Introduction to Managed Pressure Drilling (MPD) and Underbalanced Drilling (UBD)

Disciplines: Completions, Drilling

Course Description

This 2-day course will provide an introduction and overview of the current underbalanced and managed pressure drilling technology. The course will explain how and why UBD or MPD is carried out, highlight the differences between the two, and include the variations of MPD technologies such as dual gradient drilling and continuous circulation methods. It will provide a basic understanding of the equipment used in both drilling operations. The course highlights the relevant issues that need to be addressed in well planning and design as well as the well integrity and well control aspects for both UBD and MPD.

Learning Objectives:

  • The basics of the UBD and MPD technologies

  • When to use UBD and when to use MPD and what the various limitations and advantages are of these drilling techniques

  • The equipment requirements for UBD and MPD and gain an understanding of how they differ in the well design process

  • The engineering requirements for these drilling techniques

Day 1: Underbalanced Drilling
  • What is underbalanced drilling?

  • Why drill underbalanced?

  • History of underbalanced drilling

  • Limitations and advantages of UBD

  • UBD classifications

  • Candidate selection

  • Well planning

  • Fluids and gasses used

  • Flow modeling

  • MWD systems and their limitations

  • Isolation valves

  • Nitrogen equipment

  • Compressors

  • BOP’s and rotating control diverters

  • Separators

  • Flare stacks

  • Underbalanced drilling equipment

  • Case histories

Day 2: Managed Pressure Drilling

  • What is managed pressure drilling?

  • Why use managed pressure drilling?

  • Variations of managed pressure drilling

  • Dual gradient variations

  • Continuous circulation

  • Well control in MPD

  • MPD choke manifolds

  • Rotating control devices

  • Planning MPD projects

  • Case histories

Learning Level


Course Length

2 Days

Why Attend

MPD and UBD incorporate important techniques that help operators drill new wells safely, more efficiently, and in some cases, allows them to drill previously undrillable wells. This introductory course is an excellent opportunity to expand your understanding of advanced drilling technologies and how to conduct projects that are both successful and safe.

Who Attends

This course is appropriate for those who are new to the industry, or anyone who would like to understand the value of this important drilling technology.


1.6 CEUs (Continuing Education Units) are awarded for this 2-day course.

Additional Resources

This course has a supplemental book located in our SPE Bookstore entitled Underbalanced Drilling (Digital Edition). Please check out this valuable resource!

Cancellation Policy

All cancellations must be received no later than 14 days prior to the course start date. Cancellations made after the 14-day window will not be refunded. Refunds will not be given due to no show situations.

Training sessions attached to SPE conferences and workshops follow the cancellation policies stated on the event information page. Please check that page for specific cancellation information.

SPE reserves the right to cancel or re-schedule courses at will. Notification of changes will be made as quickly as possible; please keep this in mind when arranging travel, as SPE is not responsible for any fees charged for cancelling or changing travel arrangements.

We reserve the right to substitute course instructors as necessary.


Deepak M. Gala is SME–Well Control Engineering at Shell Upstream Americas. Prior to joining Shell, he was US commercial manager at Weatherford and US well control engineer at Cudd Well Control.

Outside of his duties at Shell, Gala is involved in many industry associations and initiatives with over 15 technical publications. He regularly teaches SPE-sponsored courses and serves on various regional and international SPE committees. Gala was recently selected to be a part of the new SPE Sustainability Committee and SPE International Young Professional Coordinating Committee. He was the first Weatherford employee to receive SPE’s 2008 Outstanding Technical Editor Award for the Drilling and Completion Journal, the first to receive the 2010 International Young Member Outstanding Service Award, and the 2011 Young Engineer of the Year for the SPE Gulf Coast Section.

Gala earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Mumbai University, a master’s degree in natural gas engineering from Texas A&M University-Kingsville, and an MBA in finance from Tulane University.

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Introduction to Managed Pressure Drilling
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Introduction to Underbalanced Drilling
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This course covers the integrated technologies involved in underbalanced drilling. Participants will learn the operation of an underbalanced drilling project and be able to make informed selections of the equipment that is required.


  • Objecti...
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This course provides an advanced look into Managed Pressure Drilling (MPD), an adaptive drilling process that allows greater control of the annular pressure profile throughout the wellbore. Participants will learn the variables involved in MPD operatio...

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