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New Ways To Manage Pressure Raise Well Control Questions

When discussing dual-gradient drilling, there is an important distinction between controlling wells and well control.

Controlling wells requires maintaining the balance between preventing influxes that could lead to trouble and exceeding the limit that could push drilling fluids out of the well and into the formation. Well control refers to the hardware, procedures, and training associated with dealing with situations in which an influx has occurred and needs to be quickly stopped before it grows into a bigger problem, and then circulated out of the well.

For companies seeking to win approval from the US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) to drill the first deepwater well in the US Gulf of Mexico using dual-gradient drilling, questions about well control are critical. Offshore regulators want to be sure that all the new equipment has been thoroughly tested because this is a new way to drill, and the BSEE wants to be sure that it is understood that when it comes to well control, the requirements are not changing.

Chevron and Statoil have been working through a detailed testing program to identify and remedy any potential problems, and they have prepared their crews to safely operate the system and properly respond to any situation.

“The challenge we see at BSEE is that training is huge. It is a whole new way of looking at and thinking about” drilling, said Lance Labiche, chief of BSEE district operations support for the Gulf of Mexico Outer Continental Shelf Region. “When it comes to well control, there are some significant changes with certain systems.”

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New Ways To Manage Pressure Raise Well Control Questions

01 July 2014

Volume: 66 | Issue: 7

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