IOGP Well Control Incident Lesson Sharing
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Misunderstood pore pressure, lack of vigilance and empowerment cause Well Control Incident.

Drilling 6" hole - just entering an identified reservoir - with 1.40SG mud weight (MW). The formation pressure expected was not well understood and a large uncertainty remained between a depleted reservoir scenario or a pressurized case (water injection on a mature field).

On the first stand into the reservoir, a circulation was performed in order to assess the gas level and the stability of the well, a maximum of 7% was observed. No flowcheck performed but a conclusion was made on a depleted scenario case. A drill pipe (DP) connection was then performed to continue drilling. 7m3 of gain were taken during the connection without been noticed. Drilling was resumed for a few more metres and significant flow increase & gain in active system was observed.

Drilling was stopped but the well was not shut in immediately. It took 5 more minutes to investigate the anomaly.

Shut in drill pipe pressure (SIDP) 450psi - shut-in casing pressure (SICP) 1160psi - 25m3 total estimated gain.

Significant gain volume generated serious difficulties to control the well.

Well was finally killed using driller's method with kill mud weight (KMW) 1.64SG.

What Went Wrong?:

Misunderstanding of the pore pressure prediction (high uncertainty expected between 0.98 to 1.51SG).

Wrong pore pressure diagnosis while based on non-valid gas criteria - the gas% criteria was not a pump-off event.

No flowcheck performed and anticipated in the drilling strategy to enter that reservoir.

Lack of crew vigilance, poor well monitoring during DP connections - first kick during connection not identified.

Basic well control procedure not properly implemented for kick detection and well shut-in. Driller not empowered to shut the well in without authorization.

Corrective Actions and Recommendations:

Enhance geoscience/drilling communication for a better understanding of the formation pressures and risks identified.

Review personnel competency.

Reinforce well monitoring and shut-in procedures with crew.

Review and identify risk of reservoirs artificially pressurized (suspect reservoir pressure boosted by water injection well in vicinity).

Figure 1: Well architecture


Figure 2: Late kick detection sequence of events


safety alert number: 300
IOGP Well Control Incident Lesson Sharing


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