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SPE Better Well Control—How Do We Get There?

17 – 18 February 2015

Dubai, UAE | Grosvenor House Hotel

Technical Agenda

Session 1: Human Factors Affecting Well Control—Part 1

Session Chairs: Ibrahim Alalawi, Al Mansoori Specialized Engineering; Oswaldo Bustos, Schlumberger

This session will cover a practical overview of consideration of human factors in the well control decision making, hazard identification, and interpretation of well signs. All oil and gas projects have long included human factors in their development, even though these days the industry is looking for automation system, human are still the more relevant decision makers when well control is phased. Despite the amount of standards, trainings, and lessons learnt human behaviour is still failing. 

Fatigue, experienced personnel, cultural environment, well signs interpretations and training are some of the topics to be discussed and highlighted in the workshop.

Session 2: Training vs. Competency

Session Chairs: Fahad Mulaik, Saudi Aramco; Graham Berry, Wild Well Control

In this session we examine todays well control training, testing, and certification all of which has been an accepted process for several decades, and ask the question “Is the industry getting the right value from certification?”

The risks today are higher than ever. More complex wells are being drilled, environmental regulations are stricter, multi-well pads are commonplace, higher pressures are being encountered, and drilling locations are closer to communities. One major well control event can have catastrophic consequences for an operator, cost millions of dollars, and sometimes even jeopardise the company’s future.

Yet in oil and gas industry the root causes of the above are often associated with the human factor, the competence, and the behaviours of people.

Session 3: Good Well Control for Every Event

Session Chairs: Sami Akel, Baker Hughes; Steen Gudmann, Maersk Oil

Wells that we design, complete, and produce constitute a complex system. Preventing uncontrolled release of hydrocarbon or water during the life cycle of these wells is one of the primary objectives for all service providers, contractors, and operators involved in oilfield operations. 

In order to do so the industry has developed standards and procedures that allow us to address well control assurance. It is very important that a detailed mitigation plan is carefully put together in the planning and design stage.

In this session we will focus on how we should design the wells from well control perspective including the design of primary and secondary barriers as well as planning and readiness to drill relief wells.

Session 4: Equipment Maintenance & Reliability

Session Chairs: Kees van de Vrede, Weatherford; Mike Simpson, Cansco Well Control

The safety critical nature of well control equipment dictates its maintenance and its reliability assurance are primary elements of well site process safety. Despite this certainty, practical maintenance, and performance verification standards of well control equipment vary considerably across the industry. What are and what are not appropriate practical standards for the maintenance of well control equipment is a widely debated subject despite recent industry efforts to provide more clarity in this area.

This session will provide:

  • Opportunities to hear from top tier well control equipment manufacturers on their recommended maintenance standards
  • A chance to discuss the availability and effectiveness of industry wide maintenance and performance verification standards
  • The ability to share experiences from around the region.

Session 5: Human Factors Affecting Well Control—Part 2

Session Chairs: Fahad Mulaik, Saudi Aramco; Shaun Robstad, Grey Wolf Oilfield Services

This session further supports Session 1 and will focus on the "Why" of Human Factors.

The hot word in the industry today is "Competency" and it always refers to human ability in each sense. Competency is the Achilles heel to achieving any task and we all have standards to measure this. Where we fail in the industry is spending tons of resources and money on training humans to do tasks as required by laws or contracts and then we send them out to a remote job site thinking they have been trained and they understand what they need to do. How do we challenge the human brain to retain what it has been trained to do? What is the best technique to ensure the human brain retains what it's been taught? How long does the average human brain remember anything without repetition? Do we ask the right questions when we test the competency of our employees? In this session, we get answers to why training is key to competency and more importantly what do we do as leaders within each of our organizations need to do to ensure our employees on the job remember what to do when the time comes in that remote job site where seconds matter and decisions have to be made.

Session 6: Standards and Procedures—Are They Enough?

Session Chairs: Pascal Aviengne, Shell; Sami Akel, Baker Hughes

API Standard 53 provides the requirements on the installation and testing of blowout prevention equipment systems on land and marine drilling rigs. It represents a composite of the practices employed by various operating and drilling companies in drilling operations. The document was published as a standard in 2012 as opposed to a recommended practice to bring additional consistency to the industry on how BOP systems are inspected, maintained, tested, and operated. However when it comes to acceptance testing or routine testing of BOP systems most operators have developed their own standards and procedures.

The purpose of this session is to debate whether the current standards and procedures for well control equipment meet the requirements of the industry, especially in view of the diversity and the increased complexity of drilling operations around the world.

Session 7: Well Service/ Workover

Session Chairs: Leslie Finnegan, Boots & Coots; Ibrahim Alalawi, Al Mansoori Specialized Engineering

Industry recognises prevention as a priority and incident free operations is preferable to the alternative. A detailed preventive maintenance programme is essential for a safe and successful operation. Each equipment part, static or moving, should be subject to routine inspection, servicing, repairing and ultimately end of life change out and/or decommissioning. A competency assurance programme will help ensure that your personnel will have the required skills, knowledge, training, and experience to conduct their day to day tasks. Combined these are the critical elements to ensure suitable and sufficient well control.

A common misunderstanding is that comprehensive well control readiness is only required for drilling operations but how important is well control in production, and post-production phases? How many companies have effective, efficient, and reliable well control readiness protocols for well servicing, workovers or P&A activities? Have you asked the right questions of your operations and equipment? And have you made the correct preparations and decisions?

This session will address non-drilling aspects of well control readiness.

Session 8: What's New? Kick Detection—Early Warning Systems

Session Chairs: Graham Berry, Wild Well Control; Oswaldo Bustos, Schlumberger

This session will focus on where we are today with regards to engineering, modelling, and simulation tools for effective risk management planning for well control.

Most operators use in-house spreadsheets or in-house developed software for well control. The challenge is that spreadsheets do not effectively deal with temperature issues, gas solubility, gas migration, and other PVT aspects. Drilling operations can benefit from well control modelling tools for supporting well planning, especially with the more complex wells that are being drilled today. This session will look at what is available for modelling and simulating kick behaviour, MGS design, kick tolerance, and all of the other engineering aspects associated with well control.

When a well control incident occurs in a drilling or workover operation decisions must be made quickly and confidently to support the safe handling of the incident.