Several countries have introduced new requirements to ensure that the well design has been evaluated for all well control possibilities, including drilling a relief well. However, without a single global standard, different approaches have been taken into consideration, and this situation merits a review of current legislative mandates for relief well planning (RWP) and/or blowout contingency planning (BCP).

Primarily through open source literature, a compilation of legislative requirements is provided, giving a short history of the legislative change that preceded relief well and blowout contingency planning as a requirement and noting specific technical requirements. The legislative review shows that RWP and/or BCP are becoming more prevalent for operators when seeking permission to drill.

A more detailed overview of the NORSOK D-010 Rev 4 standard (herein called NORSOK) is given because this is considered the most mature existing standard and is often used as a guideline by others. Based on the requirements in the NORSOK standard, an overview of the cross-disciplinary workflow necessary to model a blowout and relief well contingency plan is suggested: data gathering, relief well design, and dynamic multiphase simulation to determine worst case discharge and dynamic kill requirements to regain control of a blowout. The cross-disciplinary workflow for blowout and kill simulation modelling can lead to misinterpretation of the objectives. Drilling engineers are typically tasked with producing a BCP, but reservoir and/or production data drive the workflow.

This paper provides current regulations for RWP and BCP that operators can use as quick reference and compare and contrast for their ongoing or future operations, ensuring that compliance and maximum safety standards are adhered to at all times.

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