Properly trained personnel are essential for well control activities. Well control consists of two basic components: an active component consisting of drilling fluid pressure monitoring activities, and a passive component consisting of the Blowout Preventers (BOPs). [More... BOPs]
The first line of defense in well control is to have sufficient drilling fluid pressure in the well hole. During drilling, underground fluids such as gas, water, or oil under pressure (the formation pressure) opposes the drilling fluid pressure (mud pressure). If the formation pressure is greater than the mud pressure, there is the possibility of a blowout.
The activities involved in well control are:
The mud circulatory system consists of the elements shown in Fig.2. Each part of this system must function and be in good repair to maintain well control. [For more information, see Maintenance Activities]
If the mud level increases, it may be a sign that a kick is in progress.
On some rigs there is a mud float level gage which sounds an automatic alarm if the mud exceeds a pre-specified level.
The blowout preventer (BOP), accumulator and choke manifold are installed by the rig crew after the surface casing is set and cemented. The accumulator and choke manifold have been set into place during rigging up and now need to be hooked up and tested. The choke line valve is used to redirect the mud from the well bore to the choke manifold during a kick. The kill line valve is used to direct drilling fluid to the BOP during a kick.
The BOPs, accumulators, and choke manifold should be tested and properly maintained.
Properly maintain the surface control system.
One or more valves installed at the wellhead to prevent the escape of pressure either in the annular space between the casing and the drill pipe or in open hole (for example, hole with no drill pipe) during drilling or completion operations. See annular blowout preventer and ram blowout preventer.†s
A blowout preventer that uses rams to seal off pressure on a hole that is with or without pipe. It is also called a ram preventer. Ram-type preventers have interchangeable ram blocks to accommodate different O.D. drill pipe, casing, or tubing.†
A large valve, usually installed above the ram preventers, that forms a seal in the annular space between the pipe and well bore. If no pipe is present, it forms a seal on the well bore itself. See blowout preventer.†
The storage device for nitrogen pressurized hydraulic fluid, which is used in operating the blowout preventers.†
The arrangement of piping and special valves, called chokes, through which drilling mud is circulated when the blowout preventers are closed to control the pressures encountered during a kick.†
Usually the first casing to be run in a well. This is done after spudding-in so a blowout preventer can be installed before drilling is started.†
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