SPE logo

An Ounce of Prevention:
Maintaining Well Control Barriers Under Any Condition

31 August–5 September 2014 Cannes, France


About this forum

Understanding pressure and pressure relationships is the key to safe well control. Yet, to date, the primary focus of well control has centred on recovery rather than prevention. Incidents related to loss of well control largely occur when the primary barrier, hydrostatic pressure from the drilling fluid, fails to prevent an influx; thus requiring the secondary barrier, closing of the BOPs, to engage in order stop the breach from becoming a full-blown, well control incident.

Influxes occur, most often, during the tripping operation where the swab effect lowers the bottomhole pressure below the formation’s pressure and can be commonly misidentified when “wellbore breathing,” nuisances gases, or cement setting are involved. Influxes can also occur when drilling into unexpected, higher-pressure zones. The unholy trinity of unknown pore pressure, unknown barrier conditions, and failure to diagnose an influx can converge into a significant cost impact at any time during the life cycle of the well and, in a worst-case scenario, culminate in tragic consequences.

The challenge for the future is that we should be able to go on to any operational rig and have the confidence to expect everyone involved in the operation to identify what minimum two barriers are in place at that time and what verification they have. This should be the expected norm with the demand for drilling in increasingly sensitive locations with higher-risk wells (HP/HT and deepwater).

This forum will address these issues and the current deficiencies in defining and maintaining wellbore barriers during the entire life cycle of the well—from spud to abandonment—and will discuss the gaps in the technical, human, process, and technology aspects of ensuring that wells are drilled to the highest and most consistent standards of safety. The forum will look at the full well life cycle of barriers in different drilling environments (Onshore/Offshore) under different scenarios such as:

  • Drilling (Conventional, Underbalanced, Managed Pressure, Mud Cap, Dual Gradient, etc.)
  • Tripping
  • Cementing
  • Fishing
  • Workover
  • Redevelopment
  • Abandonment

Who Should Participate

The forum is a limited-attendance meeting for up to 75 people and is designed for professionals in the oil and gas industry who are interested in well control barriers.

The forum is aimed at people whose principal job falls into any of the following categories:

  • Well Engineers, Specialists, and Managers
  • Well Product Line Managers
  • Rig Manufacturers and Designers
  • Production Technologists and Managers
  • Well Technology Engineers and Managers
  • Research and Development Managers
  • Petroleum Engineers and Managers
  • QHSE Professionals
  • Academics
  • Safety Regulators

What is a Forum?

SPE forums are unique, by-invitation-only SPE events that bring together top technologists, innovators, and managers to address a specific industry challenge. Participants are encouraged to come prepared to contribute their experience and knowledge, rather than be spectators or students.

Benefits to You and Your Organisation

  • Gain insight and perspective through conversations with peers who share your same interests.
  • Enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of learning through one-on-one interaction.
  • Meet with other experts from international companies, research institutes, and universities in an off-the-record format.
  • Form professional relationships that will continue after the forum has ended

Forum Guidelines

The following will prepare attendees for what to expect when attending a forum:

  • Participants are expected to attend every session.
  • Slides are limited, allowing maximum time for informal discussions and exchange of experience.
  • Forums are conducted off the record to support the free interchange of information and ideas.
  • Extensive note taking is not allowed.
  • Recording of any forum session is prohibited.
  • Information disclosed at a forum may not be used publicly without the originator’s permission.
  • Participants are requested to omit reference to forum proceedings in any subsequent published
  • No commercialism.
  • A written summary will be prepared and distributed to attendees after the forum.