More Exact Measures Raise Tough Questions: Regulators and Drillers Adjust to Precise Fluid Flow Measures

Dan Fraser, an industrial safety expert from Argonne National Laboratory, has been advising BSEE on offshore safety issues, such as well control. Here he is seen presenting a paper about testing high-performance pipe at the 2015 OTC.

More precise measurement can create a dilemma.

One example is the precise fluid flow measurements used to control managed pressure drilling (MPD) systems.

By measuring differences as small as 1 bbl in the drilling fluid flowing out of a well compared to what flowed in, these closed well designs are able to quickly adjust the downhole pressure to manage an influx, or drilling fluid loss.

MPD has allowed development of difficult formations, particularly in Southeast Asia, where conventional drilling methods would have taken far longer for many wells, if they could have been drilled at all, in unpredictable carbonate formations prone to massive fluid losses. One MPD advocate, Peter Aird, a drilling consultant who is founder of Kingdom Drilling Services, said MPD should stand for “makes problems disappear.”

The dilemma is a result of regulations prohibiting offshore drillers in the US from “knowingly” taking a kick. The rule was written back when the smallest kick that a driller could knowingly have taken was roughly 10 times larger than what an MPD system can accurately measure.

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More Exact Measures Raise Tough Questions: Regulators and Drillers Adjust to Precise Fluid Flow Measures

Stephen Rassenfoss, JPT Emerging Technology Senior Editor

01 August 2015

Volume: 67 | Issue: 8

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