Coal seam gas or coal bed methane and shale plays are constantly brought in light, as they are an upside for regions that lack conventional resources. Tight gas reservoir is another area of unconventional drilling that can benefit from advanced drilling techniques like underbalanced drilling (UBD) or managed pressure drilling (MPD).

This session shall discuss the current state of the industry with regards to drilling unconventional reservoirs underbalanced or at balance. UBD and MPD are less invasive in nature and can bring the same benefits of higher production rates and better recovery rate to unconventional reservoir drilling. What does this mean to the operation and how is the economics of using these techniques to drill unconventional oil and gas?


Session 8: High Pressure High Temperature

Increasingly RCD and MPD technologies are being successfully deployed to address many of the challenges faced by HPHT (such as narrow margin drilling, constant bottom hole pressure drilling, minimize kicks and losses, fingerprinting, early kick detection). However, a number of issues relating to transient temperature modelling, robustness of PWD subs, HPHT well  control philosophy, etc still need to be addressed. This session will share the learning from recent HPHT wells, latest MPD technologies, and their application in upcoming wells.


Session 9: Deepwater

As the need for new discoveries and field developments increases, the number of wells drilled in deep and ultra-deep waters increase. These wells are often associated with very narrow drilling windows, weak formations, alternating loss and kick situations and difficulties achieving good cement jobs. To handle these challenges various MPD techniques has been used as well as new techniques such as DGD and pumped riser drilling.

This session will include the following topics for presentation and discussion; some will include actual case histories of MPD operations on recent deep water wells.


Session 10: New Technologies and Techniques

After almost a decade of automated Managed Pressure Drilling the technology is maturing as the deficiencies of early systems have been addressed and new, challenging environments for the technology are promoted. This session will explore the new technologies that are being applied in the MPD arena, especially around the areas of:

  • Robust automation of the control system to maintain constant Bottom Hole Pressure:
    • During drilling operations
    • While running liners
    • During cementing operations
    • During contingencies
  • Technological advances in harsh environments
    • Deepwater advances
    • HPHT advances
    • Dual-phase fluid system controls (depleted reservoirs)
    • Well monitoring and automated well control
  • Automation to circulate out kicks, managing the pressure in the entire wellbore in a safe way during the entire process


Session 11: Summary and Wrap-Up